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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2007
If you love buying, reading and then admiring the books on your shelves, you'll love this book. If you've never been to a second-hand book dealer's shop, you soon will. It's compulsive reading, then compulsive spending!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 1999
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 1998
I was hooked by the bottom of the first page. Certainly I enjoyed learning a bit about rare books, but the sub-plot was just as interesting to me. I envy the authors:(1) the number and proximity of stores (2) the closeness that this brought to them as a couple - a sharing of a passion and (3) their income to buy books. My question is: Did they EVER get the Fitzgerald?
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on 18 April 1998
I am currently reading this book for the third time; not because I didn't understand it the first two times, but because I simply LOVED it the first two times. It is a fascinating book, and I can not recommend it enough. This is a booklover's dream. It captures the pure joy that one experiences in finding that perfect book, and then building a great personal library filled with exceptional editions of exceptional books. I have always loved reading, and even more so, I have always loved books, but USED & RARE has increased my passion for books tenfold. I'm only allowed to rate this book as high as a 10 out of 10, but it deserved at least an 11.
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on 30 September 1997
In their quest for books, the two Goldstones are nearly as one - one completely obsessed collector. They share that obsession (and an almost palpable love for books) with their readers, in a style that is charming and compelling. In fact, "Used and Rare" does for book collecting what "A Year in Provence" did for the south of France - makes it seem immediate and accessible and a most desirable thing. Anyone who has ever loved a book will thoroughly enjoy "Used and Rare" - and will probably be keeping an eye out for old books of their own.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 29 October 2002
The book I refer to in the title is, "A Gentle Madness" by Nicholas A. Basbanes. If you are not yet prepared to spend the time the 638-page Basbanes book requires, this short story may be amusing.

The book is generally well written, and at times quite funny. Unfortunately there is an arrogance that pervades the book that is as misplaced as it is mean spirited. Perhaps the Authors felt the need to compensate for their neophyte status as book collectors, by making sport of those who truly know books.

Book collecting is complex, and can be extremely expensive for the newcomer. There are several useful pieces of information the Authors learn and share, but it is too often accompanied by their observations about the people and the bookstores they patronize. The learning curve on collecting is a long one, and the dealers who take their time to instruct the novice are more prevalent than you might imagine, and it's been my experience that they ask for nothing in return. Many booksellers just love books, the fact they part with them on occasion through a sale is often almost painful for them.

So do note from this book how not to deal with people, how not to take advantage of their time and their willingness to share it, and then exploit the experience for your own profit. A book collector would never have written in the manner they chose.
This is the result of research done for a book that was written over a cup of coffee, maybe two.
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on 25 June 1997
A simply delightful romp! MUST READ for anyone who has ever collected or even thought about collecting books.

Only true bookhuggers will understand the madness but I laughed out loud! These are real people, real questions, real "been - there".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 1999
This book was an adorable memoir!! Well written, humorous, and even dropped facts about antiquarian book collecting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 1997
If you love your library and savor your books, this is a must read. Anyone interested in the basics of book collecting will learn something on every page. This is definitely for the novice (and will bring smiles to the antiquarian.) A wonderfully written, witty journey through the begining book collectors world. A quick and enjoyable read you won't put down until your finished--and then you will run to the local book store. You will never pickup a book again without looking at the copywright page!
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on 28 December 2014
an interesting book, but somewhat different to what I expected. Not a bad read though.
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