Member Blogs > Tavistock Books

  • "Get me the Hell 'Outta Here!" Or, a Typical Miner's Thoughts on the California Gold Rush

    Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:19:49 Permalink
    The fact that a typical miner would probably be horrified to discuss his thoughts or feelings to anyone in close proximity to his person matters not to us, because, boy, did they ever write home about it. The California Gold Rush began on January 24th, 1848, when American carpenter and sawmill operator James W. Marshall […] Read More
  • Literature of the Dirigible… If it's all just hot air, what is there to write about?

    Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:06:45 Permalink
    I assume all here have heard the humorous (if ridiculously sincere) question, “Where have all the anvils gone?” Cartoons and period films seem to have us convinced that, at one point, anvils outnumbered humans at least 10 to 1. And in the blink of an eye, they vanished. (Spoiler Alert: Of course in reality many […] Read More
  • Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair: Heels Not Required

    Wed, 01 Apr 2015 12:52:13 Permalink
    Do you want to know the great thing about the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair? (I presume you do, seeing as you are reading this blog.) The great thing about the Sacramento fair is how really and truly a laid back environment it is. The big fairs are beautiful – the sheer amount of awe-inspiring items at […] Read More
  • A Gathering in Albany: the Quarterly Meeting of the ABAA's Northern California Chapter

    Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:17:43 Permalink
    The Solano Grill & Bar, on Solano Avenue in Albany, is now used to hoards of booksellers crowding their bar area and taking up the entire top floor for their quarterly meeting. A great gathering of ABAA booksellers and their guests, it gives booksellers a chance to talk about business, upcoming & past fairs, and […] Read More
  • Announce: A Bit of March Madness…

    Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:56:49 Permalink
    Tavistock Books is pleased to announce its first catalogue of 2015, our Spring Miscellany… a bit of March Madness, if you will. As is our custom & wont, we list 30 items that reflect our eclectic & diverse inventory, from Jack London [in jacket] to my guy Charles, from WWI to a nice engraving of […] Read More
  • The Father of California Viticulture's Middle Child: Arpad Haraszthy & Wine Writing in California

    Wed, 11 Mar 2015 01:09:24 Permalink
    In hindsight, we know Arpad Haraszthy was born to make wine. His father, Agoston Haraszthy (also known as “The Father of California Viticulture”), founded the Buena Vista Vinicultural Society in California after the 1857 establishment of his Buena Vista vineyard in Sonoma. Hungarian-American wine maker, writer and world traveler, Agoston Haraszthy moved to the United […] Read More
  • Workings of the Antiquarian Book Trade: A Talk in Tulsa

    Thu, 05 Mar 2015 02:29:03 Permalink
    A week ago this evening saw me standing at a podium in front of 60 Friends of the University of Tulsa’s McFarlin library. I was there, for last June, Adrian Alexander, the McFarlin’s dean, and Marc Carlson, Head of McFarlin Special Collections, had invited me to speak to the group on the Workings of the […] Read More
  • Possible Effects of Prohibition on 1920s American Literature and Wit (Dorothy Parker and her Vicious Circle, in Particular)

    Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:49:27 Permalink
    “I love to have a martini, two at the very most. Three and I’m under the table… Four and I’m under the host!” Though we don’t expect you all to know this, we recently acquired (in collaboration with The Book Shop, LLC) a large collection of Temperance-related material. We have songbooks, cookbooks, pamphlets, announcements, postcards […] Read More
  • Fair Acquisitions at Tavistock Books

    Wed, 18 Feb 2015 03:15:01 Permalink
    One of the best aspects regarding the back-to-back California Antiquarian book fairs is the shop’s New Acquisitions! In other words, items that we find at the fair hit our online database in a matter of weeks afterwards. We picked up more than a few interesting items in Pasadena and Oakland, and though they are not yet catalogued, they […] Read More
  • Be Still, My Bay-Area Book-Fair Beating Heart

