By the 1960s a copy of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about #500. But with its dust jacket more like #2,000 - if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at #50,000. Brighton Rock was a high-point, but first editions of other early Greene books weren't much less ...Read MoreBy the 1960s a copy of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about #500. But with its dust jacket more like #2,000 - if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at #50,000. Brighton Rock was a high-point, but first editions of other early Greene books weren't much less valuable. And then there were signed copies, foreign printings, limited editions, numbered and signed... rare copy of Greene's children's book The Little Horse Bus while browsing in a second-hand market in Swiss Cottage. It was going for 5p. It would also, fortuitously, be the day that he first encountered one of the legends of the bookselling world: Martin Stone. At various times cokehead, pothead, alchoholic, international fugitive from justice and professional rock musician (said to knock Eric Clapton into a cocked hat), he would become John's mentor and friend, and a central figure in this book. us to his world, the world of the fanatical book collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auction and takes away the booty in bubble wrap to store in metal filing cabinets - but also the sleuth, the one who uses bluff and guile to hunt down his quarry. Along the way we meet a cast of eccentric characters like Driff Field who only collects books about suicide or by writers who have killed themselves; we meet the completists, the condition freaks, the rich and famous - from Barry Humphries and Harvey Weinstein to Sarah Michelle Gellar. This is a book with real word-of-mouth potential that literary editors will go weak at the knees for; booksellers will bask in and the literati will adore.Read Less
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Having just moved my personal library 1500 miles (which took three trips, using an old, gutted, Silver Streak trailer) the title was appealing and intriguing. The author presents an entertaining and enlightening glimpse into his literary life, rather than bemoan a pile-up of unread titles, which made me appreciate my collection all the more.
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