Marginal Notes 14: Book trade memoirs

Marginal Notes 14: Book trade memoirs

Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

On Friday last week I received in the mail a copy of Guarded by Dragons: Encounters with Rare Books and Rare People, inscribed to me by its author, Rick Gekoski, who had promised to send it during his recent visit to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament.

Rick’s life as a rare book dealer can be described as simply amazing, with its heights and highlights leaving one in awe of his ability to search for and to find treasure and to know, intuitively, where it is best placed – whether with private collectors, the book trade or in institutional repositories. It is through having had the pleasure of dealing with Rick on several occasions and the enjoyment of his company during his rare visits to Melbourne, that I have experienced firsthand his wealth of knowledge of books and people, his generosity of spirit and his honesty as a dealer.

I read Guarded by Dragons over the weekend in an uncharacteristically short time frame for me and I was left with both the urge to immediately start to reread Rick’s earlier book Tolkien’s Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books and to also proceed to read (and reread) many of the book trade memoirs in my reference library.

This is one of the great benefits of reading – one book or subject leads the reader to so many other authors and topics, rather like a long and winding road along which to happily travel.