Beyond Market Value: A Memoir of Book Collecting and the World of Venture Capital by Annette Campbell-White (University of Texas Press, $29.95) was recently published to coincide with an exhibition at the Ransom Center called Modernist Networks. This collector’s coming-of-age tale is a pleasure to read, from her itinerant childhood in Commonwealth countries to her wildly successful career in finance during the tech boom of the eighties and nineties that allowed her to follow her bibliophilic passions. About her first rare book purchase in London in 1972, when she had no job and few prospects but bought a signed limited edition of T.S. Eliot’s A Song for Simeon anyway, she writes, “In the midst of my uncertainty, the terrible loneliness I had felt since arriving in London, and, most of all, my fear about the future, a hand, Eliot’s hand, reached out from the past.” It’s a sentiment shared by many bibliophiles, and her sincere reflections on the rare book world (book fairs, auctions, finding a focus) are likewise congenial. The related exhibition, featuring Campbell-White’s rare books and manuscripts, is on view in Austin through January 5.
Bibliophiles cheer anytime Alberto Manguel, author of The Library at Night, Packing My Library, and several other books about books, releases something new. His latest, Fabulous Monsters: Dracula, Alice, Superman, and Other Literary Friends (Yale University Press, $19.95), is yet another occasion for celebration. Here Manguel introduces us to the literary characters that have stayed with him and inspired him throughout his reading life, accompanied by his own charming doodles which open each chapter.
If fiction is your bag, there’s a trio of new titles with bookish undercurrents to keep you up at night.
Book lovers and trivia nerds, look no further than The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Berkley, $16) by Abbi Waxman. This cleverly written romp has everything to like and nothing to dislike (unless a little colorful language puts you off). The main character is a millennial bookseller navigating some family drama while trying to find love and enough spare time to keep reading.