My Kingdom of Books Hardcover – 20 May 1999
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If you love life, eccentrics and second-hand books, this book is for you. Even if you don't, buy it anyway. -- Ian Skidmore, Daily Post
Top Customer Reviews
Booth would probably concede that he is an abrasive personality with a planet-sized ego (no disadvantage for success in business), and this autobiography is an entertaining romp through the roller-coaster of his first 40 years in the book trade. The book was published shortly after his serious illness, and much has changed in Hay since then; Booth no longer owns the Castle or his flagship bookshop (though it still bears his name, it now has an upmarket café in its courtyard), and ebooks and Internet trading have caused a few bookshops to close.
Booth devotes plenty of space to his main hobbyhorses: fighting bureaucracy and big business, his long-running feud with rival Leon Morelli, and his antipathy to the Hay Festival (though he grudgingly concedes that the Festival isn’t all bad). He also goes into detail about his many trips to the USA to reap rich benefits from the downscaling and closure of many academic libraries, and his campaign to establish other booktowns in the rest of the UK and in Europe (in which activity he, not surprisingly, usually shows better judgment than the locals...).
Booth has a soft spot for other eccentrics, in which Hay once abounded (I doubt this applies now; last time I went it had been greatly yuppified); one of many he mentions is Lucy, the celebrated landlady of the Three Tuns; I went there during her reign, and it was a pub that time had passed by, but it is now a gastropub.Read more ›
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