Precious Jewel - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2243969

Precious Jewel

What shocking news: Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor has lost its lease [“Canio’s Books, Long a Sag Harbor Cultural Icon, Faces Uncertain Future as Lease Is Not Renewed,”, March 20]!

I regularly go to Sag Harbor from my home in Hampton Bays to purchase books from this historic, unique, independent bookstore. As a member of Community Supported Books, Canio’s Books’ commitment to offering good books, local art, community and creative ideas, I have been able to financially support their commercial survival and the Canio’s Cultural Cafe.

The Cafe is a place where people who love the written word can come together and celebrate literature. Can you imagine being celebrated as a reader, meeting and listening to authors, exploring the mysteries of how a story takes shape, helping writers get known, and encouraging would-be writers to take the first step? I have had these experiences at the bookshop many times.

Through my relationship with Canio’s, I have joined in the Moby Dick Marathon every two years, supported the purchase of the Steinbeck property as a resource for the East End community, participated in the East End Racial Justice Group, been a member of various writing workshops led by Canio’s co-owner Maryann Calendrille, and been a reader in a number of book club events.

As a former elementary school teacher, I have offered reading adventures for children at the store as well. Every International Women’s Day, I meet with Canio’s readers for lunch and celebration, for talk of the future and discussion of hard questions.

My cultural life centers on Canio’s events. Co-owner Kathryn Szoka is a community activist. One reads constantly in the local newspaper about her involvement in affordable housing and environmental preservation, and Canio’s Books is the place to learn about such issues from concerned leaders and writers.

So you can see that it is beyond my understanding that such a precious jewel could be bulldozed by the market. There are so many of us who love the old whaling town of Sag Harbor and know that Canio’s Books and Cultural Cafe belongs here.

Those who come from far and wide, and those who reside here, we must do something to help Canio’s Books survive.

Sigrid Meinel

Hampton Bays