Title: Tolkien’s Gown
Author: Rick Gekoski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 240
If you’re a lover of books like I am then you’re going to love Tolkien’s Gown – it’s a collection of stories by Rick Gekoski, a rare book dealer known as “the Bill Bryson of the book world.” That pretty much tells you everything you need to know, and it should give you a good idea of what to expect.
Gekoski’s privileged position in the literary world gave him the chance to meet and work with some of the most influential writers of our time, and he handled rare books and artifacts by authors as varied as J. R. R. Tolkien, Beatrix Potter, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Jack Kerouac and J. K. Rowling.
Tolkien’s Gown, his titular story, recounts the time when Tolkien was having a clear out and wanted to get rid of his old college gown, and Graham Greene was delighted to be doing business. Not all of his dealings with writers were pleasant, though – J. D. Salinger threatened a lawsuit, and William Golding ended up writing a parody of Gekoski.
The author’s stories come from a time that is no longer, when the world was populated by genuine greats instead of the celebrity autobiographies and ghost-written novels that litter the market today. It’s worth reading for these insights in to a culture that’s no more.