    Wed, 11 Feb 2015 01:41:27 Permalink
    My boss had just about had it with people severely dissing the Oakland Book Fair (or, the 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, to be exact) before it ever even happened. Sure, Oakland gets a bad rep in the news – even we know that. But do you know anything about what Oakland does well? […] Read More
  • Playing Pasadena

    Tue, 03 Feb 2015 03:18:46 Permalink
    What words come to mind when you think of Pasadena? Is it “Roses”? Or how about “Jackie Robinson”? If you are a normal member of the human race, these words apply. If you are a bookseller, however, “Bustamante” should be the first word popping into your head. Bustamante Enterprises, Inc. puts on a fabulous Antiquarian […] Read More
  • Agatha Christie: Unrivaled, Record-Breaking Crime Novelist… And One of My Favorite Authors (Hence this Blog)

    Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:32:50 Permalink
    Murder on the Orient Express. And Then There Were None. Murder at the Vicarage. The Body in the Library. A Murder is Announced. By the Pricking of My Thumbs. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. 4.50 From Paddington. What do all of these titles have in common? Besides great plots, inventive narratives and extremely competent character development? They were […] Read More
  • New News from Tavistock Books!

    Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:42:14 Permalink
    First off, we’d like to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year from Tavistock Books! Whether you are a customer, colleague, pure bibliophile, or my mother and father, we have appreciated your attention and custom this past year and wish you all the best of luck in 2015! There are […] Read More
  • Happy Holidays from Tavistock Books!

    Wed, 24 Dec 2014 01:34:09 Permalink
    Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Holiday Season, from all of us here at Tavistock Books. Read More
  • Saint Nicholas and the Christmas Spirit: A History of Christmas and its Child-loving, Jolly Icon

    Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:30:15 Permalink
    The Beginnings of the Christmas Spirit Though the Christmas celebration of gift-giving and caroling falls on the same evening as the Western Church celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ, the two are not inherently related. At first, the celebration of gift-giving as a treat for the children was celebrated on December 6th, when Saint […] Read More
  • Happy Holidays: NCC Style

    Wed, 03 Dec 2014 05:21:10 Permalink
    Almost 50 Northern California booksellers and their guests gathered last night, as we celebrated at this year’s annual ABAA Northern California Chapter (NCC) meeting/holiday party. The quarterly meeting of the NCC is a combined business meeting and social gathering, with this catered holiday dinner accompanied by a raffle to raise money for the Elisabeth Woodburn Educational […] Read More
  • Top 10 Things We Hear at Tavistock Books

    Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:10:35 Permalink
    With an open shop since 1997 on a main mercantile street in California’s sunny Alameda, we hear some extremely interesting things from the general public who wander in, not quite sure what antiquarian books are all about… Some of the most popular questions and comments by our shop visitors are included below. Enjoy! 1. “Do you sell […] Read More
  • Recent Happenings at Tavistock Books

    Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:34:09 Permalink
    At the Store: At Tavistock Books we are experiencing a problem that many booksellers before us have seen and many after will encounter. Space. Similar to the phrase “there is not enough time in the day,” there are not enough shelves in our store! We have filled every nook and cranny with books, with dogs, […] Read More
  • "Books of the West" Comes to Alameda

    Wed, 05 Nov 2014 01:18:43 Permalink
    At Tavistock Books, we believe in “book-education.” Not textbooks for kids in school (though those are helpful too, I suppose), but more the education of others, especially members of the trade, on Rare and Antiquarian Books. It is one reason why we hold a yearly workshop on Reference Books (see the blog on our last […] Read More
  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: The History of Halloween (Condensed)

    Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:34:49 Permalink
    Halloween. There can hardly be a more interesting holiday to research, and, in honor of this coming Friday, research it we certainly have done! The deep traditions underlying “All Hallows’ Eve”, the mutations of those traditions over time, and, naturally, the literature following the course of the holiday over the past few hundred years… all of these […] Read More
  • Theatrically Speaking: Charles Dickens, his Amateur Theatricals & his Performances at the Podium

