Booked By Fate
This 335-page account covers 45 years in the life of an antiquarian bookman who got into the trade by accident. It features friends and detractors, benefactors and malefactors, and an assortment of fascinating characters met along the way: the leaping priest whose invitation to Italy to purchase books from his library was enticing—until he refused access to his shelves; the pungent residents of a crumbling house who had shag carpeting and a pet goose—but who also had handsome, hidden-away treasures in the form of early technological treatises; the apiarist who paid for Bibles with honey—and gold; and the dowager who outlived four wealthy husbands but slept on just half a bed—the other half being occupied by a group of her favorite volumes. Those in the know will nod their heads in recognition at some of the scenes and episodes in "Booked by Fate" and will surely know some of the featured players (there is an index to help). And those who read as part of an effort to know more about the world of rare books will find the volume the source of information and insight as well as the diverting story of personal struggle and adventure.