Wednesday, 22 September 2021

White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector

Wyrd Britain reviews Nicholas Royle's 'White Spines' published by Salt.
Nicholas Royle

White Lines is about Nicholas Royle’s passion for Picador’s fiction publishing from the 1970s to the end of the 1990s. It explores the bookshops and charity shops, the books themselves and the way a unique collection grew and became a literary obsession.’

Royle has a few books to his name but for me I know him through two things; his chapboook small press Nightjar Press and as the person who tweeted a photo of an enviable collection of white spined Picador books that was scattered across my Twitter feed a little while back.

We'll talk about Nightjar another time as today we are joining Royle in his celebration of his beloved Picadors, Pans, Penguins (both King and otherwise), Fontanas, and so many more in a travelogue that takes us around the second hand bookshops and charity shops of - mostly - England.

Wyrd Britain reviews Nicholas Royle's 'White Spines' published by Salt.
White Spines is a rolling expression of Royle's passions as he enthuses over cover artists, personal dedications, inclusions (things left inside the books), booksellers and even authors and it makes for an utterly joyous read.  His enthusiam for his loves is entirely contagious especially for one who shares some of those passions although to an admittedly (and perhaps thankfully) lesser degree.  

After a year spent indoors locked out of book shops White Spines proved to be a well needed panacea and indeed the only thing I didn't like about it was the prospect of finishing it but given the loaded cultural history of the first three words of that subtitle I for one cannot wait to see Robin Askwith in Royle's trademark heavy rimmed specs for the inevitable movie adaptation.

Buy it here - UK / US.


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