I LOVED “Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World” by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. I am SO ready to become a collector of rare books. Used I already have. Did you know that J.P. Morgan has the original manuscript of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens housed in the Morgan Library? Every Christmas the book is displayed to the public and shown opened to a different page. W0w! It is remarkable how these books have been kept and preserved in mint condition.
This is just one of the many tidbits found in this delightful book. It was written fifteen years ago but you would never know it. This couple decides to stop out-doing each other with birthday gifts and limit themselves to a well thought out gift for less than twenty dollars. So the journey begins. Nancy decides to buy her husband (both are authors) a quality used copy of War and Peace. Little does she know she is in for a crash course on the used book world which ultimately lead the couple to rare book collecting on a shoe string budget.
This is chock full of uthors that I’ve never heard of and many that remind me of how many books I still haven’t gotten to. So many times I’ve read books that have led me to other authors and this is one of those. It is chock full of book titles and done humorously with tongue- in- cheek references about the snobbery found in book shops (I’d love to ask them if they take layaway) that sell rarities that go upwards of tens of thousands of dollars! I found myself fantasizing about running my fingers down the old leather spines and seeing the classic illustrations. You would think this would be a subject that is dry as dust but they made it seem like you were on the adventure with them.
In a world that is currently enamored with the newest e-readers it was comforting to know that bound books will always have a market and be around for a long, long time. I’m ready to start my collection!
Finally finished “Home Town” by Tracy Kidder. Excellent non-fiction book but a little too long. Tracy rides around Northampton, Mass. with a highly respected policeman named Tom O’Connor, a local boy born and raised there. He shows the reader the seamier side of a town known for it’s rich and famous clientele. But there was also a quaintness and small town feeling that comes through as well. You follow Tom and his boyhood friend Rick, a troubled fellow policeman through the maze of small town politics. Tom marries a local girl named Jean who keeps Tom’s big personality somewhat anchored. Characters such as Frankie, Alan and Laura make for an interesting profile on how people shape where we live. Find out what happens to Tom and Rick at the end of “Home Town”.
Then I was on to “Abide With Me” by Elizabeth Strout. This novel follows a young minister in a small New England town who is grieving the loss of his wife. He has a young daughter that is confused and angry and at the mercy of small town gossips. In fact this is about gossip and it’s ugly aftermath. This also about people in a congregation that love and respect their pastor but are angry that he is unavailable. Communication is difficult.
The minister admires Dietrich Bonhoffer and uses him as a role model, but he finds that heroes are meant to fall from pedestals when we expect perfection. All gets worked out in the end in surprising ways. Stay warm and dry.