An Ode To Canio's - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1557461

An Ode To Canio’s

Thank you for your splendid article on Canio’s Books marking the 20th anniversary of the happy and benevolent reign of co-owners Maryann Calendrille and Kathryn Szoka [“After 20 Years, It’s an Institution,” Express, October 31]. Maryann and Kathryn are outstanding fiduciaries of this fine cultural institution, and (like The Sag Harbor Express itself) I cannot imagine this village without it or them.

A visit to Canio’s is rewarded in so many ways:

Sight — the bookstore’s facade and 900-square-foot interior are each preternaturally iconic and somehow look exactly as they should.

Sound — the old door, the creaking floorboards and the quiet interior all combine to induce a wonderful calming effect upon crossing the threshold.

Smell — the slightly musty, acrid yet mellow smell of new and old books on groaning shelves induce a kind of contented nostalgia that I cannot pin down exactly.

Touch — then, once inside, the time spent browsing the crowded shelves, picking up and putting back books, turning pages …

And everything else besides: the greeting from Maryann or Kathryn, or both. The small talk — or not — on, I dunno, maybe the weather, or a book or an author, or the meaning of life on Earth depending on some mysterious cosmic algorithm or music of the spheres. The perfect serendipitous gift — new, used or rare — for someone (or yourself) that you find on some shelf, high or low, as if this event were somehow predestined, and you really had very little or even nothing to do with it.

And, who knows? That Canio’s purchase just might change a life, or two. Books have a way of doing that.

So, your article, I hope, reminds us of all this and more. Maryann and Kathryn — long may they reign!

Please visit Canio’s and stock up for winter.

Steven Barr

Sag Harbor


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