Sixpence House is a chronicle of Collins’s short stay in Hay-on-Wye, the small Welsh village often called “The Town of Books” — because while its population is only 1,500 people, its streets boast 40 bookstores. Collins spends his days working in a used bookstore owned by Richard Booth, the self-proclaimed King of Hay, organizing the American Fiction section and finding literary gems among the clutter and dust. Sure to please any book-lover, Sixpence House is also an engaging portrait of the town’s bookselling industry and all its quirky characters.
“On Serious Books and crap alike there will be a head shot of The Author sitting still while looking pensive or smiling faintly into the indeterminate distance — the one pose that has no existence in the author’s daily life. The size of this photo will be in inverse proportion to the quality of the book. If this photo is rendered in color, it is not a Serious Book. […] If the photo of the author occupies the entire front cover, the book is unequivocal crap.”
In addition to Sixpence House, Paul Collins is the author of The Book of William: How Shakespeare’s First Folio Conquered the World and Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism. Collins currently teaches creative non-fiction at Portland State University.
Length: 244 pages
Set in: Hay-on-Wye, Wales
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