Friday, May 28, 2010

The Vatican. A Weekly Record of the Council

Here's one of my favorite books in stock at present, "The Vatican. A Weekly Record of the Council", published by The Tablet from December 1869 to August 1870. This volume includes all the weekly editions. Not long ago I took it with me on a plane just to read many of the interesting clippets of information dealing with all sorts of things: Jansenists and Gallicans, Newman (Bl.) and opportunists, Eastern bishops at the Council, the problem(s) with the Pall Mall Gazette, the opinion of the Protestant press, Anglican orders, Gratry and Gueranger, inside dirt, intrigue, and nice advertisements.
The weekly was decidedly pro-infallibility.
And there are adverts at the end of each issue. These are fun. Below is one for Dunn's Essence of Coffee, an early move toward faster and less-tasteful coffee-like products.
And, bless me, a squished bug!

This one is really useful: Oldridge's Balm of Columbia. "Restorative and Cool and Refreshing Beautifier of Hair." You can tell from the picture how well it works. The price is probably a bit outdated.
I have, of course, done this book no justice by focusing on silly things. Really, though, it is quite interesting. If you stop by, you might peruse it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Filthy Booksellers!

This was a bit of fun. It's from an early 18th century scientific coursebook. Bookselling and publishing were very closely linked at the time. I would guess that the Author had had run-ins with the book trade on previous occasions.

"Whereas some Booksellers have declared, that as soon as my Course comes out, they will get it translated into French (as cheap as they can, no doubt) lest my Book should be spoil'd by an hasty, and perhaps ignorant Translator, I intend to translate it my self, having already done more than half; and if any other Translation appears, I shall write my Name in each Book with my own Hand, that my foreign Auditors may not be imposed upon."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bilbo Baggins At Your Service

There are few things more enjoyable than a good read and J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, is a remarkably good read!  Though written for children, it is also an appropriate book for adults.  The Misfits recommend it as an exciting tale of adventure or for anyone who has not read Tolkien.

The story opens with a look into the habitation of a hobbit:  "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." Misfit McGrath sent this link to a website that shows a recreated Hobbit Hole:;content 

In the story, Tolkien creates an entire world called, Wilderland.  This magical world is populated by dwarfs, goblins (orcs) elves, hobbits, and men.  Tolkien later employs the geography and spiritual world he created for The Hobbit in The Lord of the Rings trilogy which continues the saga of Bilbo Baggins and the creatures that inhabit Wilderland.

We learn early in the The Hobbit that our hobbit hero, Mr. Bilbo Baggins, will have to leave his life of comfort behind and go on a long adventure with thirteen dwarves and one wizard.  This is a real challenge for Bilbo as hobbits live lives devoted to, well, being comfortable.  Bilbo describes Hobbits as "plain, quiet creatures."  They try to avoid all adventures as they "make one late for dinner."  In the story, Bilbo will miss many dinners and endure great discomforts before he is able to return to his hobbit hole home.

Bilbo's adventure starts with a visit from the Gray Wizard, Gandalf, and thirteen dwarfs.  They ask Bilbo to accompany them on an expedition to kill the dragon, Smaug, and reclaim the treasure Smaug had stolen from the dwarfs. On the journey to kill the dragon, our reluctant hero and the dwarfs meet giant spiders, hostile elves, ravening wolves, and a fearsome subterranean creature named Gollum.  It is from Gollum that Bilbo comes to win a magical ring in a riddling contest.  The Lord of the Rings eventually develops, in part, from this life and death game in the depths of Gollum's cave. 

Misfit Brad Lindberg brought some CD’s with recordings of Tolkien reading passages from The Hobbit.  Listening to Tolkien read from The Hobbit demonstrates that this is a story that “tells” well and is especially enjoyable to listen to.  Hint, hint…read it to your children and/or grandchildren.

Now on to the future: 

For June, 2010,  we will read one of Tolstoy’s great short novels, The Death of Ivan Ilych.  This work is a masterpiece of short fiction and appears in any anthology of short stories or novellas.  It is a story that is often painful to read.  As described by Tolstoy, the chief desire of Ivan Ilych and his aristocratic class is to live a pleasant and regular life.  Unfortunately, death intrudes and Ivan is forced to undergo the primal experience of a very painful death.  We will have much to discuss after reading this moving, often terrifying portrayal of a man’s final hours of mortality.  The Death of Ivan Ilych, can be found in The Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (Harper Perennial Modern Classics).  It is available from Amazon for $12.47. 

