• NEWS & INFORMATION •
I recently learned of the passing last year of Clare Howell, longtime owner of Old Books in Brunswick. Her bookstore was a walk up a long flight of stairs on Maine Street, but the walk was worth it. Clare was a knowledgeable and friendly presence, and time with her was time well spent, regardless of her fine assortment of books. She was a gracious and calm presence and I respected her intelligence and opinions. In a small space, she had a very good range of material and one never knew what might be found; she always seemed to have some level of familiarity with it all. Clare was among the old-time, pre-internet used book sellers, those who had to know internally what was likely to sell and how to value it so that people would but it. She paid people fairly for what she thought a book was worth to her customers.
Nancy Wright, partner with Marnie Bottesch of Snowbound Books in Norridgewock, died last June at the age of 91. Nancy was a member of MABA from its early days, at a time when Bookmans Weekly was the main venue for booksellers living in less traveled corners of Maine. When I first visited her, she and Marnie were living in Solon, and she told me I was one of only a few to get in to see the books at their house. Following the example of Parnassus on Wheels, Nancy and Marnie became a regular fixture at the Common Ground Fair with their book truck, surrounded by eager collectors and readers from fair opening to close.
Nancy had an impish humor, and could talk observantly about writers, the book trade and politics. For the last several years, she had been doing research into Amazon’s predatory practices in the book trade and would share her latest discoveries of malpractice with me whenever we talked. Her passing is a great loss for the Maine book community.
Clare and Old Books were an enormous influence on me when I opened Twice-Sold Tales in 1993. She had provided a wonderful example and gave me good advice. I did a poor job of modeling her store and the running of it, but I tried throughout my career, both as prices soared and as they tanked.
I have long missed Old Books as a presence and, as I have restricted my travel in the last few years, I saw less of Clare at her home. Still, her friendship and mentoring were invaluable to me and I know the Maine book community, Brunswick, and a great number of people have experienced a significant loss with her passing.
Jim Logan, founding Owner (1993-2019)
Twice-Sold Tales, Farmington
Former MABA President