Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Civil War illustrations from Harper's Weekly

Several single-page illustrations from Harper's Weekly have arrived in the bookshop. These pages, over 150 years old, depict events just a few weeks after they happened.

From the June 7, 1862 issue: General McClellan's Army on the March Through the Woods from Williamsburg Toward Richmond - Sketched by Mr. F. Meyer.

July 19, 1862: The Army of the Potomac—Captain De Hart's Battery Shelling the Rebel Advance at the Battle of Gaines's Mills

August 6, 1864: General Sherman's Advance. This illustration shows the "View of Atlanta from the Signal Station," sketched by Theodore R. Davis.

These and more are at the bookshop in Archdale, but you can e-mail me if you live elsewhere. My favorite is in the online shop: a two-page spread of the Civil War (northern) ironclad navy from September 13, 1862. You can see more detail here.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Happy 50 Years of Star Trek!

50 Years of Star Trek

Today (Sept. 8) is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek: "The Man Trap." The sixth episode filmed (including two pilots), the story of the salt-hungry shape-shifter was the first one aired as a "sneak preview" of the new series in 1966.

I was too young to remember the first season, but I vaguely remember watching the series on our small black-and-white TV in the kitchen. My imagination merged with those early viewings until it took me years to accept that the Orion slave girl wasn't blue (oh, green is easy for you NOW).

Growing up with Star Trek (especially in syndication), with its co-ed, multicultural cast of characters, plus the early space shuttle program, influenced my love of space and aviation. I studied aerospace engineering in college and worked in that field for nearly two decades.

Looking back at the series, now, the pilots and first season evolved characters and props so quickly — like Spock's deeply slashed eyebrows and velour uniforms, Sulu changing from science officer to helmsman, Majel Barrett changing from "Number One" to Nurse Chapel. To see the changes, I was trying to decide whether to watch it in production order or as-aired.

The salt-eating creature impersonates Dr. McCoy.
Netflix made the decision for me: they sequence episodes in the order in which they aired.

I'm going to enjoy watching how the now-famous characters grow in these early episodes. In "The Man Trap," Lt. Uhura starts out at the helm or nav station, and later tries to flirt with Spock as he mans the captain's chair. The first casualty is...a blue shirt! Then another blue, and a gold (no red shirts!). Missing from this episode: there's no sign of James Doohan or Majel Barrett.

Will you celebrate Star Trek's anniversary by watching episodes, watching movies, reading fan fiction, or any other way?

Source: Allan Asherman, The Star Trek Compendium, Pocket Books, 1993.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Shirley Deane — entertainer, world traveler, world changer

I got to meet Shirley Deane!

Who is Shirley Deane? — you ask. I didn't know until a couple of years ago. Her book, An Unreasonable Woman: In Search of Meaning Around the Globe, sat on a shelf in my bookshop for at least a year. The title was intriguing, but the cover illustration just didn't grab me. I kept moving it from place to place, until one day I read the blurb, flipped through a few pages, and I was hooked.

Amidst a successful career in music and entertainment, Shirley dropped all that and drove half-way around the world in a Land Rover, by herself except where forced to travel with armed guards.

After a stormy romance in the Middle East, she gave up all her worldy possessions as part of a spiritual journey in India.

Her adventures continued as she edited and published a book on Black South Africans, despite break-ins and death threats from an Apartheid regime.

Shirley Deane and Elizabeth Saunders
Shirley writes her story in simple, quick-moving prose. It's rare to find a nonfiction book that races along like a novel. I devoured the book, then passed it on to a friend.

I was delighted to attend Shirley's recent booksigning at Scuppernong Books.

At "nearly 80," she exuded life and feistiness as she recounted some of her stories.

Take $10 Off Your Purchase of $100 Or More On New & Used Textbooks With Code BNTXTBK10! Shop

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Gene Roddenberry!

One of the items in the Star Trek collection is an envelope of Gene Roddenberry's birth records. He would have been 95 years old today!

These are copies printed around 2002 and signed by the county clerk of El Paso, Texas. The map shows the 1921 location of Roddenberry's house.

After I listed the documents on eBay, I looked in the envelope and found something else: a photo of a florist shop in a little shopping center, on the former site of the house.

A modest beginning for the creator of a fantastic phenomenon!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Vintage Star Trek visits the bookshop

“I believe it’s called a bookshop, Captain.”

