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The Pope's Bookbinder: A Memoir

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
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 wellwho lusts after them, lives in them, mainlines themDavid Mason s memoir will be a fix from heaven. Heartful, cantankerous, droll, his tales of honour and obsession in the trade gra
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 17th 2013 by Biblioasis (first published January 1st 2013)
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Aug 02, 2013 Christina rated it really liked it
I happily closed this book with the feeling I'd learned something about a business I'd never thought about, or cared to know.

While Mason sometimes comes off to me a bit self-righteous, his stories and anecdotes made me smile more than once. Again, he reminds me how sad it is that independent bookstores are closing rapidly, and even the giants must sell giftware, accessories and housewares to turn a profit.

The writing could use a bit more polishing, and there is one instance in which he describes
If you ever wanted to learn what life in the antiquarian book trade is all about, this is your book.
Aug 26, 2015 Drew rated it it was ok
After reading the Washington Post’s review of this book, I decided to get it from our local library. Flush with a gift card, I bought my own copy. I wish I had waited to get it from the library, and also wish that the library had lost it before I got to pick it up. I found that David Mason’s memoir had some very good advice and some fun stories, but these were outweighed by his arrogance, sexism and elitism. While reviewing my notes before writing this review, I felt a little bad at having given ...more
Steven Buechler
Sep 05, 2013 Steven Buechler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There has been plenty of times that a book lover has gone into a bookstore and wondered about the individual that is sitting behind the till. Is that person the owner of this wonderful location the owner or just a clerk? Is that person a fellow book lover or and cankerous individual out to make a buck? Is that person minding with trepidation what we are doing between their shelves or are they quietly welcoming the company to this magical realm? For those of us who spent time shopping for books ...more
Dec 27, 2013 Gregory rated it really liked it
In spite of the title, the book is really the memoirs of a used (or antiquarian) bookseller, based in Toronto for many years. I read bookseller memoirs as a genre, and this one is pretty good. The author outlines his early life, making the reader wonder whether he will ever straighten himself out and become a bookseller, as promised on the jacket. It is interesting to see how a ne'er do well turned himself around and became a successful businessperson. He emphasizes how little he knew at the ...more
Aug 19, 2013 Grant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gladly bought Mason's memoir from having read his immensely entertaining columns in Canadian Notes and Queries (many of which are reprinted or revised). While the transition to a full length work could have used some editing, especially as my interest waned by the end, it's a highly engaging and realistic look into the dramatic world of antiquarian bookselling in Canada. Don't let the jacket copy fool you, however - there's very limited mention of the Pope, drugs or William Burroughs. Rather ...more
Andrea Huehnerhoff
Jun 13, 2013 Andrea Huehnerhoff rated it liked it
Just finished reading a trade cloth version of the book, and once my review is live on I will share it here. This book will make a fascinating, one-of-a-kind read for students of literature and book collection. Not only is it educating in and of itself, it is packed with fascinating stories of the antiquarian book trade and the bookselling underground.

I gave it three stars because the writing was not as fully polished as I would have liked; this may have been because it was a
Washington Post
Jul 09, 2013 Washington Post rated it really liked it
Don’t be misled by the title: These aren’t the reflections of a devout Benedictine who has spent decades creating blind-stamped vellum missals for his Holiness. David Mason is, in fact, one of Canada’s most respected antiquar­ian booksellers. His absorbing memoir might be summed up by a button I recently acquired: “Life? Of course I have a life. It’s a life filled with books.”
Alexandra Yarrow
Very interesting book with some wonderful and colourful anecdotes. Mason's passion for the bookselling trade and the profession of book collecting was palpable; unfortunately, I was also left with the impression (I hope it is false) that he was somewhat of a misogynist.
Apr 25, 2014 Susanne rated it really liked it
Lots of fun. Reveals many stories of life in the book trade in Toronto. Informative and useful for those "in the business".
Sharon Metcalf
Dec 09, 2015 Sharon Metcalf marked it as to-read
only put this on my list after looking up the name of a guy who wrote a beautiful article about Australia....which I saw on FB. No urgency to read it but it may fit a reading challenge category?
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