Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Conversation With Helen Barolini - Author

Helen Barolini moved from Italy to Dobbs Ferry NY in 1973, shortly after her husband died. "Here I was," says Helen, "a recent widow with three children. I got a job as a librarian at Masters School. I was able to live on campus and my daughter could go to school there. Had I done the right thing though? I didn't know.
"Then one day I was walking down the street in the village. A bookstore caught my eye. It was riverrun - or the pre-riverrun called Dobbs Ferry Bookstore. There, right there in the window, were my husband's books! It was as if he were saying, 'here I am with you.' And I knew then that I'd done the right thing in moving here. I'd come to the right place."
Helen went in and introduced herself to Frank Scioscia. They exclaimed together over the coincidence of her husband's books beckoning from the bookstore.
I have my own coincidence having to do with Helen Barolini. She and I are in the same literature club. One day last June I left the meeting early, left Helen and the others, to help a friend. I had a bag full of New York State regents exams and I took them out and started grading. There, right in the English regents exam was a charming excerpt from Helen Barolini's How I Learned Italian. I'd just left her and here I was reading her. She hadn't mentioned that her writing was in the NYS English regents for high school students all over the state to read and write about. I called the literature club meeting and told them.
Today Helen and I chatted about that regents last June. She hadn't known her work was going to be featured in the exam. She didn't find out until her brother called from Syracuse. Helen told me, "I called the NYS Department of Education and asked them why they hadn't let me know. But what was I thinking? Of course they couldn't let me know. No one could know. The students mustn't be allowed to prepare for the exam ahead of time."
We also chatted about reading at riverrun. After seeing her husband's books in the window, Helen Barolini became friends with Frank and Mary Scioscia. She became friends with the bookstore. Helen was there in the mid 1970s when Natalie Safir (then Natalie Polly) started a reading series called Pomegranate. riverrun hosted it. Poets and other writers read to an appreciative public over wine and crackers.
"That was quite a literary community we had there."

Helen Barolini's books: Their Other Side: Six American Women and the Lure of Italy, A Circular Journey, Rome Burning: Poems, Passaggio in Italia, Umbertina, Chiaroscuro: Essays, The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings By Italian American Women, Festa: Recipes and Recollections of Italian Holidays, Aldus and His Dream Book, Love in the Middle Ages, More Italian Hours, & Other Stories

Antonio Barolini's books: Croton Elegies, The Mother Poems, The Long Madness, Nights of Fear, The Last Family Countess, The Memory of Stephen

Helen Barolini's website:

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