Featured Exhibitor: Splendor Solis Books
Kevin and Dianne Germain of Splendor Solis Books have been avid book collectors since childhood. They had such a profound shared love of books that they daydreamed about opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in their retirement. Their plans shifted as their priorities changed; they discovered they did not want to wait until retirement or attach themselves permanently to one community. The couple decided to take to the internet to sell books online and build a book community on Instagram and Facebook.
"What we learned and saw was that we were ALL hungry for connection, and well, what better way to do that than through books? Books seemed to unite us from what was becoming a vastly divided world. When we open a book and dive in, our minds open to many possibilities." Kevin and Dianne write on their website.
Spirituality is a significant part of Kevin and Dianne's life. In the fall of 2021, they became full-time booksellers after realizing their full-time medical jobs did not fill them emotionally and spiritually. Many books that appeal to them as booksellers are relevant to educating themselves about the different paths they have found along the way.
"Critical thinking is important. Listening to intuition is important. Community is important. Family is important. And then the relationship with existence is important. In terms of bookselling, our approach is that the content of the books we have is important," Kevin said.
The couple gathers books on philosophy, history, nature, religion, and esoteric topics.
"The line between philosophy and occult or science and religion is not as rigid as projected, and that there's a sort of porousness between those ideas between those categories," Kevin said. As booksellers, they seek to push that notion and integrate the lines between science and spirituality.
"Everything in existence is divine, and it only makes sense that the books that we look at, whether it's fiction or nonfiction philosophy, gives us that much more knowledge and experience of this divine nature," Dianne expands.
A particular standout book the couple encountered was a thin book written by a local Vermont author who wrote about having an out-of-body experience in the late 1910s. The couple also has books dating back to the 1890s from priests, pastors, and mediums that talk about "spiritualism, or church's ideas around seances and things like that, which crosses both those worlds," Kevin said.
Beyond books about spirituality, Splendor Solis has an array of diverse and exciting books, including a first-edition Julia Child cookbook. They plan to bring an 1855 controversial poem collection, "Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman, banned in U.S. libraries due to its explicit sexual imagery and homoerotic messages.
Occult material will make an appearance at their booth. Attendees will have a chance to explore a witchcraft book, first-edition letters of demonology from Sir Walter Scott, and an 1830s witch-hunter's manual.
One of the biggest benefits of working in the rare book trade is experiencing 'those synchronicities that happen when you're with a person who finds the book that speaks to them somehow," Dianne remarks.
They find it fulfilling to know that their intuition for getting certain books provides tangible value to the person who takes a book home. They are excited to meet with attendees at the Boston Rare Book and Ephemera Fair to experience this again.
"I wish we had $1 for every time people say 'your books are amazing and 'I love your selection. And these are the coolest because I love finding people excited about the same titles that we are, and will often, you know, the conversations that come up around that are a lot of fun,” Kevin shares.
By Samourra Rene
Published 4 November 2022