“Books! Isn’t that a bit archaic?”

“Humans have a nostalgia for old paper. Quite illogical.”

“I like it. Our faces, our … crew … are everywhere. Not those ... young guys.”

“Those ‘young guys’ have a new movie out today: ‘Star Trek Beyond.’”

“I think I’ll stick around here a few days, Mr. Spock.”

We had a great time at the opening of the Star Trek(TM) collection at Tannery Books last night.

Getting ready was a ton of work; I was sitting on the floor of the shop pricing things right up 'til the opening!

A couple of nice write-ups in the local papers encouraged some enthusiastic fans to come out to the opening.

There are still a lot of items that weren't ready, which I'll bring to the shop in the coming weeks or list on eBay. Join the e-mail list (on the right of this page in web mode, or go to on your phone and scroll down) and you'll be first to hear when the posters are available.

I'm wiped out, but pleased.

You can beam me up, now.

Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection (Blu-Ray) — affiliate link

Friday, July 01, 2016

Viva Las Vegas! — part 2

No trip to Vegas is complete without visiting "the Strip," with its mega-hotels and casinos with familiar names like Ceasar's Palace and the Luxor.

I fell in love with the Paris. It was huge! like an indoor city. A half-size replica of the Eiffel tower stands with two of its feet angling dramatically through the casino.

Hallways beyond the gambling turned into city streets with shops, restaurants, nostalgic facades, and even a blue sky painted on the ceiling.

When I saw La Creperie, I was about to bust with happy nostalgia. You see, I actually went to Paris when I was 15, many years ago. My fondest memories of the trip include street vendors making and selling crepes from their carts, even at midnight on Montmartre.

I ordered, and enjoyed a lovely lunch.

Then I rode to the top of the tower, which is 550 feet tall. Hotels reflected the bright sunshine. I could see the Strip and the rest of the city until it stopped, giving way to desert and mountains. We had to peer through a protective fence with occasional holes for camera shots.

I thought that would be the "height" of my day. But after dark, we went to the Stratosphere!

Vegas at night is a different kind of beautiful from the day, with lights everywhere. At 1,149 feet high (we were on the 108th floor), the views are stunning.

The protective fence was beneath us, with only a railing in front of us, so we had a much clearer view than I'd had earlier in the day.

We could make out our own hotel from nearby landmarks, though I couldn't quite get my camera to focus on the distant letters.

I rested on Sunday.

After attending mass at the historic Saint Joan of Arc church, I rested from travel, rested from walking all over the city, and rested my wallet from so much spending, except for a couple of meals in the hotel complex.

I journaled about the trip so far, read, and availed myself of free movies in the air-conditioned hotel room.

Photo used by permission
Monday morning brought the reason for our trip: my niece's wedding. We rode around (and around) in a limousine as tunes like "Going to the Chapel" played through the speakers.

Christina and Darren were married with tears and laughter — by Elvis!

This photo just captures it.

Congratulations, Christina and Darren!

Friday, June 10, 2016

To Boldly Go — to the bookshop

Well, I certainly left you in suspense long enough. I started yet another part-time job in May and got sidetracked (no pun intended). I did, however, send out the bookshop newsletter to let subscribers in on the secret. (You can sign up here or on the right side of this page in web mode.)

So, what was in all those boxes I picked up at the train station?

An entire collection of Star Trek(TM)!

Costume patterns
Hologram stickers ...

Bumper stickers
Party supplies
Vintage posters
Paper models
Photos ...

Two stand-up cut-outs ...

And one metal model.

Trekkie paradise.

I purchased the collection from the estate of a long-time fan in New England. Since it was so big and heavy — 12 boxes — the seller and I decided to try rail instead of the popular shipping services.

It was fun opening up all those boxes to see what was in each one! It's also overwhelming. Bookselling involves days of inventory, listing and photography that never end. I'll take some of the items to the shop at Bush Hill Trading Post and list others in the eBay store. It won't happen overnight. I hope to have a lot of things processed before the movie comes out: Star Trek Beyond arrives in theatres July 22.

Fun work, full of surprises. I wasn't excited about the box of magazines and old calendars, but in another box, an ordinary-looking book turned out to have three original Trek cast members' autographs. I enjoyed looking through the amateur photos from fan conventions. There were even a few pictures of the collector's "Trek room," with letters she received from fellow fans.