SLIGHTLY CHIPPED by Lawrence Goldstone


Footnotes in Booklore
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Slightly Chipped is the second volume of book collecting anecdotes by the husband-and-wife team the Goldstones (Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World, 1997). While their first effort was praised as “passionate,” its companion conveys more of an excitement about the chase and chance of possession than a true love for the books as literature. In ten brief chapters, the Goldstones take us on a journey through book fairs, bookstores, museums, libraries, and Sotheby’s. Throughout, they try continuously to make great stories of every detail, from what they eat for supper at the restaurant across the street to various people they meet. Some of their subjects are more interesting than others. The chapter on a visit to the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia cannot help but be intriguing; the building itself and its contents—a fabulous book collection included—are a little-known gem, and thanks to the Goldstones, it will probably welcome more visitors than ever. Perhaps, too, the Pequot Library annual sale in a small coastal town in Connecticut will be visited by curious readers. But much of the writing here is too preoccupied with the financial transaction of the book collecting habit—prices and resale value. Whereas the authors would once have hemmed and hawed (like most of us) before coughing up over $200 for a book, they are “much more sophisticated now.” One hopes that the missing passion might be found in the “footnotes” referred to in the title. But the authors disappoint by backing their reporting with redundant histories of subjects ranging from Bloomsbury to the duke and duchess of Windsor. A drab and simultaneously fussy but conversational prose style does not enliven the situation. Rather than pulling the uninitiated into the exciting and beautiful world of book collecting, the Goldstones are writing here for the converted.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-20587-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999


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