Book Collector Cate Barton on the Creative Intersections of Cinema and Books
Our Bright Young Collectors series continues today with Cate Barton, one of the honorable mentions in the 2023 Honey & Wax Book Collecting Contest for women collectors aged 30 or younger.
Where are you from / where do you live?
I am from Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, a small town near New Hampshire. I am currently taking a gap year so I’m not fully settled. I’m based in Massachusetts at the moment but I will begin traveling through Europe and then Asia starting in March.
What do you study at University?
I studied Political Humanities with a minor in Law and a focus on Europe/Asia relations at Sciences Po in France. I will continue my degree next fall at Columbia University, likely pursuing a degree in Film and Media Studies.
Please introduce us to your book collection. What areas do you collect in?
My current main collection is titled Film on the Page: Creative Intersections of Cinema and Books. This collection started with a focus on books composed of photos from specific films I liked. Over time, I discovered other types of books relating to film in different aspects including screenplays, storyboards, and book-to-movie adaptations (and vice-versa). Ultimately, I look for unique books which offer new insight or discoveries related to individual films.
How many books are in your collection?
I believe my collection was around 20 books when I submitted to the competition and now it is likely around 25.
What was the first book you bought for your collection?
The first book I bought for my collection was a book of photographs from Alfonso Cuarón’s film Roma. I found this book in great condition in the small book section of a music store in New Hampshire. Roma was a film I already knew about so I was immediately enchanted by the beautiful presentation of the black and white stills from the film. It was also satisfying to search the retail value of the book and realize I would be buying it for 1/10th of that price!
How about the most recent book?
The most recent book I added to my collection is a copy of The Red Balloon by A. Lamorisse. My Dad gifted me a hardcover which is composed of images from the set of the 1956 film. I was ecstatic to receive this book for my collection as this is a film I have enjoyed for years and the story told alongside the stills in this book format brought me back to the first time I watched it. I also especially like books about international movies because it is interesting to interpret the interpretation/translation from the original film if there is some. In this case the story in the book is in English from the original French film which actually has no dialogue at all.
And your favorite book in your collection?
My favorite book in my collection is the book I have on the two Gregg Araki’s screenplays The Living End and Totally F***ed Up. This book is uniquely printed so that one screenplays read normally and the other is printed upside down and can be read from the back. I was immediately attracted to the aesthetic and uniqueness of this book. I didn’t know Gregg Araki immediately but after some research I realized I had seen a couple other of his films and I quickly fell into a deep research into the director himself, a trailblazer in the genre of New Queer Cinema. This book, ultimately, worked to introduce me to an entirely new genre of cinema and wealth of films which I am so grateful for.
Best bargain you’ve found?
I would say the best bargain found is the copy of a collection of photographs and a description of the film La Guerre de Feu directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. I found it for just 6 euros in a tiny bookstore near my old apartment in France which I frequented quite often. The book had a very interesting collection of photos from the film which I had never previously heard of as well as a transcribed interview with Anthony Burgess about the language invented for the film. I say this is the best bargain because upon researching this book when I got home, I was unable to find any other copies in existence online! My father even assisted and he was only able to trace one to a private library. I’m very grateful to have found this rarity that day. It’s a bargain which I can’t even seem to quantify.
Cate Barton's collection of books
The Red Balloon
Cate's signed copy of Ferris Bueller's Day Off
La Guerre de Feu
How about The One that Got Away?
Recently, I was at a shop in Tribeca and found a wonderful copy of the Lolita screenplay which I would’ve loved to add to my collection but it was out of the price range for that day. I always imagine the right books will end up by my side when it’s meant to be though.
What would be the Holy Grail for your collection?
I think the Holy Grail for my collection is my movie-to-book copy of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This one is special because after I discovered my book collecting niche, my Dad pulled this copy out of his archives. He had bought the book when the movie first came out as a kid and Todd Strasser, the writer of the book adaptation, had actually come to his middle school to discuss being a writer and was able to sign the book specifically for my Dad. I am so lucky to have this gem in my collection and I love the history that goes with it.
Who is your favorite bookseller / bookstore?
This is a tough question because there are so many! I love visiting rare book stores in each city I travel to just as much as I enjoy visiting used bookstores and free libraries around my hometown. I think my favorite would probably be the Brattle Book Shop in Boston because not only have I found many fabulous books there but it’s also associated with wonderful memories of venturing into the city with my father just to browse around the store. It’s probably one of the first places I really began to appreciate the world of rare books.
What would you collect if you didn’t collect books?
I do collect more than just books! I love to collect many things but I especially hold much pride in my collection of Converse sneakers which I have had growing since I was very young. I love the shoes and all the creativity associated with them, especially all the collaborations they do with artists. I love finding the rare and unique pairs that are out there, just as I have with books.