In rural Australia of the fifties where John Baxter grew up, reading books was regarded with suspicion; owning and collecting them with utter incomprehension. Despite this, by the age of eleven Baxter had ‘collected’ his first book The Poems of Rupert Brooke. He’d read it often, but now he had to own it. This modest purchase marked the beginning of an obsession that would take him all over the world…
This is the book to devour. It has inspired my many forays into mass purchasing, the impact of which had waned somewhat, but has now thankfully been reinforced on rereading this. A Pound of Paper, is not only a call to read, but to read widely; to gather, and appreciate the book as a whole, not just for the words therein.
It’s always a delight to discover how a fellow reader started, and carried on their journey. Details of their collection, and their escalation is both an encouragement – as if any were needed – and pure literary porn. This reader ate up Baxter’s enthusiastic retelling of his adventures, which range between comic and cringe with alarming regularity.
One of the best things about A Pound of Paper is the forays into, and finding beauty within, the obscure, even the badly written. There is an element of snobbery here, one could argue, but it doesn’t spoil anything, and I for one enjoy the jaunt into the arcane passageways of literature that I would have otherwise missed. Continue reading “A Pound of Paper – John Baxter”