Customer Reviews of Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World
A review from one who worked in a respected Boston bookshop.
Used and Rare...I picked it up at the Pierpont Morgan Library gift shop in NYC. Figured that if they sold it, it might be good. It is.
The book is a lovely read, especially easy to put down and pick up again, to carry along with you, and to learn from (without any effort).
It's like reading a magazine article. When I was a freshman in high school, I read a magazine article about why the Red Badge of Courage was not only valuable in the world of literature but also as a financial investment. That article started me off as a collector, and now, years later, I have a fine collection of rare books that I adore, that I'll never sell, but that are wonderful investments. The writing in this book is very light, magazine-like, but pleasant. It's a fine introduction for those who are interested in this topic; a primer.
Far from a scholarly work, this book gives you a gentle lesson about the world of highly intellectual, high-end collecting. It will inspire you to read, to learn why some books are important in history - while others are not. It will also give you a few new terms and a few hints as to the etiquette you need to acquire as you browse the stacks within shops and booths at the antiquarian book fairs.
I ordered several editions of this book which I gave as gifts to friends who would like to learn more about rare book collecting. They have all enjoyed it.
Although not rare, this book is a treasure.
What an uncommonly wonderful book! For bibliophiles or those that enjoy reading about a passionate quest, USED AND RARE is a delight.
This is a factual "novel" written by Larry and Nancy Goldstone relating their journey into the world of used and rare books. This is a story that began as a quest for a budget-based, inexpensive gift which ultimately turned to an exciting addiction. The inexpensive beginning was the search and purchase of a [amt] copy of Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE, a complete translation which included maps and fold-out color illustrations. When it arrived in the mailed, the book included a business card from the bookseller which subsequently prompted the Goldstones to make their way to the bookstore on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There, they met David and Esther Kininmonth, the owners of the store. David enthralled the Goldstones with a oratory into the basics of the world of rare books, their value, illusion and mystery. It was with this visit and conversation that the Goldstone's were vaulted into a path that soon became a passionate obsession.
Now intrigued and beset with an insatiable desire for new "quarry," the Goldstones began making as many trips as possible to various East Coast cities visting antiquarian book dealers and attending book fairs and auctions. Armed with a growing knowledge of this rather obscure industry, they diligently sought out first editions, single leather-bound volumes and sets, and rare out-of-print books. Along the way, they became as fascinated with the learning process associated with procuring rare books as much as by the books themselves. After spending quite a bit of time buying, reading and picking the brains of the experts, the Goldstones began to see through many of the games played by the dealers including pricing inconsistencies, show tactics and auction fax paus'.
Although extremely frugal and budget-conscious, USED AND RARE tells the story of how the Goldstones began with that [amt] copy of WAR AND PEACE to owning a [amt] edition of Charles Dickens's MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. In one passage, the Goldstones relate their visit to a book fair where they encounter a first edition of TARZAN, by Edgar Rice Burroughs for an astounding [amt]! They wonder how TARZAN can demand that kind of sum when, by their own standards, it is not necessarily considered great literature? As with most businesses, the Goldstones learn that the business of rare books is a BUSINESS. As such, demand drives prices and, as with antiques and collectibles, value is relative to the individual collector.
The fervor behind this story and the common penchant for booklore displayed by the Goldstones' is contagious. This story provides an education to the reader and a behind-the-scenes view of many unheard-of books (at least to this reader) considered classic and collectible. Their story offers biblophiles/biblomaniacs an insight into the world of rare books and a lesson in the business of books. It is easy to see that they earned their way into the world of rare books while being gracious enough to share it with the reader. USED AND RARE is a strange combination of education, love, travel and the chase for the perfect buy....at the right price of course!
I am immediately following this read with the sequel, SLIGHTLY CHIPPED, and have already ordered the third book in the series, WARMLY INSCRIBED. Anyone hooked on books should read USED AND RARE.
A fun quick read for book lovers.
What a rich little book. It is such a fun read. It has revived my love of book shopping. My wife and I went out this past weekend to hunt for new finds. It is also a good reference. I will keep it handy in my book hunting. It is well worth the small price.
Already a classic - A delight for lovers and booklovers
This is a fun read by the Nick and Nora Charles of book collecting. This was their initial book on the subject, a labor of love, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Their books that follow are good, but not as good, because they are becoming pillars of the establishment rather than treasure hunters. There is less spark to their work now, less sense of discovery, more serious, less fun.
Fortunately, for fun I can always come back and read this one again, and John Baxter's marvelously bookish A POUND OF PAPER, and of course, Dashiell Hammett's original Nick and Nora Charles.
Two people share their joy of book collecting
Books on book collecting might be boring. This one is exciting. The enthusiasm of Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone, professional writers who live in the Berkshire hills of Massachussetts, is contagious. They are novices at book collecting until Nancy decides to purchase a nice hard cover copy of War and Peace to give to Lawrence. She has a $20.00 budget (based on a deal the couple made to stop buying each other expensive silly birthday presents and to cap the cost at twenty dollars). Nancy decides that she will buy Lawrence a nice hardcover copy of War and Peace. This turns out to be something of a search for the holy grail. Does she want a first edition? In English, French, or Russian. What translation does she want? Nancy and Lawrence soon find themselves hooked on collecting books, especially modern first editions, and go traversing the Berkshire Hills for books, used and rare. They go to Boston and New York. They attend book fairs and auctions. They buy a set of the Wharton sisters books at auction for $60. They promise to give up eating out to rationalize a purchase in Boston.They buy a two volume set of Dickens Bleak House for $700.00. But they are just as happy with their $20.00 copy of Andersonville. They uncover the mystery of what "first state" and "second state" is, and what it means for a book to be "foxed" or "shaken" or "rubbed." They cannot understand why Burroughs first edition of Tarzan sells for $50,000.00. They love every minute of their book exploration, including some eccentric antiquarian book sellers they meet along the way. Their enthusiasm captures the reader. This quick read will make you a book collector.