Sixpence House

Sixpence House

by Paul Collins
3.9 21

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Sixpence House by Paul Collins

"Sixpence House is the bookworm's answer to A Year in Provence." -Boston Globe

Paul Collins and his family abandoned the hills of San Francisco to move to the Welsh countryside-to move, in fact, to the village of Hay-on-Wye, the "Town of Books" that boasts fifteen hundred inhabitants-and forty bookstores. Taking readers into a secluded sanctuary for book lovers, and guiding us through the creation of the author's own first book, Sixpence House becomes a heartfelt and often hilarious meditation on what books mean to us.

A #1 BookSense Pick
"A delightful book."-Los Angeles Times
"Collins' gift is that you don't care where you end up. The journey is enough."-Readerville
"The real, engaging heart of the tale is Collins' love of books and other people who love them...Collins muses on antiquarian books the way the rest of us remember lost loves."-San Francisco Chronicle
"Funny, informative, somewhat chaotic and full of interesting references...there are numerous meanders into peripheral subjects, seen through the astute eyes of an Anglophile American."-Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608196821
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 12/15/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 426,170
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Paul Collins is the author of Banvard's Folly: Thirteen People Who Didn't Change the World, and most recently Not Even Wrong. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books, and his work has appeared in New Scientist, Business 2.0, and Tin House.

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey into the Lost History of Autism. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books, and his work has appeared in New Scientist, the Village Voice, and Business 2.0.

Customer Reviews

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Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sixpence House By Bill Marsano. This literate and literary book is an eccentric pleasure filled with sly fun and effortless surprise. Paul Collins was born in Pennsylvania to British immigrants, and the greatest of his inheritances is rootlessness: He has changed addresses as often as underwear and only now that he and his wife, Jennifer, have an infant son does he think to settle permanently. Collins is a writer and also a lover of books. For him abandoning San Francisco is an easy choice because it's too expensive and because his neighbors, in their painstakingly restored Victorian houses, apparently never read. 'All those beautiful built-in bookshelves?' Collins says. 'They don't hold any books.' Indeed his real-estate agent tells him 'You have too many books in here. Home buyers don't like books . . . . Really. You should hide them.' So off they go to Wales, to the famous 'book town' of Hay-on-Wye, to buy a house. Collins and wife investigate numerous houses in numerous neighborhoods (my favorite is Cusop Dingle), learn some scary things about British real-estate practices, and commence knitting themselves into the fabric of the community. Collins threads together many incidents and a few adventures; truth to tell, some are but flimsily connected to his narrative. On the other hand, he tells them so well, in such witty and inventive prose, that it hardly matters. It is a delight to hear Collins' explain that you CAN tell a book by its cover; his discussions of some of the wondrously strange forgotten books he's collected ('Hunting Indians in a Taxicab' is one of the best titles; I wonder how he missed 'By Horse and Sledge to Outcast Siberian Lepers'?); and listen in on his new career as the 'American expert' for Richard Booth, the reelingly eccentric anarchist-genius who made sleepy Hay a used-book capital (and also declared himself king of a secessionist republic and began issuing passports). I say 'hear' because you don't merely read this book: You hear it; it's as if Collins is talking to you directly, because there is that rare quality called 'voice' in his writing. If you love real writing or know someone who does, buy this book right away.--Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor.
Bettikins More than 1 year ago
While not particularly captivating, this book takes you on a tour of Hay on Wye, a book town in Wales. Not only does it reveal the harsh realities of the book business, you get a firsthand look at life in Great Britain and, in particular, what buying a 400+ year old house entails. Fascinating subject matter written as a journal more or less.
Beth Kennedy More than 1 year ago
You wouldn't think the subject matter would lend itself to a "just cannot put it down" type of read, but this one surely is. It will leave you wanting to chase down collins other titles immediately.
booksandteainthemorning More than 1 year ago
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! What a wonderful place to visit or live! Highly recommended!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
paul collins writes a great book. great prose and an easy style to read. tinged with humor. i am a sucker for books about books. collins has a true love of books; this is just a great read. any and all avid readers will enjoy this, i promise!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like quirky bookstores, you will enjoy this book. It is written with humor and has some interesting local characters. I would read a future book by this author, especially if he writes about life in a small town again.
katyfitz More than 1 year ago
This book is interesting. Paul Collins moves with his family to the Welsh countryside to Hay-on-Wye, a town of 1500 residents and 40 bookstores. The story traces them as they settle in, purchase a house and make a home. While the book is very good, it is not an easy read. Paul is an author and book lover and his obvious love for books shines through the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no clue why I bought this book. The author jumps back and forth from house hunting, reviewing irrelevant books, visits to strange book stores and his "job" at the strangest book store of all. I ended up skimming at the end just to finish it. If I could I would not have given this book any stars.
pen-y-bryn More than 1 year ago
Being of Welsh descent and having visited Hay-on-Wye, I really enjoyed this story. It is not great literature but a good story; thoroughly enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well written and highly entertaining book. A special treat if you have visited England/Wales -- his descriptions are so poignant. I also love his dry sense of humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good read. Well written with lots of amusing dialogue. Also a surprise ending. Recommend as a light hearted memoir.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book i have read this year and i am unable to see why they went there in the first place indeed wonder why anyone would think a constant listing of impossible houses and dirty stores falling apart books was of any interest having never heard of this author or his wife 's work can not imagine how they made a living any reader or buyer or collector knows mold on a book can spread the innocents abroad was overworked and regret wasting time trying to make any sense out of their life there the book business or why anyone would want to go there to buy books in the first place m.a.@sparta
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is comfortable and literary. Better yet, it delivers several occasions to laugh out loud. Despite the subtitle's pandering after Jasper fforde's readership (perhaps the publisher's contribution, heaven forefend!), Sixpence House is jolly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits in heat