Book Review

book and author reviews

Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell

September 9, 2011
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Other People’s Books: Association Copies and the Stories They Tell

Like a junkie seeking a secret fix, I furtively ordered a copy of Other People’s Books Association Copies and the Stories They Tell. I must confess to a penchant for books signed by their authors and inscribed to professional colleagues, family members or friends.

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BEST OF: Books About Bookselling: Seeing Shelley Plain

June 1, 2011
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BEST OF: Books About Bookselling: Seeing Shelley Plain

Wilson left his job at a cuckoo clock factory and scraped together the necessary $12,000, which was a tidy sum in 1962. His previous experience in the rarified world of bookmanship was basically limited to a serious hunt for the first editions of four particular authors. Wilson quickly realized that he was in over his head and the figures were not adding up, so he threw all his energy into printing and mailing out catalogs (some 1500), following the pattern set forth by fourth Phoenix owner Larry Wallrich in Catalogs 50 through 59 (there were no earlier numbers because he…

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Books About Bookselling: The Bookseller’s Apprentice

July 1, 2008
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Books About Bookselling: The Bookseller’s Apprentice

Anyone who has gone to Boston to look for rare books in this century will have memories of Goodspeed’s Book Shop.

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Blurbettes: Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 Years of Inspired Fakes

September 3, 2007
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Blurbettes:  Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 Years of Inspired Fakes by Robert Kanigel (Washington, D.C.: Joseph Henry Press, 2007) comes with two holes in the dust jacket. More on that later. From the front inside flap. “What makes genuine leather genuine? What make real things…real? In an age of virtual reality, veneers, synthetics, plastics, fakes, and knockoffs, it’s hard to know. “Over the centuries, men and women have devoted enormous energy to making fake things seem real. As early as the 14th century, fabric was treated with special oils to make it resemble leather. In the 1870s came Leatherette,…

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Ye Olde Booksellers: Adventures in American Bookshops, Antique Stores and Auction Rooms

September 3, 2007
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Adventures in American Bookshops, Antique Stores and Auction Rooms by Guido Bruno

Ye Olde Booksellers Adventures in American Bookshops, Antique Stores and Auction Rooms by Guido Bruno (Detroit: The Douglas Book Shop, 1922) is further excerpted, though now from a new personal copy hand numbered 925 of 1,000 printed. The Romance of a Chicago Book Dealer Wells Street, between the river and East Chicago Avenue, is the Bowery of Chicago. Once a residential section, now the old mansions and frame cottages, hastily erected after the fire, are dilapidated and are used as lodging houses and factories of the inferior sort. Here and there a modern structure, a storage house or an industrial plant.…

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Books About Bookselling: A Backward Look

September 3, 2007
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A Backward Look: 50 Years of Maine Books and Bookmen Francis M. O’Brien. Portland, ME: Anthoensen Press, 1986. My first impression of this book is that it’s only 49 pages long, which is good because the deadline is only a week away. And the author spends half the time on non-book topics. His family history. A rather idyllic childhood in the “Forest City.” Many early jobs, including sitting in a tent on a hill near a bridge and recording all the incoming state license plates for the Maine Publicity Bureau. Almost getting fired as an usher. (“Ma’am, we say please…

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Ephemeral Assays: Self Listing

September 3, 2007
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When making a large haul, all kinds of things turn up in the net. Even if it’s only books, rather than loads of paper, inscriptions and the things that fall out of books often give you some picture of the previous owner. While whipping through a load of estate books recently, I nearly threw a newer-looking one in the discard/recycle pile, rather than the price, check, keep for myself, or donate piles. That’s because it was written in. The title was List Your Self: Listmaking as the Way to Self-Discovery, by Ilene Segalove and Paul Bob Velick (Kansas City, MO:…

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From the Editor

June 23, 2007
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From the Editor

I recently received a review copy of Fairs, Markets and the Itinerant Book Trade (various editors and authors), hot off the Oak Knoll Press, those heroes of books about bookselling. It is based on papers given at the 27th annual conference on book trade history, and covers such diverse topics as the rise and fall of the early German fairs; itinerant booksellers, printers, and peddlers in Sixteenth-Century Spain and Portugal; the legal entanglements and Italian-French-Spanish book trade insights occasioned by the 1586 street murder of prominent publisher Symphorien Beraud; rural East Anglia and urban Netherlands distribution channels; Scottish chapmen; and London street booksellers…

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Book review: Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co

April 23, 2007
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Book review: Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co

Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co., by Lynne Tillman. NY: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999. Books & Co. was situated in a wonderful location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan not far from the Whitney Museum. It was the kind of place where you’d see somebody like Woody Allen browsing the shelves, as he fondly recalls doing in his foreword. Allen even included the shop in one of his later films. An excerpt from the author’s introduction follows. “Bookstore is the history of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co., the independent bookstore she owned…

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