Monday, February 27, 2017

Just Read

"Si no leemos no sabemos escribir y si no sabemos escribir no sabemos pensar."
If we don't read we don't know how to write and if we don't know how to write we don't know how to think.

“The best way to learn about books," he said, "is to spend time with them, talk about them, defend them.”
Charlie Lovett, The Bookman’s Tale

Today I finished The Bookman's Tale. It came as quite a surprise to me that the author, Charlie Lovett, had found a way to court me and all bibliophiles with his literary style, replete with antique bookshops, ancient manuscripts, marginalia (a thing I knew about, but for which I didn't know there was a term), literary artefacts and forgeries. His writing is so enmeshed in the world of books that I was also compelled to read several biographies on Lovett, something I rarely do, and discovered that much like his characters, his own world as the son of  has been one immersed in the love of books since his birth. 

The main character of The Bookman's Tale is a young antiquarian bookseller who relocates from the Coast of North Carolina to the English Countryside, where he can become absorbed in collecting and restoring rare books to overcome a deep personal grief.

"Peter did not want to know people. What he wanted was to find that world-within-the-world where he could be himself by himself...
Peter discovered exactly what would protect him: books."

"He closed his eyes for a moment, imagining the cocoon of books, shielding him from all danger, inhaling deeply that familiar scent of cloth and leather and dust and words. His rushing pulse began to slow, and when he opened his eyes he scanned the shelves for something familiar - a title, an author, a well-remembered dust jacket design - anything that might ground him in the world of the known."

A couple of teasers: 
After the death of his wife, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from the States to the English countryside, where he hopes to rediscover the joys of life through his passion for collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens an eighteenth-century study on Shakespeare forgeries, he is shocked to find a Victorian portrait strikingly similar to his wife tumble out of its pages, and becomes obsessed with tracking down its origins. As he follows the trail back to the nineteenth century and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter learns the truth about his own past and unearths a book that might prove that Shakespeare was indeed the author of all his plays.
A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love.
Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.
As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

Lovett dedicates The Bookman's Tale to his father, who, as he says, "infected me with an incurable bibliomania." The Bookman's Tale is one of knowledgeable study of collectable manuscripts, original texts, inking, printing methods and more. It has intrigue, love, passions, deceit, arrogance, murder and more. It has everything of which a successful novel can boast, but yet is confined to the interests of a bookish elite, making this novel one set apart for a particular genre, book lovers, the same readers as those who adore Zafan's, The Shadow of the Wind, A.S. Byatt’s Possession and all the other texts whose tales are spun around the written word.

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