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Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World (1997)
by Lawrence Goldstone, Nancy Bazelon Goldstone
In the early years of their marriage the writers Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone decided to become book collectors. I suspect the authors were being disingenuous in claiming to be completely ignorant about the hobby to the point of not even knowing what they wanted to collect. However, their feigned naïveté allows them to lead the reader through dusty old bookshops that have likely ceased to exist by now, learning what to look for. Along the way they introduce many delightfully quirky booksellers. Even to the non-collector their excursions into book land are great fun. I picked up a few tips and am glad to find out that I’m not the first would-be buyer to get snubbed in NYC’s Argosy Bookshop. ( )
A nice little memoir of how a couple got suckered into book collecting (modern firsts). Really about getting suckered into any collecting hobby/compulsion.
Along with a few reference books and a little first hand advice would let you get into collecting, buying, auctions, etc. without seeming to be too novice.
There's a blurb on the back of this book from Kirkus Reviews that says Used and Rare is "A sort of Year in Provence for book lovers." This is the perfect description for this book, except it was funnier; I laughed out loud in several places.
Used and Rare chronicles the journey of the Goldstones into book collecting, starting with an innocent search for a used copy of War and Peace suitable for a gift. This is how lifelong, obsessive passions begin. In fact it occurred to me as I read this that I have reason to be thankful that MT does not share my passionate love of books because if he did, we'd be the Goldstones and I shudder to think of the swath of destruction the two of us having a shared passion would wreck on our finances.
Having started reading this last night before bed (and making MT stay awake long enough so I could read parts of it aloud to him), I blew off everything I had to do today so that I could sit down and finish it. It's well written, it's funny, it's interesting and surprisingly it has what could sort of be called a plot, in that there's a journey these two take through book collecting and by the end of the book they come out the other other side with realisations made and lessons learned. In fact, the way the book ended was just the cherry on top of a perfectly lovely read.
This book isn't necessarily going to appeal to people who love to read, but people who love to own books and take great pleasure in being physically surrounded by the works of authors who have educated, entertained and changed them for better or worse? I think those people would love this book and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Used and Rare, Travels in the Book World, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone (pp. 215). This is a thoroughly delightful romp through book stores throughout New England as the authors, both writers, fall in love with book collecting. They start simply with books they love or with which they want to love, all inexpensive and easy to find. They are increasingly and reluctantly seduced by the used book world, and are then into drawn into the rarified world of rare and hard to find books. This entrancing story is, amazingly, the exquisitely detailed experiences of investigating the musty, dusty shelves of numerous book stores near their home in Massachusetts, and then extending to the locked cabinets and immaculate shelves of serious and often stuffy booksellers. It’s hard to explain the attractiveness of this book, and I shall suffice to say that it’s the romance of pursuit, sometimes of the known beauty that only needs to be found, and often as not finding a treasure for which you are not looking but which captures your heart nonetheless. I loved this book and recommend it highly.
If you love books, you must read this. The Goldstones are lovers of books and they take you along as they discover, from scratch, the world of book collecting. You learn while they learn and the lessons are wonderful. Parts of this are hysterically funny. One of the first people they meet is from New Zealand and while I normally hate dialogue written in dialect, they have a Kiwi accent nailed and it's great fun. This is a small, one-seating read and when you get to the end you will love all used bookshops even more than you do now.
[A] sprightly paced travelogue....A sort of 'Year in Provence' for book lovers: an entertaining armchair introduction to an esoteric but captivating subject.
Rarest of all, Goldstone can write. Her sentences are clean, flowing, intelligent, even arch. This Goldstone woman has a talent that you cannot buy.
Journey into the world of book collecting with the Goldstones-rediscover the joy of reading, laugh, and fall in love with books all over again. The idea that books had stories associated with them that had nothing to do with the stories inside them was new to us. We had always valued the history, the world of ideas contained between the covers of a book or, as in the case ofThe Night Visitor,some special personal significance. Now, for the first time, we began to appreciate that there was a history and a world of ideas embodied by the books themselves. Part travel story, part love story, and part memoir, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone'sUsed and Rareprovides a delightful love letter to book lovers everywhere.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)002.092Information Computing and Information History of the book History of the book -- Subdivisions Biography and History Biographies related to books and book collecting
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