Tuesday, September 20, 2005

You Would Find Me Hanging from the Ceiling

One of the magazines I enjoy most each month is The Rare Book Review. Unlike so many of the magazines and journals in the antiquarian book world, The Rare Book Review avoids cheap political posturing ("George Bush hates rare books!") and doesn't take every opportunity to turn a book review into a Valentine card to all things liberal. I have no doubt many, if not most, of its contributers tilt left, but they still put out a fine publication that deserves wider attention here in the USA. The Rare Book Review is not, I hasten to add, only for those who collect or covet rare editions. Those who cherish the history of books, printing, and the library will benefit greatly from this glossy, classy magazine. Formerly called "The Antiquarian Book Review," I wonder if the change to a simpler title wasn't an attempt to broaden its readership. Sort of like changing HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE to HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (A silly change, as "sorcerer" is more controversial).

In the latest issue to come stateside (RBR is published in the UK) Jeremy Paxman recounts why he is unsuitable to open this year's London Book Fair. A collector of Graham Green first editions, Paxman "left the bath running upstairs, and they were all completely ruined."

I have to disagree. If you lost a collection of Graham Green first editions, and you can still joke about it at the London Book Fair, you are exactly the kind of person that should open the fair.

Me? I'd be suicidal.


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