Lorne and I both met Zhenya at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar where she quickly became a great friend to both of us. We have kept in contact since the seminar; I have greatly enjoyed all of our fun and crazy conversations. Since Lorne and I decided I would not be joining him for the San Francisco fair, Zhenya who lives right outside San Francisco kindly offered her assistance. Zhenya wrote a fabulous blog for us about her experience working with Lorne at the Book Fair, check it out below!
“It all began less than a year ago. I met Lorne and the rest of the faculty members at the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar which I attended on an ABAA scholarship. Lorne has always had a way of graciously answering rookie questions while restraining himself from rolling his eyes and heaving exasperated sighs. Thus, late last Fall, when I heard that his assistant (and my friend) Ashley Loga was not coming to the San Francisco Fair, I decided to risk it and offer my help in exchange for firsthand experience in the world of antiquarian book fairs while remaining on my home turf and avoiding most of the stress associated with arranging, lugging, packing, shipping, and tracking precious books across the country. I am still mystified a bit as to why he so readily agreed.
Friday setup started out smoothly. I was happily pulling books out of bubble wrap and arranging glass cases while Lorne and our side-by-side neighbor Jim Arsenault roamed the concourse in search of that one incredible find that would make the fair more than worth it for them. Faculty members from the seminar came to say “Hello” and dealers stopped by to introduce themselves. It was just the beginning of the first day and I had already started feeling like one of the inner circle. I knew I was going to be OK.
The fair opened its doors to a very large and enthusiastic crowd. It was an awesome rush to see the people surging and spreading through the booths. Lorne unfailingly introduced me with my name and specialty to every customer and colleague. I was not merely the assistant but an individual young new dealer. One of the best memories I will always keep was that great big smile on his face every time I engaged a buyer, made a deal, and sold one of his books on my own. I was given ample time to make the rounds. I saw quiet booths and meticulously arranged ones. Others were dignified and somber. Ours was a fun one – colorful, beautiful, and full of constant friendly banter and frequent raucous laughter.
And then there were the nightly after-fair shindigs in the City. The troublemakers group consisted of Lorne, Kevin Johnson, Jim Arsenault, Ian Brabner, my very close friend Kara McLaughlin – a young dealer from Florida who also worked at the fair, and I. Dinners were followed by bar rounds. The guys stoically endured the constant chatter, the “Oh, come on, you really don’t need to go to sleep right now,” and the loud and sometimes slightly obnoxious atmosphere.
Time flew by. The caravan of books and dealers moved on to Pasadena. I was very handsomely compensated for my work. Though, the truth was and will always be, as cliché and sickly sweet as that sounds, that the money will be spent and forgotten while the experience and the lessons I have learned will remain forever. Hats off to you Lorne – this is how it is done and I am looking forward to the next one!”
Check out Zhenya’s lovely selection of books for sale on ABE.com. She specializes in Antiquarian Eastern European Literature and Slavic Languages Materials.