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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 22 May 2008
If you think your vinyl addition is bad then read this book and know you are not alone! There is some comfort in that and as Milano talks to many vinyl junkies (some famous like Peter Buck of REM and Robert Crumb, and others not) you will easily recognize yourself having at least one, if not quite a few of the same compulsions. I have to confess, when I read about guys living with 10,000 LP's etc, the thought did cross my mind " There but for the grace..." etc, but I only have to look at my room crowded out by LP's to know I've easily got it just as bad (and I only have maybe 600! and growing). This book is a fun read. The writing is to the point. It stays off the frivilous 'lists' and so on and keeps to its base covering all the types of collectors and types of collections you probably knew existed but never would have guessed the depths and passions of ...(the Olivia Newton John completist for example!). Besides, any book on vinyl that can spend a paragraph on the feel of pulling mint vinyl out for the very first time from its inner sleeve gets my vote.
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on 9 January 2014
This book is about, record collectors, the act of record collecting and the general love for music both mainstream, obscure and just down right freaky. For the music fan this is Mills & Boon reading. For those related or taken on the challenge of a partner who is a record collector an insight into the mind of your loved one.

The books tries to explain the passion of collecting from many different perspectives, through the eyes of collectors (some famous - like Peter Buck (of REM fame), Robert Crumb (cartoonist) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), others not so famous but equally obsessed. From a psychologist point of view - clinical (relationship to low sertraline) to psychotherapy. As a result we get discussions about the sensuality of vinyl and wonderful quotes like "CDs are like sex with a condom".

We explore the kinds of collecting that go on - from types of records - old pre-war 78s, 1st issues of records, special prints like shaped coloured vinyl, those quickly taken out of circulation through to records that just seem to be rare and then the plain odd like albums commissioned by Listerine (the mouthwash) advocating the product's wonders to people thinking they're going to make it big putting out just tuneless oddities, to the child like contributions like Sammy Squirrel Teaches the Multiplication Tables (Which apparently has a publisher's address on the cover of The Metaphysical Motivational institute, Drawer 400, Ruidoso, NM) and psychotic wonders such as "Sit on My Face, Stevie Nicks" by the Rotters and Naughty Rock 'n' Roll by the P-Verts or maybe various artists on the Sugar Tits Label.

As the book progresses we get a chance to be taken on an exploration of the validity of the portrayal of collector/obsessive music fan portrayed in Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity by the character Rob Gordon (portrayed by John Cusack in Stephen Frears' cinematic adaptation); music collectors are geeky single men that can't sustain a relationship etc.

The book is however 10 years old - and sadly doesn't reflect how the rise in Mp3s has impacted. As everything get ripped and becomes for ever available (legally or illegally) on the web, what is happening to the passion of the hunt for the mysterious, weird and rare? Who knows, but its fun hearing the stories.
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on 19 September 2012
This not a page turner ....but there's always something that keeps you hanging on. In some chapters the eyes start to glaze over - but then there's a chapter such as the one about Jim Labatt from the BBC that is rivetting! ..and then you know you're not alone - and that you're not the worst by a long way! If you collect records then you'll recognise much in this and feel a warm glow.. although there are chunks that are like wading through treacle. Fewers words and more storytelling would help. Worth buying if you see it cheap.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2010
See, this is how bad I am. I thought this was a great book, but it would have been even better if it had colour photographs of all the record collections. Not each album cover, just all the spines and the shelves they were on. In fact, if somebody published a book that was just photographs of the rooms people kept their records in, I'd buy it. If you understand that, (and some people will) you'll like this book, an examination of various obsessive record oollectors, some famous and some not. it's a brief but informative and rewarding read. I'd have liked it more if it was 4 times as long, bigger being better. (As every record collector knows).
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on 12 November 2010
This book would need very heavy editing from the publisher and much more working-hours from the author.
Sure it has some good stories, but to few. If they had cut it down to 50 pages it would had been a great, but thin book. This kind of book simply can't have 80% of landfill. Brett Milano should have interviewed mush more collectors to find the truly interesting stories. I's a subject that interest the author and the record collectors and there is many great stories out there, so the book had potential, but it seems as the publisher and the author took a short-cut to save time and money.
Nowadays anybody can browse trough forums at the internet to find good short stories about record-collecting for free, but it takes time. So does reading a book full of "landfill". The point of this kind of book would be to sort out the gems from the dirt, the truly interesting stories, and present them in professional way. Otherwise it would only be a rip-off of the buyers time and money.
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A very entertaining read, not too taxing, and not too involved. so it doesn't lose your interest.

This is an achievement for two reasons. 1. The author is American (and I'm not) so the book is very US-slanted, although there is a small piece relating to the UK. 2. By its nature, the book deals primarily with obscurities - that's what makes collectors foam at the mouth. It is difficult to understand the excitement felt by a collector over a 1930s blues record which sold only a handful, and which the collector has no intention of playing - UNLESS YOU'VE BEEN THERE!!

..and that's what makes the book. If you've been there, you'll "get it". If not, you might just think we're all nutters, but you'll still enjoy reading about us.

Now can someone rise to the challenge and produce a (decent) UK equivalent??
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on 8 July 2010
I've just finished reading this and despite Brett Milano being an excellent writer (it never was boring) i've a few issues with the book, some minor some major. I must admit i was surprised it was only A5 sized as i'd imagined (my error) it was going to be an A4 edition, probably the cover art had me believing it would be vinyl sized!! Staying with art, it really needed some photos of either the collections themselves or at least some of the records, preferably both.
As a psychological exploration of why people actually "collect" it was very enlightening and as a collector myself it certainly threw some new light onto the subject and made me think differently about the reasons why people, including myself, become obsessive. However i did find the musical element of the book somewhat snobby (possibly the nature of the beast) and the first half of the book was very heavy on extremely obscure American blues/psychedelia/78's and even shellac. I have no problem with this music, and any other for that matter, being included but it was certainly top heavy in that area and many other genres seemed to be excluded or even ridiculed e.g Styx/REO Speedwagon and Peter Frampton were used as derogatory examples of what not to collect and although i'm not a fan of any of these (although Frampton Comes Alive wasn't bad) i do feel that they have as much merit/kudos as a lot of the people lauded in the book.
However that aside it was still a very interesting read and i'd recommend anyone starting on a collecting career to read this as soon as possible to see where they might end up?
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on 17 October 2014
Not what i expected. The book is a rambling mess of intertwined stories about record and shops.
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on 13 January 2014
Loved it!
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