Sunday, April 24, 2016

Full Immersion -- A Book Hunter's Trip to New York City

Meetings are often necessary evils but this one I am eager to attend.   I sit at an expansive table with Bill Allison, my friend and co-founder of the Book Hunters Club of Houston in, appropriately, the Founder’s Room at the Grolier Club, New York City.   The room is well-paneled and solidly-booked with shelves of bibliographic publications.  Certainly the ghosts of great bookmen of the past are in attendance as well.  We are seated with approximately fifteen trustees of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS).  It is their annual meeting and our club is being officially accepted into the organization.  Bookish congeniality fills the air and also curiosity at the two Texans who have saddled up for the ride.  Being newbies, Bill and I remain fairly quiet as the meeting progresses.  Incoming FABS president, Michael Thompson of Boreas Fine Art in Evanston, Illinois, sits to my right.  Much to my surprise, he suggests a FABS trip to Texas for 2017.  (One of the primary FABS benefits being an annual book trip to a host city.)  This is not a spur of the moment idea but something he’s been thinking about long before the meeting.  “We’ve never taken a trip to Texas before,” he says. 
            I casually suggest that I could provide input for such a trip and would be glad to help, as in assist, informally.  Murmurs of delight echo in the chamber.  Information comes fast and heavy after that—planning, past trips, etc.  By the time the meeting is over, I appear to be a co-chair of the venture:  new guy with apparent enthusiasm thrown into the fire.  It will be fun, I say to myself and Bill.