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David Batterham: Among Booksellers

David Batterham: Among Booksellers
For thirty five years  bookseller David Batterham has been making buying trips abroad and  describing his adventures in letters to artist Howard Hodgkin. He was looking for trade catalogues , fashion magazines and  other illustrated journals but his colleagues  interest him almost as much, seen in their homes and shops.  The  visitable bookseller, a vanishing breed, is here immortalised.

His stories from France, Spain, Portugal, America, Denmark, Holland, and Finland begin in August 1970 and continue until January 2006. Describing his daily activities, conversations he had with acquaintances along the way, his plans for seeing new shops and buying books the letters encompass Batterham's entire travelling and book-buying experience. He wrote mostly during the evenings when the shops were closed, many times in a local café with a drink in hand. His mission was to collect books that "one can enjoy without having to read". As he didn't have a shop, he worked on the theory that if he only bought things he liked himself, he would eventually find enough catalogue customers who shared his tastes.

Part diary, part memoir, David Batterham’s book “Among Booksellers” presents interesting insights into the trade and amusing anecdotes about a business which is often called the last resort of the eccentric. Designed by  typographer George Ramsden with a cover from a painting by Howard Hodgkin this elegant little book belongs into the libraries of all book lovers.

“A gallery of eccentrics with Batterham himself the most notable, drunk, often penniless ...”  (Alan Bennett in London Review of Books)

“An extraordinary picture of a strange world of dealers with its chance encounters, crazed characters, its obsessions and its loneliness” (Margaret Drabble)

“The funniest book I have read in years”  (Richard Burton)

“Its addictive!” (James Fergusson)

“During the preparation of this book I wondered to George if perhaps vanity was not getting the better of common sense. ‘All publishing is vanity’ he reassured me; so there is no point in my apologising for inviting  you to buy a copy.” (David Batterham)

David Batterham, Among Booksellers. Tales told in Letters to Howard Hodgkin

Stone Trough Books 2011.  118 pp.  Paperback. (£ 9.95)

>>> Contact the author

Published since 11 Apr 2012