Thursday, November 29, 2012


"Tintin! Are you dead? Say yes or no but answer me!” 


Of course Tintin always wins and lives on the minds of the world, good or bad.

Was the writer/creator of Tintin (Georges Remi aka Herge) creating early 'European Anime?' I don't know. Tintin was definitely overflowing in the spirit of action packed plots, adventure themes and colour-filled graphics. I do know that his work was a wonderful part of many of our childhoods. It took us away to far and distant lands and influenced our choice in dogs (in my case.)

Milou? No, it's Seussy.

So earlier in the summer I was pretty happy to win a special auction. I joyously outbid my competitors to find that I purchased twelve of what appear to be first edition Tintin hardcovers. They are all in good to near fine condition, with no writing on the inside and some minor bumping to the edges and spine. Some of them are a little beat up, but over all they are pretty great copies. Now trying to determine if these are actually first editions is next to impossible, unless I get on an airplane, have my own big adventure and fly to the Artcurial Auction House in Paris where the experts who care a lot about Tintin seem to be. Or maybe a Tintin diehard fan/expert will come visit me some day. Hint. Hint! :)

I have six different titles in both the English and French versions (Casterman and Methuen.) If you would like to see any of these, come see me this Sunday. We are having a studio opening from 10 am to 5 pm. I'd love to see you especially if you know a thing or two about Tintin. We will also be opening to the public on December 9th and 16th. 

Message me at  if you have any further questions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kingston Symphony Book Fair

It was better than sleeping in. It was better than chocolate. I missed my pancakes because of it, and even that was no big deal in the end.
I put on my boots and walked the length of Queen Mary Road early this past Sunday and arrived at the Kingston Symphony Book Fair - $5 for a box sale. FIVE BUCKS FOR A BOX OF BOOKS! 
I had half an hour before I was being picked up so I had to move...
At the entrance I was met by a bunch of enthusiastic and very friendly volunteers who quickly handed me a box and I got going. There were fiction, non-fiction, paperbacks, hardcovers, sheet music, books on tape, children's books, first editions, some over-looked signed copies,  and every genre of book you can imagine. Some of them were so gently used, they may have not even been opened...  
It was such a blast. If you need to fill bookshelves this is 'the' event. Perhaps you want all blue books, or grey to match the colour theme of your living room..? Maybe you want all of your favourite classics, or you just need a bunch of books for five bucks to get you through the winter... This is the event to pounce on. Personally I felt like I had won one of those contests where you are allowed to run around the grocery store and fill up your grocery cart for free. It was quite the zippy adrenaline rush. 
And so, I will remain sufficiently nourished until the next big event and I am already on the e-mail reminder list. :) It was great getting the books, but to add to it all I felt really pleased to support the Kingston Symphony Association. I love that they do this once a year and I send out a heart-felt thank you to them and their very helpful and friendly volunteers.

Here are my newly filled shelves.

Books. I love them... for so many reasons. :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Magic Fingers

These little ladies above introduced me to a strange term....

Finger-spitzengef├╝hl? Ever heard of it? Apparently it's this elusive quality rare book collectors may develop - or just naturally have - that leads them to finding jaw dropper books like Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming - first edition/first printing which just sold for $5095 for instance, or even to discover secrets about authors few of us have ever known. The two women above had it. They described it as, "a tingling of the fingertips (which) becomes an electrical current of suspense, excitement, recognition. In an artificially controlled voice, one of us calls to the other, 'Look! This may be something."

Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern spent their whole adult lives following the finger-spitzengefuhl and they discovered such gems as the fact that Louisa May Alcott was not only writing virtuous novels such as Little Women, she was also publishing under the pseudonym, A.M. Barnard. Under this name she published what was called "blood and thunder" stories about juicy topics such as, feminism, transvestitism and hash smoking. I bet the fingers were tingling when they found this out.

After I read their book, I became a bit obsessive. I thought for awhile that I had found a $20 000 Hemingway. But the more I learned the more I realized how impossible the odds are and how great the learning curve is. What I have discovered is how much I love the look of my favourite books on my bookshelf, and just how beautiful old books are. What was an obsession has now mellowed into something softer. I have become sort of romantically involved with the covers of books and the fact that each book holds a small universe of imagination within that I can pull off the shelf at any time and sit with while I drink my coffee.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hardy Boy Sundays

Sundays remain sacred days to me, all the way from my childhood until now. I spent my Sundays as a child being zipped around by my parents to church and relatives homes. We dropped in on everyone to say hi, and it was welcomed. I don't remember one Sunday of my childhood where we didn't share a dinner at someones house or have someone at ours. 
It was a check in day. We checked in on the people we loved. They checked in on us.

But admittedly the best thing about Sundays in my childhood was the television marathon of Disney, Bugs Bunny and then the thrilling Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mystery Show. Oh yeah! Where ever we happened to be a tv was switched on and we lounged while waiting for a dinner to be made. How we loved to be spooked by the Hardy Boys and Nancy. How I loved it when my dad would jump out and scare us, as the most suspenseful part of the show was playing. We screamed to the roof tops. We were bundled in the safety of family and play. 

So when I found the Hardy Boy series in the old hard-back form, I had to buy them. Again, just looking at the covers tickles me. I was able to get the whole series minus two, to which I will be seeking determinedly. Any help will be welcomed! :) Most of these books are in barely cracked condition and they are just beautiful. Some are rubbed and worn and still lovely.

And for all you Ontarioans, be proud to know that one of the ghost writers for the series, who wrote many of the first books, up to 19 I believe, was born and bred in Ontario. His name was Leslie McFarlane. He was considered the best too of the ghost writers,  and of course the poor guy received a mere pittance for his work and never got a royalty. But he sure thrilled generations of children.

If you want to come see these books, come visit me at the studio. I am collecting the Tom Swift series as well which is a whole other story.