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A Pound of Paper Hardcover – 4 Nov 2002

7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition, Second Printing edition (4 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385603681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385603683
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.7 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 963,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'His extraordinary enthusiasm for his subject is infectious ... a wonderful memoir.' -- Literary Review

From the Back Cover

In this brilliantly readable, stylish and funny book John Baxter introduces us to his world, the world of the fanatical collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auction and takes away the booty in bubble wrap to store in metal filing cabinets - 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.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "drambuster" on 21 Dec. 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a collector of rare books, the obsessive drive and constant searching are a part of daily life. No wonder others rarely understand the thrill of finding 'Lucky Jim' or a rare Le Carre tucked away at the Scouts jumble sale! But be thankfull that Mr Baxter does because even if your interest in books is slight, this is a 'must read' title.
His descriptions of what it is to be a collector, and of a begrudging willingnes to part with hard earned cash (in some cases, substantial amounts of it) are a joy to read. Never before have I read anything that describes with such passion and clarity quite what makes book collectors tick.
I have presented my wife with a copy in the hope that it might explain a few things!
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Format: Hardcover
John Baxter grew up in rural Australia during the 1950s, and found that reading books was not highly regarded. Owning and collecting books was by no means a common pursuit then either, but this didn't stop John from developing a passion for books, and their ownership, which has grown through obsession into a major collection.

I don't completely share the obsession, but I love reading books about books. I enjoy finding out what books other bibliophiles value, and why. The connections between books, their authors and readers are interesting to read about as well.

In John Baxter's case, while his book hunting has taken him around the world, his first significant find was in London, in 1978, when he saw a copy of a rare children's book by Graham Greene (`The Little Horse Bus') with an asking price of 5pence. On the same day John met Martin Stone, one of the legends of the book-selling world, who became his mentor and friend. What makes this book memorable is the inside look into the various worlds of book collecting: the sometimes fascinating people involved in the trade (such as Martin Stone); distinguishing some of the many variables that make books collectible or not; and (of course) his contact with literary figures such as Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis and Ray Bradbury.

Along the way, John Baxter became a biographer (he has written biographies of George Lucas, Woody Allen, and Stanley Kubrick) and has written a number of other books about films and those who make them. It's interesting to read about how the boy from rural Australia ended up living in a Paris penthouse with a library worth millions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RV on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not an autobiography that I would recommend. For somebody who professes to have read so much, why is it that he doesn't make his own writing more interesting. I could not get past the first 25%, which was quite interesting but not sufficiently so for me to carry on to the end.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aj Wise on 5 Jan. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I had this book from John Baxter given to me at Christmas. The unusual and pretty cover first attracted me, but when I first started reading it, I could not put it down. In my opinion it is a little treasure. Not only for people whom like reading books, but for collectors too.
I also enjoyed the letters at the end of the book and like the writers, I will find it difficult to choose which book to take with me, if there was a fire and I could only take one. After reading "A Pound of Paper" how could there be any other choice!
I would read it again and again.
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