Slightly Foxed-- but Still Desirable

Slightly Foxed-- but Still Desirable

Ronald Searle's Wicked World of Book Collecting

Book - 1989
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As any, even vaguely addicted book collector will have swiftly learned, most booksellers' catalogues are written in a parallel language that can fool anyone but the 'cognoscenti' and which makes the mysteries of the Rosetta stone, or Linear B, look like something out of Enid Blython. Without a smattering of inside information, the baffled but hopelessly-bitten book buyer is drifting unarmed and unprepared into a minefield whose perilous complexities will usually only be made plain when an eagerly awaited parcel of dream volumes arrives and mangled contents are revealed in all their deceptive glory.... But all is not lost. Help is at hand! After a lifetime of avidly scanning the frequently poisonously-tinted pages of innumerable book catalogues, Ronald Searle has become expert in the art of decoding those esoteric, poetic and usually approximate, descriptions of literary come-ons. Now, licking his wounds, he publishes his hard-earned findings in this fully illustrated pioneer guide, designed to foil the devious machinations of scheming and wicked booksellers for ever more. No longer will the innocent book collector need to puzzle over the finer meaning of 'old half road', 'good working copy', blind tooled', or 'tail-edged shaved'. The unvarnished truth is here exposed at last, both in the shocking explicit drawings and in the devastatingly frank glossary whose revelations will startle even the most battle-scarred of bibliophiles. The result is one of the funniest, most entertaining books to have emerged from the brilliantly perceptive pen of the master. No book collector, and certainly no bookseller, can afford to be without it - even the wicked ones.
Publisher: London : Souvenir, 1989
ISBN: 9780285629455
Branch Call Number: 741.59 Se
Description: 124 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 31 cm


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FindingJane Apr 03, 2016

Mr. Searle has gifted the reading public with his witty and irreverent musings and illustrations for many years now. As a possible companion piece to his book “The Illustrated Winespeak: Ronald Searle’s Wicked World of Wine Tasting”, this one pokes decided fun at the obfuscating, frustrating and baffling domain of book selling and book buying. As a devoted bibliophile who’s been burned by buying a book and opening the box only to reveal some musty, worm-ridden “treasure” fit only for the rubbish heap, Mr. Searle has been burned more than once and this naughty book both gives you an insight to what many of those obscure terms mean and takes a decided swipe at those sellers whose advertised wares definitely didn’t live up to their promises.

There is a helpful partial glossary in the back that states what the terms really mean. But it’s by no means complete and contains its own share of irreverence. Caveat emptor, indeed.


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