    Sat, 18 Oct 2014 03:44:46 Permalink
    No one reading a Dickens novel can deny the author’s enthusiasm for the theatrical. To see a young orphan used and abused by adults at every turn, to have to bear a young girl dying and her desolate grandfather withering away by her grave, or a miser being shown the error of his ways by […] Read More
  • The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair (Galoshes Optional)

    Wed, 15 Oct 2014 03:52:12 Permalink
    I do believe (with my rawther limited experience to back me up) that the Seattle Fair is the perfect Antiquarian Book Fair. I don’t mean to slam any other fair in the world (I still love the coziness of Sacramento, and I just adore the blisters I get from my heels in Pasadena). I just […] Read More
  • Gourmets, Drunks & a (Short) History of Cookery Books

    Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:58:02 Permalink
    Tavistock Books’ recent acquisitions contain a large focus on Cookery titles. Not only have we recently had in stock the cookbook with the 1st English Language recipe for tacos, but also The Cook’s Oracle, the first cookery book published out of Stockton, California (a more exciting purchase than you might think, which generated enthusiasm from […] Read More
  • Selling, Socializing & Getting Served in Sacto

    Tue, 16 Sep 2014 06:47:08 Permalink
    The Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair is a bookseller’s fair. I’m not sure that you’ll know what I mean when I say that (hell, I’m not even sure what I mean when I say it), so I shall explain as best I can. It seems to me that the Sacramento fair is catered, all-around, to the […] Read More
  • On Identifying Photographic Prints and the History of Early Photography

    Tue, 02 Sep 2014 02:43:28 Permalink
     Photographic Prints in an Antiquarian Bookshop Without a doubt, every antique store and flea market from California to New York somewhere has a box of photographs – black and white, early Kodaks, or even tintypes… often warped, mirrored, faded – if you are reading this blog it is assumed that at some point or another […] Read More
  • Tavistock Books' Almost-Annual Reference Book Workshop

    Wed, 27 Aug 2014 04:02:30 Permalink
    There is a significant difference between booksellers who advertise their wares with professional descriptions, a clear understanding of the item in question, an honest assessment with regard to the item’s condition… and your typical eBay/Amazon blasters: “FREE SHIPPING! May or may not have highlighting and/or missing pages.” The pride in being a Good (or VG+) bookseller […] Read More
  • Charles Dickens and the Impenitent Prostitute

    Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:09:04 Permalink
    Charles Dickens, in many ways, stands for Victorianism; indeed it’s impossible to think of the era without him, and he defined the period in many ways. Yet we cannot assume that Dickens represents his contemporaries in all things. His own upbringing shaped his sense of social justice in ways that did not always reflect the […] Read More
  • (Mostly) California Wine & Viticulture: A Short List

    Tue, 22 Jul 2014 05:01:06 Permalink
    Oliver Goldsmith has been quoted as saying, “I love everything that’s old… old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine.” We here at Tavistock Books couldn’t agree more, especially with the latter two, and this month offer a list of old books [et al] that deal with old wines. or at least wine […] Read More
  • Charles I and the Undoing of the Vintner's Company

    Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:52:04 Permalink
    On September 29, 1639, the Red Bull players found themselves on the wrong side of the law. They’d recently performed The Whore New Vamped, whose author has since faded into obscurity. The play satirically alluded to the new duties on wine, which were instigated by Charles I but supported by few members of the Vintner’s […] Read More
  • William Page, Dandified Highwayman

    Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:21:16 Permalink
    We’ve long been fascinated with the exploits of criminals, so much so that an entire genre of literature has blossomed out of our curiosity. In the eighteenth century, a staple of true-crime literature was the confession, in which a convicted criminal shared his life story, detailed the sordid details of his crimes, and repented of […] Read More
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