Sixpence House

Sixpence House

Lost in A Town of Books

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
A bibliophile shares his and his family's experiences as citizens of Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh village known as the "Town of Books" that boasts 1,500 inhabitants and forty antiquarian bookstores.

Blackwell North Amer

A bibliophile's pilgrimage to where book lovers go when they die-Hay-on-Wye.

Paul Collins and his family abandoned the hills of San Francisco to move to the Welsh countryside-to move, in fact, to the little cobblestone village of Hay-on-Wye, the 'Town of Books' that boasts fifteen hundress inhabitants-and forty bookstores. Antiquarian bookstores, no less.

Hay's newest citizens accordingly take up residence in a sixteenth-century apartment over a bookstore, meeting the village's large population of misfits and bibliomaniacs by working for world-class eccentric Richard Booth-the self-declared King of Hay, owner of the local castle, and proprietor of the world's largest and most chaotic used book warren. A useless clerk, Paul delights in shifting dusty stacks of books around and sifting them for ancient gems like Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable, Confessions of an Author's Wife, and I Was Hitler's Maid. He also duly fulfills his new duty as a citizen by simultaneously applying to be a Peer in the House of Lords and attempting to buy Sixpence House, a beautiful and neglected old tumbledown pub for sale in the town's center.

Taking readers into a secluded sanctuary for book lovers, and guiding us through the creation of his own book, Sixpence House becomes a meditation on what books means to us, and how their meaning can still resonate long after they have been abandoned by their public. Even as he's writing, the knowledge of where his work will eventually end up-rubbing bindings with the rest of the books that time forgot-is a curious kind of comfort.

& Taylor

A bibliophile shares his and his family's experiences as the citizens of Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh village known as the "Town of Books" that boasts 1,500 inhabitants and forty antiquarian bookstores. 40,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2003
ISBN: 9781582342849
Branch Call Number: BIO Collins COL
Characteristics: 246 p. ;,22 cm.


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Oct 05, 2012

Sixpence House by Paul Collins is a rambling reflection on his life, books and the time the family spent in the fascinating town of books, Hay-on-Wye. I was looking forward to this book hoping for a nice comfortable story of how he and his family set off from America and found their true home in this small Welsh town. Unfortunately I had my expectations raised a little high as this was not the book I read. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this book, there were some interesting tidbits, but they are scattered and you must wade through a lot of useless, trivial detail to get to them.

At times he rants against all things American and perhaps with a view to equal time, he then turns and rants against all things British. This pointing of fingers at these two countries to me felt very mean-spirited. He writes of his love of this particular town, but I never felt that love in these pages.

Overall I found Sixpence House to be a little too disjointed and cerebral for me. I would love to visit Hay-on-Wye as I am sure it is a delightful place, especially for book lovers but I certainly don’t feel like I was able to get a clear picture from this book.

Jun 08, 2011

This is a very fun read, especially for bibliophiles! What an adventure it would be to live in this town with 1,500 residents and 40 bookstores!

Sep 02, 2010

A quirky, charming book. First half was delightful. It falters a bit in second half, but I still highly recommend it to anyone who is a book lover.

will look for more books by this author, less autobiographical.

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