David Magee's memoir of a life spent among antiquarian books has all the dusty charm of treasures discovered in the attic, unexpected gold -- like the worthless Stephen Collin Foster sheet music he acquired as a kindness which later brought him a tidy profit. Coming from England and ""a long line of learned divines"" to San Francisco as a young man, Magee forthwith entered the book business, first as an apprentice, then as his own man, his first shop surviving the Depression years, up to the present establishment, a thriving bibliographical enterprise. Anecdotes -- sine qua non in Magee's business -- tumble out like bids at Sotheby's . . . the time he went to appraise a private collection and was greeted at the door by an immense dog which said ""Mr. Magee?"" (""Fortunately for my sanity the beast moved, revealing on its off side -- a midget"") . . . the time Yale bibliographer Stuart Sherman, then librarian at the Providence (R.I.) Public Library, placed a long distance order in the eye of a pending hurricane. People, opinions (about authors, publishers, auctions, the passing of the book scout), the pleasures of collecting (Magee has every P. G. Wodehouse first edition save one), his fondness for bric-a-brac and rapscallions -- all here. If you know the names Larry Powell (who provides an introduction), A. Edward Newton, or Rosenbach, you'll want to put this amenity in your baggage.