In July, 2010, we will continue our exploration of great short story collections by reading Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground.  This classic can be found in Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Perennial Classics).  The book is available from Amazon for $12.47.  

Read on, read on.

Misfit Buzz

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kruisin' At K-Zoo

We are now in day two of the Medieval Congress. The bibliophiles have been flocking and frolicking. One such suggested that she, rather, was more a bibliophage (book-eater, or bookworm).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Mystery of Loome Theological Booksellers

The amazing coincidences I encountered during a recent book buy are too mysterious to keep to myself and speak to the longevity of the printed word.

We were called by the chaplain of an Alzheimer's ward to purchase some Catholic Encyclopedias that belonged to a deceased priest.  Upon arrival, I began leafing through the encyclopedia volumes, checking for damage and defects, while talking with the chaplain.  He had only found out about Loome Theological Booksellers recently from a seminarian who was volunteering for him last year.  Then I told him, "ah, but the priest who used to own these encyclopedias knew about us long ago."  "How's that?" the chaplain asked.

I gave to the chaplain what I had just found in the volume I was leafing through.  It was an envelope with a postage date of 1989 and a return address of "Loome Theological Booksellers, Thomas & Karen Loome."  The envelope was hand addressed to the deceased priest.  Inside the envelope was a classic "May we purchase your unwanted Catholic books?" letter, a brochure about the business, and three newspaper articles about Thomas and Karen from 1984.  Written in the letter was "We are interested especially in . . . sets of the old Catholic Encyclopedia as well as of the New Catholic Encyclopedia." I pointed this out to the chaplain since these were the sets I was explicitly asked to purchase!  Only, it took the priest over 20 years to sell them to us, and then only after he died (may he rest in peace).

This priest kept a single letter written to him over 20 years ago.  If it was an email, I bet it would have been deleted and I surely wouldn't have "found" it when purchasing his books.  This letter speaks to the longevity of the printed word as well as the oddly unique "success" of Thomas Loome's solicitation letter sent over 20 years ago.

This is one of many episodes to come of the Mystery of Loome Theological Booksellers, a bookstore larger than the sum of its owners and staff.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prepping for the Zoo

Here's a pic of the Loome booth at Kalamazoo some time during the afternoon of Wednesday. By Wednesday evening, things looked much better (I just didn't get a picture). Setting up for Kalamazoo is no simple task; it constituted more than a regular day's work, and there was a grad student assisting with the process, which helped immensely.

Of course, much work requires a good meal, beer and some friendly conversation. I had a couple of good beers and some sausages and tators at a nice Irish place, accompanied by a fine priest with whom we have chummed for many years. Quite enjoyable.

The Medieval Congress goes into full swing tomorrow morning. I really must get some rest.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

See You At Kalamazoo!

Here's the big truck in front of the store this morning. We've got her packed full of books and bookcases. I'm on the road now (parked, not driving), en route to the 45th International Congress on Medieval Studies. It should be a good time (and tiring). I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Leisurely Reading

Yes, we do have books displayed in the W.C. at the store. We like to pick out books which have some sort of relation to this very special location. I share with you the latest:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bibliosite: Man & Fish

Here's a photo we found recently in a book. It's in St. Paul somewhere, and apparently the fishing trip was enjoyable. I'm waiting for a good caption idea to hit the brain... Feel free to contribute your own.

Having heard Msgr. Callaghan's homily on the Gospel of Luke, and taking to heart the admonition, "Duc in altum!", Uncle John zealously set out for the lake after Mass. In this photo we view the results of his evangelization.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Annual St. Athanasius Day Sale TODAY

Today, Saturday, we are having our annual St. Athanasius Day Sale.

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, as you may well know, was the great 3rd-4th century Father of the Church who is known particularly for his defense of the Incarnation, such that he earned the title, "Father of Orthodoxy".

We are pleased today to have in the store a relic of the great Saint.