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Sixpence House by Paul Collins

Sixpence House (original 2004; edition 2003)

by Paul Collins

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1,019418,334 (3.64)116
Title:Sixpence House
Authors:Paul Collins
Info:Bloomsbury (2003), Edition: 2nd prt., Hardcover, 224 pages
Tags:21st century, american, borrowed, LW3r, returned, memoir

Work details

Sixpence House by Paul Collins (2004)

  1. 20
    On Reading by André Kertész (Fliss88)
  2. 10
    Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry (Bjace)
    Bjace: McMurtry's life as a bibliophile. Tries to create a "town of books" in Texas comparable to Hay.
  3. 10
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (Limelite)
    Limelite: Similar evocative memoir that revolves around a bookstore and books. But at a distance.
  4. 00
    The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: A meditation on books, reading, library-design, modes of cataloging, etc.
  5. 00
    Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer (Fliss88)

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» See also 116 mentions

English (40)  Italian (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I did like this. It was more [b:Notes from a Small Island|28|Notes from a Small Island|Bill Bryson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1156042888s/28.jpg|940892] and less [b:Books: A Memoir|2421737|Books A Memoir|Larry McMurtry|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266810254s/2421737.jpg|2428917]. Still I shake my head about him shipping books (including "bad" books because of their interesting titles) back and forth across the Atlantic. I'll never understand hoarding - public libraries and bookcrossing.com are the way to go! However, he writes of history, the British character, his child, the good people of Hay-on-Wye, and more with easy grace and no small wit, as the literary cliches go. I did prefer his way of saying that "The British do..." as opposed to Bryson's more "It's so frustrating the way the British do...." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I think this book could have just as easily been called Hay , or The Apartment . I guess Sixpence was the last straw though . I learned something, but at times it was certainly train of thought story telling . ( )
  szbrooks1 | Jan 1, 2015 |
Il pregio di Collins è, credo, la leggerezza. Racconta una dose di fatti suoi - come d'altronde fara' poi con il libro sull'autismo di suo figlio - con candore, disincanto e ironica accettazione. Un uomo che umanamente stimo per le scelte, per il coraggio, per la curiosità. Questo libro, nello specifico, fa senz'altro venir voglia di visitare il Galles e parla sufficientemente male degli americani che quasi li rende simpatici. Non c'entra molto, ma la cadenza mi ha ricordato i libri di Chris Stewart - altro bell'esempio di ciuffo d'erba in cerca di prato in cui attecchire. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Because of their love of books, Paul Collins and his wife, with baby, moved from San Francisco to Hay-on-Wye in Wales, a town renowned for the high number of bookshops. Unfortunately this pair of incompetents are unable to find their dream house with a rock bottom price, and are dissatisfied that Britain doesn't do things as they are done in America.

This book seemed like a perfect choice for someone who loves everything to do with books. It turned out to be so disappointing, boring, tedious, and seriously annoying. I'm sure Hay-on-Wye is a charming place but better off without Collins. ( )
  VivienneR | Dec 10, 2014 |
A true story of bibliophile and writer, Collins moving his wife and toddler to the Welsh village, of Hay-on-Wye, pop. 1,500, 40 Antiquarian bookshops. A delight for Anglophiles, bibliophiles and writers. I laughed, I learned, I underlined whole pages. ( )
  vlcraven | Nov 24, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Entertaining memoir....A treat for the bibliophile.
added by jburlinson | editKirkus (Mar 1, 2003)
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Book description
Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh town of 1,500, is heaven on earth for people who love books, especially old books. It has 40 bookstores, and if you can't find what you want in one of them, you can fork over 50 pence and visit the field behind the town castle, where thousands more long-forgotten books languish under a sprawling tarp. McSweeney's contributor Collins moved his wife and baby son from San Francisco to Hay a few years ago, intending to settle there. This book is Collins's account of the brief period when he organized American literature in one of the many used-book stores, contemplated and abandoned the idea of becoming a peer in the House of Lords, tried to buy an affordable house that wasn't falling apart (a problem when most of the buildings are at least a century old) and revised his first book (Banvard's Folly). Collins can be quite funny, and he pads his sophomore effort with obscure but amusing trivia (how many book lovers know that the same substance used to thicken fast-food milk shakes is an essential ingredient in paper resizing?), but it's hard to imagine anyone beyond bibliophiles and fellow Hay-lovers finding enough here to hold their attention. Witty and droll though he may be, Collins fails to give his slice-of-life story the magic it needs to transcend the genre.
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"Paul Collins and his family abandoned the hills of San Francisco to move to the Welsh countryside - to move, in fact, to the little cobblestone village of Hay-on-Wye, the "Town of Books, " boasting 1,500 inhabitants...and forty bookstores. Antiquarian bookstores, no less." "Hay's newest residents accordingly take up residence in a sixteenth-century apartment over a bookstore, meeting the village's large population of misfits and bibliomaniacs by working for world class eccentric Richard Booth - the self-declared King of Hay, owner of the local castle, and proprietor of the world's largest and most chaotic used book warren. A useless clerk, Paul delights in shifting dusty stacks of books around and sifting them for ancient gems like Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable, Confession of an Author's Wife, and I Was Hitler's Maid. Meanwhile, as he struggles with the final touches on his own first book, Banvard's Folly, nearing publication in the United States, he also duly fulfills his duty as a British citizen by simultaneously applying to be a peer in the House of Lords and attempting to buy Sixpence House, a beautiful and neglected old tumbledown pub for sale in the town's center." "Sixpence House is an engaging meditation on what books mean to us, and how their meaning can resonate long after they have been abandoned by their public."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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