On Sunday, I attended the seventh annual Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. For those of you who missed my post on Wednesday, the book fair is a glorious event put on by the Western New York Book Arts Center that brings together booksellers, authors, poets, artists, small presses, zinesters, and literary enthusiasts from around the region.
This was my second year attending, and I had been looking forward to this event for months. How happy I was when, in defiance of the weather forecast, Sunday dawned sunny and warm! Driving into Buffalo with the windows down and the sun streaming through the windshield was the best feeling. Entering the city always feels like coming home, and I can’t wait to move back in a few months!
I arrived at the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, a beautiful church converted into a museum space, with about 45 minutes to spare before the Basic Book Structures workshop I planned to take began. I spent the time browsing the tables laden with books and myriad bookish crafts.
It was really fascinating to see all the different types of books for sale. There were booksellers and small presses of all sorts, and I was amazed by the different formats represented. There was poetry and fiction of the most interesting, experimental varieties; musty used books and shiny new books; comic books and graphic novels; literary magazines; colorful hand lettered zines and pamphlets about everything from LGBT marriage to sci-fi and the CIA; and books of every shape and size, from giant tomes about the War of 1812 to pocket-sized volumes of poetry to postage stamp-sized pages about the Day of the Dicks.
Before arriving at the fair, I had promised myself to walk through the entire building at least once before buying anything, and I actually managed to stick to my plan! This definitely helped me adhere to my budget and avoid too many impulse purchases. I spent 45 lovely minutes browsing through the beautiful books, art prints, stationery, jewelry, journals, and other crafts without going on a buying binge!
When 1:15 rolled around, I wandered upstairs for the book binding workshop with Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books and Magic Books. She taught us how to bind books using a simple stitching technique, and we got to make little notebooks with covers printed by the WNYBAC. It was really fun and easy, and I made these adorable books!
After the bookbinding workshop, I made my way back down into the thick of things and wandered through the fair a few more times, now allowing myself to purchase some of the pretty things I had admired during my first round of the room. I bought two full-length books, two small books (maybe they’re zines? I don’t know), and a bunch of cute bookmarks!
I picked up a copy of Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting from Stracherone Books. It’s a darkly funny collection of stories that examine the “various ill-fated jobs” of “misfit women and girls in every strata of society,” and I fell in love with the title and cover art.
I also bought The Quantum Manual of Style by Brian Mihok from Sunnyoutside Press, the publisher that introduced me to my favorite novella, Circulation by Tim Horvath, last year. I told the man behind the table how much I loved Circulation, and he recommended this book to me. I think it’s meant to be a kind of Strunk and White for understanding the knowable universe? Anyway, it sounds fascinating! (This book wasn’t actually published by Sunnyoutside, but it was written by one of their editors.)
The other two books are funny little volumes printed with hand lettered pages and cute drawings. It’s no secret that I love Buffalo, so I had to buy Notable Failures in Buffalo History, and How the Explore the North Pole looks like such fun! I’m looking forward to flipping through these little guys.
Another highlight of the fair was getting to meet someone from the Internet IRL! It was really nice to meet you and put a face with the name, BuffaloCharlie! Thanks for saying hi!
I had a great time at the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, and I can’t wait to use my new bookmarks, read the books I purchased, and fill the notebooks I made!