Slightly Chipped*: *Footnotes in Booklore, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone
This is one of those fun books about the joys of antiquarian book-collecting. The Goldstones find their entertainment in going on day trips to book dealers or book fairs, and buying beautiful first editions that they just can't resist. They are not wealthy, but they do give the impression of having boundless leisure for browsing in bookshops.
There are humorous descriptions of book dealers and book sales, a section on mysteries, and a fascinating story about Cudjo, a Jamaican rebel hero. Just a nice mix of stories like that.
Because the copy I read was a hardback in brand-new condition, I thought this was a pretty recent book, but it turned out to have been published in 1999. It has an extensive chapter on the brand-new phenomenon of online book dealing, and how to enter this new world. Why would anybody want to buy a book without inspecting it first? Will Amazon take over the used-book world and jack prices up? And so on.
There is an odd chapter about the auction of the effects of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor -- that is, the ex-King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson -- billed as the greatest love story of the 20th century (!), but still not staged in London because the British haven't quite forgiven them yet. Anyway, I learned fun new-to-me facts like that Mohammed Al-Fayed (father of Dodi, who was boyfriend to Princess Diana) owned all this stuff, having bought it up the first time it was sold off. Weird.
I wondered if the Goldstones had written more books, and it looks like they wrote three of these 'joys of book-finding' books. More recently, Nancy Goldstone has written several books of medieval history, most of which were already on my wishlist.
A fun read, quite light, which makes book-collecting attractive -- though not to me personally. I have no ambitions to own first editions. But I'm glad somebody appreciates them.