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Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion (1997)

af Leona Rostenberg, Madeleine B. Stern

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4531040,696 (3.69)40
Louisa May Alcott once wrote that she had taken her pen for a bridegroom. Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern, friends and business partners for fifty years, have in many ways taken up their pens and passion for literature much in the same way. The "Holmes & Watson" of the rare book business, Rostenberg and Stern are renowned for unlocking the hidden secret of Louisa May Alcott's life when they discovered her pseudonym, A.M. Barnard, along with her anonymously published "blood and thunder" stories on subjects like transvestitism, hashish smoking, and feminism. Old Books, Rare Friends describes their mutual passion for books and literary sleuthing as they take us on their earliest European book buying jaunts. Using what they call Finger-spitzengefühl, the art of evaluating antiquarian books by handling, experience, and instinct, we are treated to some of their greatest discoveries amid the mildewed basements of London's booksellers after the Blitz. We experience the thrill of finding one of the earliest known books printed in America between 1617-1619 by the Pilgrim Press and learn about the influential role of publisher-printers from the fifteenth century. Like a precious gem, Old Books, Rare Friends is a book to treasure about the companionship of two rare friends and their shared passion for old books.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 10 (næste | vis alle)
This book promised more than it delivered. It was written by two women who had been friends since girlhood in the early 1900's. Now in their 80's, they began their dual memoir by describing (in alternating chapters) their families, their childhood, and how they met. The reader learns how they became interested in the rare book business, and how that business operated then and now. In addition to the many rare books uncovered in dusty bookshops, attics, and barns, one of them discovers that the highly respected children's author Louisa May Alcott wrote lurid "blood and thunder" novels under a pen name.

Why was I disappointed in this memoir, and why did it take so long to finish reading? I can't really put my finger on "why" unless it was their pedestrian writing style. About a quarter of the way through it began to drag, but every so often the story would pick up when they described their bargain finds (I love discovering treasure in thrift shops and at garage sales). It was enough to keep me reading and hoping for improvement, and then I felt obligated to finish it because these two women had written it with the best of intentions. Ironically, I found this like-new copy in a thrift shop for $2.50. It was autographed by both authors, and included a bookmark advertising their book. ( )
  PhyllisReads | Apr 27, 2019 |
Great book. Enjoyed there adventures in the book world. ( )
  lemonpop | Nov 22, 2017 |
A biography of two real characters! I would never have imagined that I would find a book about two old ladies who I had never heard of so unputdownable. I enjoyed this book about books so much that I started searching out the author's other books and found not all of them so well written or enjoyable as this one. I couldn't even slog through the first chapter of [b:The Life of Margaret Fuller: A Revised, Second Edition|2330119|The Life of Margaret Fuller A Revised, Second Edition (Contributions in Women's Studies)|Madeleine B. Stern|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266736738s/2330119.jpg|2336683]. ( )
  R0BIN | Apr 27, 2013 |
A biography of two real characters! I would never have imagined that I would find a book about two old ladies who I had never heard of so unputdownable. I enjoyed this book about books so much that I started searching out the author's other books and found not all of them so well written or enjoyable as this one. I couldn't even slog through the first chapter of [b:The Life of Margaret Fuller: A Revised, Second Edition|2330119|The Life of Margaret Fuller A Revised, Second Edition (Contributions in Women's Studies)|Madeleine B. Stern|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266736738s/2330119.jpg|2336683]. ( )
  R0BIN | Apr 27, 2013 |
This was a somewhat dry but sweet look at a lasting platonic (as both ladies point out!) friendship based on their love of books and scholarly pursuits. Madeleine and Leona take turns telling their story about their life in books.

Madeleine Stern was a teacher and author who loved doing research for the biographies she wrote. She had heard some rumors about Louisa May Alcott when she was working on a book about her. With a little detective work, she discovered that Alcott followed in the footsteps of her heroine Jo March and wrote some "blood and thunder" tales that helped pay the bills. This was my favorite part of the book as the mystery unfolded: "...Louisa May Alcott had indeed produced a corpus of deviational narratives. She might have hidden the details of her double literary life, but she had scattered through her letters and her journals and even in Little Women itself a plethora of clues. I needed to don my deerstalker, take up my magnifying glass, and embark on the hunt." (117)

Leona Rostenberg had her own literary adventure when she discovered the serialized installments of Charles Dickens' Master Humphrey's Clock scattered around a barn when she was looking for books to sell in her fledgling rare books business. She bought these mouse-chewed papers for sixty cents at the auction she was attending.

Madeleine was growing tired of teaching and decided to join her best friend in the antiquarian book store. They spent much of their time traveling around to find books, including a poignant journey to post-war Europe. They thrived in each other's company pursuing their passion for books. This was an enlightening joint autobiography and one that most bibliophiles would enjoy reading. ( )
1 stem Donna828 | Jul 31, 2012 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Rostenberg, Leonaprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Stern, Madeleine B.hovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Liedtke, ChristianOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
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To Madeleine with love and gratitude from Leona
To Leona with gratitude and love from Madeleine
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Early one morning in September 1995, the telephone rang.
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Louisa May Alcott once wrote that she had taken her pen for a bridegroom. Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern, friends and business partners for fifty years, have in many ways taken up their pens and passion for literature much in the same way. The "Holmes & Watson" of the rare book business, Rostenberg and Stern are renowned for unlocking the hidden secret of Louisa May Alcott's life when they discovered her pseudonym, A.M. Barnard, along with her anonymously published "blood and thunder" stories on subjects like transvestitism, hashish smoking, and feminism. Old Books, Rare Friends describes their mutual passion for books and literary sleuthing as they take us on their earliest European book buying jaunts. Using what they call Finger-spitzengefühl, the art of evaluating antiquarian books by handling, experience, and instinct, we are treated to some of their greatest discoveries amid the mildewed basements of London's booksellers after the Blitz. We experience the thrill of finding one of the earliest known books printed in America between 1617-1619 by the Pilgrim Press and learn about the influential role of publisher-printers from the fifteenth century. Like a precious gem, Old Books, Rare Friends is a book to treasure about the companionship of two rare friends and their shared passion for old books.

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