Penn State

Robert Alan - Associate Librarian, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books

Author: Collins, Paul

Book Description:

In an era of high-speed digital transfer of content and Internet bookstores, there is still much to be said for browsing shelves in bookstores and libraries in search of hidden treasures. While I have always loved books, my appreciation for how and why books are written has grown over the years. Many of those most influential in my career are true bibliophiles. One donor I worked with when I was at the University of California, Davis designed and built his house to be a library that could also be lived in. Frequent trips to Berkeley often meant a visit to Serendipity Books, a great bookstore with a very eccentric but knowledgeable owner who would gruffly point me in the direction I needed to go. A former mentor would often show up in my office with boxes of “great” books and old journal issues he had acquired while visiting bookstores. It was their love of books, book collecting, and preservation of the printed word that made such a lasting impression on me.

Paul Collins’ book is a delightful tale of a bibliophile’s move from San Francisco to Hay-on-Wye, a small Welsh village on the Wales/Britain border with only 1,500 residents but 40 antiquarian bookstores. It is a story about books: how and why books are written, book collectors, and bookstores.


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