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Sixpence House

By Paul Collins

Sixpence House

Started reading:
5th June 2014
Finished reading:
2nd July 2014


Review & Quotes

Rating: Unrated

I think what I liked best about this book was the various book tidbits throughout.

• Books are the cellars of civilization: when cultures crumble away, their books remain out of sheer stupid solidity. – location 53

• The world is full of such things: remnants that give no clue of their origin, that no one would think to question as ever having been anything but what they now are. – location 402

• To look for a specific book in Hay is a hopeless task; you can only find the books that are looking for you, the ones you didn’t even know to ask for in the first place. – location 572

• There is an implicit code that customers rely on. If a book cover has raised lettering, metallic lettering, or raised metallic lettering, then it is telling the reader: Hello. I am an easy-to-read work on espionage, romance, a celebrity, and/or murder. To readers who do not care for such things, this lettering tells them: Hello. I am crap. Such books can use only glossy paper for the jacket; Serious Books can use glossy finish as well, but it is only Serious Books that are allowed to use matte finish. Diminutively sized paperbacks, like serial romances or westerns or dieting and astrology guides, are aimed at the uneducated. But diminutively sized hardcover books are aimed at the educated – excepting those that are very diminutive, which are religious aimed at the uneducated – and unless they are in a highly rectangular format, in which case they are point-of-purchase books aimed at the somewhat-but-not-entirely educated. However, vertically rectangular diminutive softcover books, which tend to be pocket travel guides, are aimed at the educated. But horizontally rectangular diminutive soft-cover books – a genre pioneered by Garfield Gains Weight – are not. – location 1748

• This is because any writer who waits for inspiration is being an ass. Inspiration is achieved in humans by effort, a pumping of thoracic bellows – you have to breathe for yourself. No one will breathe for you. – location 1774

•Bookbinding has changed so little over the years that a binder waking from a century-long sleep could walk into Christine’s shop and immediately get to work. There have been some innovations, but fewer than you might think. You can resize paper now with a pulp-based goop called Methocel, though the stuff has a far more common use: as the thickener in fast-food milk shakes. Methocel – or hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, as we used to call it in my grandma’s kitchen – is also used in tile grout and plywood laminate; and if you’ve ever struggled to suck a fast-food milk shake through a straw, this fact will not surprise you. – location 2102