Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund
Young Adult Fiction
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author
Children and Books
Links For Book Lovers
Post on Bulletin Board
View Bulletin Board
I don't review books I don't like!
*****= An all-time favorite
Lost in a Town of Books
by Paul Collins
Reviewed October 26, 2004.
Bloomsbury, New York, 2003. 246 pages.
Available at Sembach Library.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #5, Personal Stories and Reflections
There’s no question about it. The book Sixpence House has made me want to go spend at least a week in Hay-on-Wye, a town in Wales.
“Hay-on-Wye, you see, is The Town of Books. This is because it has fifteen hundred inhabitants, five churches, four grocers, two newsagents, one post office . . . and forty bookstores. Antiquarian bookstores, no less. And they are in antiquarian buildings: there are scarcely any buildings in Hay proper that are under a hundred years old; not many, even, that are under two hundred years old. There are easily several million books secreted away in these stores and in outlying barns around the town; thousands of books for every man, woman, child, and sheepdog.”
Paul Collins and his wife and small son set out to move to Hay-on-Wye as he was finishing writing his first book. The story of that adventure makes for enchanting reading for any lover of books. Paul Collins has a fascination with old books that no one reads any more, so his prose is peppered with surprisingly delightful tidbits from authors long-dead and, one would have thought, long-unread.
He gets a job in Hay, as an expert in American literature, supposedly organizing the American books for the bookstores of the “King of Hay.” Meanwhile, the Collinses have trouble finding a home and learn that the whole process is very different in Britain than in America.
The complete book is a delightful meditation on reading, writing, and the sheer solid long-lasting nature of books. Book-lovers, writers, and anyone who’s ever dreamed of moving to a small town in Britain, will all enjoy this book. And the chapter titles are as charming as A. A. Milne’s.
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All