- From: Paul J Gans <gans@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 12 May 2008 00:05:41 +0000 (UTC)
I know I promised daily reports on Kalamazoo, but it was
too busy and too hectic to do that. A typical day ran 12
to 13 hours from the time one left the motel or dorm until
one got back.
I left New York last Tuesday and after an uneventful drive,
arrived at K'zoo Wednesday around noon. I picked up my
registration materials (having preregistered), went back
to my Motel room and took a nap. I knew what was coming.
At 7 PM I met some folks for dinner. Because we have an
ass reading and commenting on my postings, I'll not name
them. But they represented Purdue, Morgan State, and Penn State,
among others. There were a few independent scholars along too.
We met at a local pizza parlor which has long been a hangout
for medievalists at K'zoo. Indeed, various groups of them
filled the place. It was noisy, convivial, and there was
a fair amount of table-to-table crosstalk because everyone
their either new everybody else or knew a person who knew
the other person. One degree of separation.
Being a well-known geriatric, I bowed out early (10 PM) and
went back to my Motel and went to bed. That's an unnatural
hour for me, but I knew that I'd be up at 6 the next morning.
The idea of the first morning is to get to the book exhibit
ahead of everyone else. Of course many other folks have the
The exhibit is the largest single collection of medieval books
gathered in one place for sale in the US (and possibly the world,
for that matter). There are probably 30 or so booksellers, publishers,
The reason for getting there early is this: they sell books. To
sell them, they bring books to show. Titles are often 20-30% off
list. But the exhibit copies are usually 50% off or more.
If you covet a $150 tome, you get there early the first day to
inscribe your name in the chosen book, marking it as yours. Of
course you can't take the book until Saturday night (or Sunday
morning) but you've likely saved enough to make the wait bearable.
I inscribed one, a newish history of gunpowder and gunpowder weapons
about which I'll probably have more to say later.
And then, as the clock approached 10 AM, it was off to the first
 In the jargon of academia, an "independent scholar" is a
person unaffiliated with a university, museum, or whatever, but
who has published or presented papers at a meeting like Kalamazoo.
--- Paul J. Gans
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