On my first day as an intern at Oak Knoll, I wasn’t so sure about working in a 200-year-old building for a company that published “Books about Books”—a slogan, however catchy, which seemed to indicate academic droning.
Through these three months of interning, my first impressions have proved wrong: the books are interesting and working in this beautiful building was one of my favorite parts of the job.
And as my time here draws to a close, I must conclude that my internship was definitely not boring; it was challenging, interesting, and even fun. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned through this experience. I’m leaving here with invaluable skills, more than I learned in any college class, about editing, proofreading, public relations, and the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Things that would have taken me hours before Oak Knoll, like writing and formatting a press release, I can now do with my eyes closed. Even updating a webpage doesn’t seem half as scary as it did before.
Through the valuable feedback from Laura, James, and Danielle, I also learned a great deal about my own strengths and weaknesses—something that will serve me well as I prepare to enter the real world.
There are many things I will miss about working here. The beautiful old building, the comfortable routine that I’ve established, my little desk, but most of all I’ll miss the people.
I want to thank the other Oak Knollers for everything they have done for me. Thank you for teaching me awesome tricks with InDesign, for giving me constructive feedback that helped me grow as an editor and writer, and for being so understanding when I made mistakes. But most of all I would like to thank you all for making me feel like a part of the Oak Knoll family. I will truly miss this special group of people.
As promised, Bob has been taking pictures of his trip as he can. And here they are!
Book hunting. It’s what we have to do from time to time to keep in stock hard-to-find items for catalogues. I don’t know if our dedicated followers (YOU!) have been paying much attention to our recently acquired stock lately, but we have been on a type specimen and illuminated facsimiles binge. My father and I recently got back from a trip to New England, making rounds at some local bookstores and picking up a couple collections on the way. It has become quite fun adding new titles to the lists for our upcoming Special Catalogue #19 and Catalogue #300. Even after 36 years in business, we do run into books that, believe it or not, we have never had before. One book that we came back with was, while not incredibly expensive, incredibly interesting. It’s a type specimen foldout by the French type foundry Deberny & Peignot titled Les Cochins from 1914. We were so surprised to find that this one hasn’t ever been in our system, as we have had other Deberny & Peignot titles before, but it certainly is nice to add one more. It’s so new it is sitting on a cart waiting for an image as we speak. You can view the book online here.
One of the joys of being an antiquarian bookseller is the experience of traveling overseas for business. I left last night for what I estimate is my 75th trip overseas. This trip will include time in England, the Netherlands, and Hungary. Hungary is the newest country to become a member of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and they have invited the Committee that manages the business of the League to have their Spring meeting in Budapest. Even though I’m long retired from being President of the League, Presidents of Honour are still invited to the meetings for their feedback, so off I go.
I’ll keep you posted about England and the Netherlands as well, as I’m visiting lots of interesting bookshops while there and will experience the England-to-Netherlands ferry for the first time.
Quite honestly, I had as enjoyable a time reading C. Edgar Grissom’s new descriptive bibliography of Ernest Hemingway as I did Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery (2011). Both are hefty volumes—more than 500 pages—chockfull of semiotic intrigue and inferences lurking in the white space, waiting to be drawn out. (The plot in Ernest Hemingway: A Descriptive Bibliography moves a little faster, however). In both cases, the storyline pivots around the relationships between books. In Eco’s case, the intertextual referent is Dumas père’s Joseph Balsamo (1854). In Mr. Grissom’s case, it’s a source with which all serious Hemingway aficionados have more than a little familiarity: Audre Hanneman’s Ernest Hemingway: A Comprehensive Bibliography (1967).