The annual NOBS book show is going on at the Knight Centre in Akron. I’ve been going to this thing for years, now. I really appreciated it when it was held in the Cleveland Armory, which is just a neat space, but parking is dismal. For a couple of times they held it in an abandoned supermarket in Stow, which had plenty of parking but looked really, low rent. The space at the Knight center is so large, it looked almost abandoned, and there weren’t that many people going to bookstores on a rainy Good Friday afternoon.
To prevent me from getting my own, personal, library (and needing my own personal library building) I have to limit myself. It would be very, very easy for me to go into a book show and say “I’ll take it”. But moderation is a virtue, and though you would not know it from this blog, there are some things that I am not interested in. Old unit histories from the Civil War, and things like that, I can pass by.
There were beautiful childrens’ books with wonderful lithographs. You just don’t get illustrations like that with any other printing process. There was a signed Wanda Gag Millions of Cats, but that was hideously expensive. I saw lovely books by Holling Clancy Holling, and two that I had never seen before. I searched for some of the early Robert B Parker that I’m looking for, with no joy, but they will come with time.
There was a beautiful book of watercolours done by Allied POWs in WWII, that was impressive, there were some copies of Lynd Ward’s novels in woodcuts, which have always intrigued me, and there was an elegant little volume about how to build, run, and feed your blast furnace, with exquisite illustrations and a lot of wad ruled paper in the back for your notes whilst running your own furnace. That one was a hard one to pass by.
I was amazed by the number and variety of what is referred to as “black” titles. The prototypical book of this genre is Little Black Sambo, but there were others, including “Tommy Frizzylocks”, with illustrations that you can imagine. It really brought home how casual racism was in American society before WWII, that people wrote, edited, printed, and sold these books with a straight face, and they horrify people in the year 2011.