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Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict…
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Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict (editie 2005)

door John Baxter (Auteur)

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8181819,349 (3.44)40
Enter a world of gimlet-eyed, detail-crazed obsessives in this totally addictive memoir about book collecting. By the 1960s, a copy of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about $1,000. But with its dust jacket, more like $4,500 -- if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at over $100,000. And then there were signed copies, foreign printings, limited editions, numbered and signed… John Baxter caught the collecting bug in 1978 when he found a rare copy of Greene’s children’s book The Little Horse Bus. It was going for 50¢. It would also be the day that he first encountered one of the legends of the bookselling world: Martin Stone. At various times cokehead, pothead, alcoholic and professional rock musician, he would become John’s mentor and friend, and a central figure in this book. In this brilliantly readable, stylish and funny book, John Baxter introduces us to the world of the fanatical book collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auctions, but also the sleuth, the one who uses bluff and guile to hunt down his quarry. Along the way we meet a cast of eccentric characters like Driff Field who only collects books about suicide or by writers who have killed themselves. We meet the completists, the condition freaks, the rich and famous -- from Barry Humphries and Harvey Weinstein to Sarah Michelle Gellar. The literati will adore this very entertaining memoir.… (meer)
Lid:baswood
Titel:Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict
Auteurs:John Baxter (Auteur)
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2005), Edition: First, 432 pages
Verzamelingen:Books
Waardering:***
Trefwoorden:Geen

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

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Subtitled confessions of a book addict and my hard backed copy comes complete with its dust cover; it was bought in a second hand book shop in Melton Mowbray (England). There were a couple of others for sale, I don't remember the cost because a friend bought it for me. These details might be important to you if you were a collector of books, although you might be in a world of your own collecting books by John Baxter, who is described as writer, journalist and film maker. A pound of Paper is an autobiography with a continuing thread of Baxter's life as a collector and dealer in books, many other aspects of his life are sketched in to give some sort of continuation to the story.

For people who read books and who visit bookshops especially second hand shops; the world of the book collectors will hold some fascination. Baxter is not overly concerned with the why's of collecting, but his story bounces along with an enthusiasm for his two subjects: which are John Baxter and book collecting. His book starts of with his collection of books by Graham Greene which serves as an introduction into first editions, unpublished works, signed copies, dedications, marginalia, manuscripts and all the paraphernalia that can grip a person addicted to collecting. Baxter's hunting down of 'Greenes' (books by Graham Greene) leads him into the slightly murky world of book dealing or book running. The visits to book fairs, and shops, the searches at house clearance sales, tip offs of collections coming up for auction, and the chasing around the countryside looking for a rare item reinforces the old adage that the chase is the most exciting part of the hunt.

Following the introductory chapters on collecting and dealing Baxter tells of his early life in Australia and his love of science fiction, which is the route that many young (men mostly) follow into the world of books. The search for something different or for favourite authors in a country where publications were more scarce than Europe or the USA fuelled the excitement of the chase and seems to have been a character defining moment for Baxter. He dabbled in science fiction and then fell into the career of journalism that opened up more work-life connections for him, but the lure of greener pastures got him on a boat for England where he had more scope to enjoy his hobby and sometimes livelihood. Baxter writes about his sojourns in America, then back to England and finally settling in Paris, but books are never far from his thoughts. He does not tell us much about his enjoyment of reading, but concentrates on the the acquisition of books. He tells us that opening a rare book can decrease its value and so perhaps he does not read so many.

My impression of John Baxter is that he is very good at self promotion and is probably rarely short of a word to say. The book of course is littered with name dropping and there are plenty of little stories about famous people in the book world. If he comes across like a poor man's Clive James, we can probably blame that on his Australian upbringing. He is certainly a man who is good at making connections and is probably good company. He has written a number of biographies of film directors and is now enjoying a career as a chronicler of an English speaker living in Paris. A Pound of Paper gives the reader a glimpse into the world of a collector and book dealer and a life well lived, it touches lightly on most things and can be read at a gallop. I enjoyed it and so three stars. ( )
1 stem baswood | Nov 22, 2020 |
A colorful and snarky Brit/Aussie/LA/Parisian bibliophile and collector writes a memorably funny and interesting memoir for book-obsessed souls who share his affliction(s). ( )
  dele2451 | Oct 12, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book. A lot. We are about the same age so I could relate to the prowling around after books though first editions never interested me and being such a miserly collector I would never sell a book. But I sure remember picking up a box full of 19th century biographies at 15 cents each and the discussions with used book dealers who were just glad to have someone to talk to.
I also remember the groaning from friends who had to carry my treasures. ( )
  rathad | Aug 30, 2014 |
Charming, but rambling tour of a book buyer and seller's life. Has some good anecdotes and insights, but seems to have too many meaningless digressions. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Enter a world of gimlet-eyed, detail-crazed obsessives in this totally addictive memoir about book collecting. By the 1960s, a copy of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about $1,000. But with its dust jacket, more like $4,500 -- if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at over $100,000. And then there were signed copies, foreign printings, limited editions, numbered and signed… John Baxter caught the collecting bug in 1978 when he found a rare copy of Greene’s children’s book The Little Horse Bus. It was going for 50¢. It would also be the day that he first encountered one of the legends of the bookselling world: Martin Stone. At various times cokehead, pothead, alcoholic and professional rock musician, he would become John’s mentor and friend, and a central figure in this book. In this brilliantly readable, stylish and funny book, John Baxter introduces us to the world of the fanatical book collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auctions, but also the sleuth, the one who uses bluff and guile to hunt down his quarry. Along the way we meet a cast of eccentric characters like Driff Field who only collects books about suicide or by writers who have killed themselves. We meet the completists, the condition freaks, the rich and famous -- from Barry Humphries and Harvey Weinstein to Sarah Michelle Gellar. The literati will adore this very entertaining memoir.

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