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Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World [Paperback]

Lawrence Goldstone , Nancy Goldstone
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 15 1998
When Nancy Goldstone bought a vintage copy of "War and Peace" to win a birthday bet with co-author Larry, the couple began their journey into the world of book collecting, meeting a hilarious cast of eccentrics along the way. Part travel story, part love story, and part memoir, this book provides a delightful love letter to book lovers everywhere.

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From Amazon

After years of competitive extravagance at birthday time, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone decided to limit themselves to $20 each, which is how they came to be in possession of a $10 definitive translation of War and Peace, complete with maps of the major battles and fold-out color illustrations. It is also how they eventually came to be the owners of a $650 edition of Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit. Used and Rare, the Goldstones' tale of the journey from point A to point B, is a joyful celebration of their love of books. Rare-book dealers are a quirky lot; while one might invite you to caress an Adventures of Tom Sawyer worth thousands, another might turn you away altogether for no apparent reason. The Goldstones' enthusiasm is infectious, and, besides offering a lesson in used-book parlance, the pair remind us that for every book there are at least two stories: the one between the covers, and the one beyond the covers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Goldstones are expatriate urbanites who fled jobs on Wall Street to live and write in the Berkshires. With a sense of adventure and fresh beginnings, they relate how they revived their life together and discovered the wonders of old books. Soon they were visiting used and rare book shops and auctions in the remote towns in the region, as well as in Boston, New York, and even as far away as Chicago. Along the way, the reader learns about the lore and minutiae of old books. As the authors flirt with collecting modern first editions, readers are treated to some of the fascinating stories of modern literature and get the insider's view of the arcane ways experts identify a first edition and decide what makes a book valuable. Readers also meet intriguing book sellers and collectors and others who inhabit the world of books. All in all, a delightful education in the book arts; recommended for public libraries.?Paul A. D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
We came to book collecting because our birthdays fall eight days apart. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gentle Madness, light, very light Aug. 28 2000
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Although not rare, this book is a treasure. Jan. 1 2002
What an uncommonly wonderful book! For bibliophiles or those that enjoy reading about a passionate quest, USED AND RARE is a delight.
This is a factual "novel" written by Larry and Nancy Goldstone relating their journey into the world of used and rare books. This is a story that began as a quest for a budget-based, inexpensive gift which ultimately turned to an exciting addiction. The inexpensive beginning was the search and purchase of a [amt] copy of Tolstoy's WAR AND PEACE, a complete translation which included maps and fold-out color illustrations. When it arrived in the mailed, the book included a business card from the bookseller which subsequently prompted the Goldstones to make their way to the bookstore on a lazy Sunday afternoon. There, they met David and Esther Kininmonth, the owners of the store. David enthralled the Goldstones with a oratory into the basics of the world of rare books, their value, illusion and mystery. It was with this visit and conversation that the Goldstone's were vaulted into a path that soon became a passionate obsession.
Now intrigued and beset with an insatiable desire for new "quarry," the Goldstones began making as many trips as possible to various East Coast cities visting antiquarian book dealers and attending book fairs and auctions. Armed with a growing knowledge of this rather obscure industry, they diligently sought out first editions, single leather-bound volumes and sets, and rare out-of-print books. Along the way, they became as fascinated with the learning process associated with procuring rare books as much as by the books themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Travel elsewhere Nov. 24 2001
As the subtitle of the book suggests, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone give us 'travels in the book world'. The story begins with the pursuit of a cheap copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace and moves gradually from local to interstate bookstores, small town auctions to big city auctions and book fairs, provincial booksellers to exclusive antiquarian dealers. Along the way, various creatures of the book world are met with and their idiosyncrasies, their virtues and their flaws, as far as these things can make themselves known to people like the Goldstones, are paraded for all to see. Some characterisations are not flattering, but the authors do not condemn outright, nor are their portraits overly unfair; some reviewers have thought otherwise, but one would not wish for sugary descriptions on every page - and the book world is the last place where one would look for normalcy. A few random explanations of book terminology are given, though the authors wisely and skillfully defer to more trusted authorities than themselves, and for that one is thankful.
I am not really sure at whom this book is aimed. The neophyte book collector may derive some enthusiasm from the stories within, urged on by someone else's successes (and failures); the more experienced bibliophile might smile at some of the authors' blunders; the seasoned book collector would probably not bother to read it. And certainly the general reader will wonder what the fuss is all about. The stories are occasionally interesting, as long as one keeps one's focus on them and not on the Goldstones. The Goldstones are not a particularly happy presence in this book. One is not really convinced of their passion for books, for book collecting, or for reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Travel along with the Goldstones Nov. 11 2001
This is the first of three books by the Goldstones about their experiences in the world of used books and book collecting. It is the most well-balanced of the series (the second and third are Slightly Chipped and Warmly Inscribed, respectively).
The Goldstones take you along with them as they learn about collecting classics and modern first editions (modern firsts being books of the twentieth/twenty-first century). Along the way you meet an array of charming (and not so charming), eccentric used booksellers and antiquarian book dealers. Also thrown into the bargain are several very entertaining digressions into the pages and authors of many classic books of the twentieth century. It managed to fill in some gaps as well as show me some new authors that I knew little or nothing about.
The writing style is effortless and informal, almost like you're listening in on one of their bookstore conversations. Anyone who loves books and enjoys trips to used bookstores will be in for a treat with this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Used and Rare
There should be a warning on this book. It is so infectious you will get the book collecting bug if you read it. Read more
Published on March 26 2006 by A. Gavritsas
1.0 out of 5 stars Books are just another "hot" collectible, I guess
This is a fun and charming narrative for those new to collecting books on the ways of the antiquarian trade -- from how books are found to how a book jacket or a quirk of printing... Read more
Published on March 14 2004 by P. Capps
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful accident
I ordered this book quite by accident and am delighted. If all accidents could be so delightful. A well-written, easy read that speaks volumes about books and the people who love... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2003 by Whalley
5.0 out of 5 stars Already a classic - A delight for lovers and booklovers
This is a fun read by the Nick and Nora Charles of book collecting. This was their initial book on the subject, a labor of love, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Read more
Published on July 13 2003 by Richard L. Pangburn
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun quick read for book lovers.
What a rich little book. It is such a fun read. It has revived my love of book shopping. My wife and I went out this past weekend to hunt for new finds. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2002 by Freddie D. Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh what fun!!
I opened this book and that was the end of me untill I turned the last page. If you love books and your not wealthy but you have pie in the sky dreams about having your own... Read more
Published on March 13 2002 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't worry, others share your madness
Used and Rare is the story of a decent in to a wonderful form of madness - the madness of book collecting. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by Megami
3.0 out of 5 stars Book-collectors' porn
This not unpleasant memoir tells the story of a yuppie couple's gradual immersion in the world of book collecting. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2001 by Zeldock
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Own for All Book Lovers!
I came across this little "gem" at my favourite bookstore (under the shelf labelled "Literary Criticism"), picked it up, started reading the first page... Read more
Published on May 22 2001 by anna-joelle
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting foray into the world of book collecting
This was the first book on Book Collecting by the Goldstones and I am glad I read them in the wrong order. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2001 by Daniel E. Wickett
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