Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Thanks to the strong recommendation of Citizen Reader, I picked up the Bookshopper over the weekend. The author, Murray Browne, has lived a life of books, as a reader, a book reviewer and most important to this book, as a person who shops for books. If you are the sort of person who longs for a few spare hours to wander unrushed through a bookshop looking for just the thing, you will enjoy this book.

The book is discursive, hopping from topics like the unpleasant nature of bookstore owners, the books that indicate whether a store is worth perusing, giving used books as gifts, how to arrange books and how to dispose of them. The essays are short, so if you find your interest waning, you can skip ahead, as Browne even advises you to do in his preface (titled About the Author)

Throughout the book, he has little asides about favorite books and authors and how they have influenced him. He mentions one called Heroes in Blue and Gray, which he says isn't necessarily great, but was important in making books come alive for him. I have a similar experience with An Album of Dinosaurs. You can see examples of the amazing pictures from the book at The Haunted Closet. This book enraptured me as a child and I was thrilled to see that my parents kept my copy allowing me to give it to my kids. Powells has a few copies, go get one!

I enjoyed this book as it made me think about my own relationship with books and I liked hearing about Browne's. There are some practical things, like the defense of giving used books as well. I am perfectly happy to get a used book as a gift, if it is well chosen, but I fear looking like a cheapskate if I give one. Browne helped talk me through that.


christa @ mental foodie said...

This sounds like an interesting book - I think I'll add it to my TBR!

Brack said...

T - You musn't feel squeamish about bestowing a used book. I recently foisted upon a recuperating Austin, without the slightest bit of embarrasment or remorse, a gently (and I do mean gently) used copy of The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rythms of History. He professed to be thrilled to receive it.

Tripp said...

Ah, well he is quite lucky to receive such a book. And you are fine to give it.

Citizen Reader said...

You liked it! I'm so glad!
No problem with giving used books. If you keep an eye out for the high-quality and clean ones, they're virtually indistinguishable from new books anyway. They work particularly well for kids' gifts--a lot of times used kids' books are multiple copies that parents are just trying to get rid of (doesn't every parent/kid receive more Dr. Seuss than they can ever get through?) and have never been read or opened. The only used books I wouldn't buy are board books--those are meant more as baby chew toys than as books anyway so I'd steer clear.

Do consider looking at Paul Dry's other books. He's an interesting and eclectic publisher. Did you ever read "The Rocky Stories"? AWESOME.

Tripp said...

So true about the board books, they can be a little gross.

Ok, I read "Rocky Stories" and thought can that be a book about stories regarding the Stallone movie? So it is, but I have to say the cover looks awesome. I will check it out.

Citizen Reader said...

Yeah, board books. I always gagged a little bit when people checked them out of the library. If you're committed to giving your baby board books I think you just have to bite the bullet and buy two or three of them, keep them for your baby, then throw them out. Library board books. Blech!!

Rocky Stories is all about the people who go to run up the steps that Rocky runs up in the first movie; it has very little to do with the movie itself. The stories are interesting and the photography's fantastic. I hope you enjoy it!

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

This sounds great! And I am just now looking for recommendations for books about books because I want to sign up for the "Bibliophilic Book Challenge" that is based on that idea.

Also -- thanks for including Rose City reader on your blogroll!

Tripp said...

You're welcome. Good luck with the challenge.