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Pope's Book Binder, The -- A Memoir

Mason, David

70 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1927428173 / ISBN 13: 9781927428177
Published by Biblioasis, Windsor, Ontario, 2013
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Books First (Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

A totally absorbing account by a man described as "a giant" in the trade of antiquarian bookselling. It involves high stakes, encyclopedic knowledge, daring and creativity and much more. An unusual and compelling book. This is an UNREAD copy, in AS NEW condition. First edition (stated). Bookseller Inventory # 131112

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Pope's Book Binder, The -- A Memoir

Publisher: Biblioasis, Windsor, Ontario

Publication Date: 2013

Binding: Hardcover

Illustrator: B & W photos

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


"Entertaining, moving, informative, intelligently hopeful: I know of few other books like this one to warm the cockles of a booklover's heart." Alberto Manguel

"For anyone who loves books too well who lusts after them, lives in them, mainlines them David Mason’s memoir will be a fix from heaven. Heartful, cantankerous, droll, his tales of honour and obsession in the trade gratify the very book-love they portray. An irresistible read." Dennis Lee

"An atmospheric, informative memoir by a Canadian seller of used and rare books ... Gossipy, rambling and enchanting, alive with Mason’s love for books of every variety." Kirkus Reviews

From his drug-hazy, book-happy years near the Beat Hotel in Paris and throughout his career as antiquarian book dealer, David Mason brings us a storied life. He discovers his love of literature in a bathtub at age eleven, thumbing through stacks of lurid Signet paperbacks. At fifteen he’s expelled from school. For the next decade and a half, he will work odd jobs, buck all authority, buy books more often than food, and float around Europe. He’ll help gild a volume in white morocco for Pope John XXIII. And then, at the age of 30, after returning home to Canada and apprenticing with Joseph Patrick Books, David Mason will find his calling.

Over the course of what is now a legendary international career, Mason shows unerring instincts for the logic of the trade. He makes good money from Canadian editions, both legitimate and pirated (turns out Canadian piracies so incensed Mark Twain that he moved to Montreal for six months to gain copyright protection). He outfoxes the cousins of L.M. Montgomery at auction and blackmails the head of the Royal Ontario Museum. He excoriates the bureaucratic pettiness that obstructs public acquisitions, he trumpets the ingenuity of collectors and scouts, and in archives around the world he appraises history in its unsifted and most moving forms. Above all, however, David Mason boldly campaigns for what he feels is the moral duty of the antiquarian trade: to preserve the history and traditions of all nations, and to assert without compromise that such histories have value.

Sly, sparkling, and endearingly gruff, The Pope's Bookbinder is an engrossing memoir by a giant in the book trade whose infectious enthusiasm, human insight, commercial shrewdness, and deadpan humour will delight bibliophiles for decades to come.

From the Back Cover:

From his drug-hazy, book-happy years at the Beat Hotel in Spain to his present career as one of Canada's foremost antiquarian book dealers, David Mason has led a storied life - and whether he's crashed out on William Burroughs' floor or gilding a white morocco for Pope John XXIII, Mason's humor and industry expertise is everywhere apparent. A must-read memoir for bibliophiles.

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