Known to many in the trade and beyond, Rick Gekoski has published a number of books throughout his life, some of them incredibly entertaining for anyone in the rare book trade.
“Lost, Stolen or Shredded”, “Tolkien’s Gown” or “Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir” will be on the bookshelves of many of us. Or do you remember Rick’s guide to an antiquarian book fair? Now changing direction slightly, Rick Gekoski’s new book and first novel “Darke” has just been published by Canongate in the UK.
Quoting the Guardian review: “Neither is it entirely unexpected to discover that Gekoski’s first-person mouthpiece, James Darke, should turn out to be a reclusive bibliophile who has difficulty pushing things to a conclusion. Barricaded in his study among his beloved first editions, he refuses to go out or correspond with anybody, including his daughter, whose increasingly irate letters he ignores. Instead he occupies himself “making some notes on my current concerns, composing myself in painstakingly extracted bits. I have no job and no life: no occupation, just preoccupation.”
We can expect another interesting take on the life of a bibliophile. Autobiographical or pure fiction? We let the reader decide.
See the full review in the Guardian from 2 March 2017 here
And if you are attending one of the many antiquarian book fairs happening at this time of the year, read on. Not much has changed since 2005 and that’s good: “If you watch closely, there's a lot of furtive pleasure-seeking going on. Dealers sit in their luridly lit booths, displaying their wares like girls in Amsterdam windows. A few potential customers drift by. Money is exchanged. Some pleasure is taken. Usually nobody gets hurt, but many wives are not told of the transaction. Or husbands.” Full article from the Telegraph, May 2005
Rick Gekoski - described by Tatler as “think Bill Bryson, only on books” - is a rare book dealer, writer, and broadcaster. An American who came to England in 1966 (and now a dual citizen, feeling "equally ill at ease in both cultures") he took a B. Phil and D.Phil. in English at Oxford. From 1971-1987 he was a member of the English Department of the University of Warwick, and sometime Chairman of the Faculty of Arts.
Rick has been judge for the Man Booker Prize, was founder of two private presses, has appeared on TV and radio and is known to many Guardian readers for his blog on literature and book collecting. In 2010 he was elected a Trustee of English PEN.
He lives in London and is a member of the ABA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association) and therefore a member of ILAB, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.