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Among Booksellers: Tales Told in Letters to Howard Hodgkin Paperback – 1 Aug 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Trough Books; Revised Edition edition (1 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954454235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954454234
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 13.6 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 732,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dixon on 1 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
There cannot be many people who are both book collectors and ardent admirers of Howard (sir!) Hodgkin's beutiful art. I came across this book in a news letter from Oak Knoll Books and instantly recognised the cover as being part of the painting 'House', but then to find out that this was a book of letters from a book dealer to Hodgkin made it an instant 'must have'!
The book is a wonderful selection of letters that describe one mans trial's and sucesses whilst travelling around the world to procure treasures, but the meat is in the observation, humour and pathos of a man alone ruminating and observing his world. Though the letters are addressed to Hodgkin, whom the author is lucky enough to know well, one feels that they are not answerred or may never have been sent - this giving the feel of a novel rather than common book of letters.
I love the snatches of insight into the book world and highly recommend this book, those interrested should also check out Anthony Rota's 'Books in the Blood' and Larry McMurtry's 'Books - a memoir'. However, the charm of the book is the openess and warmth in intimately writting about his adventures that David Batterham conveys. How I wish we could see a comparable book from the recipient of the letters!

As a footnote - orderring this book from Oak Knoll Books was going to be expensive with the postage from the USA, so I looked on Amazon.uk. It was only after orderring from here that I spotted the name of the seller, one David Batterham, talk about from the horses mouth!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Goddess Meca on 24 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
This charming little book allows us a peek into the life of David Batterham, an antiquarian bookseller travelling the world in search of rare books and magazines. The narrative is told through a series of well composed letters addressed to Howard Hodgkin, yet we never get to read the replies so the flow is maintained throughout. Batterham entertains while showing us a glimpse into the soon to be extinct world of a book dealer, his adventures and the curious folk he meets along the way. I found the author's sparkling wit highly entertaining and was sorry to turn the final page.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Is it a paradox that as books and booksellers are becoming endangered species, there seems to be an increase in the number of books about books and bookselling coming to the market?? Not that the genre is new - from David Low's With All Faults to Bill Rees's recent The Loneliness of the Long Distance Book Runner the genre has a long and worthy history. But as the digital age renders books (in their codex form) and bookrunners increasingly redundant, there seems to be a corresponding demand for memoirs such as Batterham's which reflect a nostalgia for a dying age and art. Perhaps also prompted by the success of Rick Gekoski's books and musings in The Guardian, Batterham has chosen to put his memories - in the form of letters written to Howard Hodgkin - to paper. And i am very glad that he has done so. Book scouts and sellers have always enjoyed (?) a strange liminal existence, shuttling as they do between artists, eccentrics, exiles and compulsive collectors on the fringes of 'normal' society whilst also trying to maintain 'normal' personal lives and make a living. Batterham is very good at conveying this curious existence - there are well-composed sketches of foreign climes and various eccentrics and, whilst his tone is nicely self-effacing, there are also hints at the effects this has on his personal life and finances. The letters to Hodgkin are well-composed and whilst the resulting book sometimes lacks the unifying touch that retrospective analysis can bring, this is counter-balanced by the candour of the letters and the refreshing lack of sentimentalism. The result is a worthy edition to the genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roger Morgan on 22 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This lively and at times hilarious little book goes to show that a veteran antiquarian bookseller is often not only a remarkable character in his own right, but also someone who has passed a good deal of his time in encounters with other eccentics of a similar kind. The author's spontaneous and frank epistolatory accounts of his dealings with a range of singularly odd fellow-traders and others, mainly in Europe but also in America, will delight not only bibliophiles but anyone who appreciates imaginative and witty writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shere Khan on 9 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a cracking read. If you ever wondered where all the writers had gone then look no further;there's one here. A short book detailing Mr Batterham's jaunts around the world in search of rare books and magazines told with style and panache. For God's sake buy this book- the man's only got two pairs of trousers!
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