Ciara's Reviews > A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter
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's review
Jan 25, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: autobio-memoir, read-in-2009
Recommended for: science fiction super-nerds, swotty book collectors, guys in ascots who claim to have read "ulysses"
Read in January, 2009

this john baxter character grew up in australia & got really into sci-fi in the 40s, when he was still a kid. & true to the form of just about every nerdy kid who gets into sci-fi, he becomes a book-ish type who is really obsessed with the minutiae of his particular interest. he grows up & spends some time working on the railroad in australia, bringing books with him to various rural outposts, trying to find the time to visit his local sci-fi discussion club, penning the occasional story for the pulp magazines, & this enters him into the world of book collecting for serious business. eventually he quits the railroad, graduates to more mainstream literature, moves to europe, & gets really serious about books. my favorite parts about this book were the occasional detailed stories about finding an especially awesome collectible, like the issue of gertrude stein's "transitions" magazine at a roanoake trunk sale. but there was so much ridiculous shit in here about, "then i was working for this porn magazine, & we decided to get into making porn movies, & we went to this meeting with a big porn director, & there were these glassy-eyed women there in short skirts, & then we had a big orgy...haha, i am a super-stud." no, you're a sci-fi nerd. i worked in the genre room at powell's, okay? & not only that, i curated the erotica section in the genre room at powell's. i can spot a sexually frustrated nerd who thinks he is somehow erotically precocious at 200 yards. they tend to be pasty, musty, & totally not sexy. way to bone some drugged porn stars. what an incredible sexual accomplishment. he also writes in too much detail about the circumstances under which he & his third wife conceived their first child. i bet his kid is really looking forward to growing up & reading that. at the end of the day, as much as i like books, this book kind of reminded me of everything i didn't like about working at powell's & being surrounded by slavering book nerds all day long. way too much kingsley amis, way too much self-satisfied snobbishness over something that less than 1% of the world's population gives a fuck about, way too much detail that reminded me of the kid who came into powell's every time i was scheduled for an info shift to inquire after new "dr. who" books & then stare at me from behind the nebula award winners shelf. yuck.

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