Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict, John Baxter

In 1951, Robert Bloch, not yet the author of Pyscho, published a short story in the pulp magazine Famous Fantastic Mysteries called "The Man Who Collected Poe." In a pastiche of Poe's own doom-laden style, it tells of an enthusiast for the author of "The Raven" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" who meets a fellow fanatic, Launcelot Canning, and is invited to a lonely Maryland estate.

John Baxter, the author of The Most Beautiful Walk in the World, grew up in rural Australia, and began collecting books as a teenager. It was the beginning of a major collection and obsession. His first real find was a Graham Green book in London, where he also met Martin Stone, a famous bookseller and collector. This is book is very easy to read and has funny moments too. Baxter talks about his own collection and how he began to scour all sorts of unlikely places for new books. However, A Pound of Paper talks more about Baxter's collection  than why he likes the books that he does. He doesn't talk that much about the process of reading, or whether he actually reads the rare first editions that he collects. Just about going to different markets and spending money.

I got some (more) good recommendations, such as Graham Greene from this book, and I liked the title. That really is what a book is: just a pound of paper. And yet some of these pounds of paper are worth more than other.

Read A Pound of Paper:
  • if you like books about books
  • if you are interested in book collection
  • if you like John Baxter
363 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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