Guest post • V. Alice Hughes Argosy Books

Hi all – I have been having fun sorting through the private stock that I’ve squirreled away and packing it into Margarine pails, these are the 13 Liter commercial pails, with tight lids and handles and easy to lift. ex the two pails of cookbooks just listed. Started with hardcover fiction, have 3 pails Canadian and two pails of general, working my way through antiques and crafts. The more I handle the book the better I know it, duh!

The Cat window display this week that went in a week ago Sunday is almost sold out – love those cat folks, kept having to dig up new oddball cat related titles. We start with 32 books, 3 went within the hour, another 2 on Monday, 3 more Tuesday, 100 years of Siamese Cats and James Herriot’s – Cat story for kids went, still have “archie & mehitable” left and found William Burroughs “The Cat Inside” as a replacement for another space …Dog people never respond the same way.

A nice young man came in Wednesday afternoon, he was from Holland, I said we listen to Radio Netherlands at 1:00 a.m. he was delighted then asked politely if we had a copy of Yves Theriault’s Agakuk [in English] we only had it in French. I asked if he’d tried other local stores and they’d sent him to us, so I called two others close by. I didn’t identify myself, but the store #1 said no they didn’t have it [never bothered to look], the store #2 took a few minutes searching and replied they didn’t either, but they at least they looked. He was on his way to Toronto – so gave him Stephen Temple’s name & David Mason’s, he called the store a few minutes ago and thanked us had checked both out and found it at Steve Temple’s.

Shortly later the same afternoon another young man came in with books to sell, they were all in great shape but in a subject area that we don’t handle, we bought 5 of his fiction titles all with Mylar covered dustjackets, and 3 leather bound French and Spanish titles.

I suggested he try store # 1 as I know that is a subject they specialize in, he told me “they aren’t buying” it’s the third time recently that I’ve heard this. They aren’t buying, they don’t look and they don’t reply to email requests – no comment.

Determined to clear out some of the cookbooks I’ve accumulated I started listing 3 pails full, the got distracted with Joyce Chen’s Cook Book, full of clippings and letters I’d saved. Does that happen to anyone else?

There’s a letter from my dad telling me all the varieties of tomatoes he’s planted and where he got the seeds, “Eros – Developed by Abundant Life Seed Foundation in Port Washington” he writes “I had sent them one of Ally’s articles in the Morrisburg Leader – & they acknowledged my letter & enclosed a packet of Eros seeds. It is claimed to yield early fruit on unstaked vines.” That was one of 7 varieties he grew that year. Looking at the date May 18/84 it was just 2 months after we opened the bookstore.

For the 5 years we lived along the St. Lawrence I grew herbs as a business and wrote “The Kitchen Garden” a weekly column in the local paper – which in truth was a letter to my dad, he saved them all and pasted them into a book on type. We occasionally see books like that where someone has pasted clippings on the pages of a book / not a scrapbook. Enough said will have plenty to start a blog…

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