Old books, rare friends

two literary sleuths and their shared passion


English language

Published Feb. 4, 1998 by Main Street Books/Doubleday.

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4 stars (2 reviews)

You'd think a book about antiquarian bookselling wouldn't be loaded with suspense or keep us laughing, or make us shake our heads in wonder at the adventures of its 87-year-old and 84-year-old authors. But Old Books, Rare Friends does that and more as longtime partners Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine Stern introduce us to their quite unusual love affair with books and each other. Thanks to their gift for opening up this world, we never want to leave it. - Back cover.

3 editions

Charming and insidery

4 stars

I’m pretty taken with these women, important rare book dealers and a tightly bound pair of friends. They’re the ones who dug about Louisa Alcott’s sensational pieces! Leona traveled to Strasberg by herself in 1936 to study books after Columbia refused to grant her a PhD! Their accounts of book rummaging and feminist takes on history are fun. Their family stories and their devoted friendship are delightful. Apparently they have a number of other co-written books that cover similar terrain. Good for book nerds and for asexual (and maybe aro?) companionship.

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4 stars