Sunday, 18 November 2012

An Englishman in Nevada

Recently, I took a little trip abroad to the old colonies, and visited that most unusual of cities: Las Vegas (which, apparently, has to be pronounced loudly and proudly as "Vegas, Baby!"). Now, I'm sure you'll agree that this is no prime holiday destination for a gentleman of distinction and, indeed, you would be right. Between scorching heat, thronging crowds and garish lights, a chap would do well to find any sanctuary of peace and quiet.

But I found one.

In the Palazzo Shoppes was a book store. And not just any book store, but one of the leading retailers of collectible and rare books in the United States. Bauman Rare Books is a shining gem of a shop, and I spent a lengthy amount of time in there. They had early editions of the Canterbury Tales to view, a first edition manuscript of the Lewis and Clarke expedition notes, and many other books of rarity both ancient and modern. I was also pleased to find that the man behind the counter, a Mr Samuels, was a fellow Englishman and most knowledgeable about rare manuscripts from both sides of the Atlantic.

I came away empty handed that day, as the one book I wouldn't have been able to resist (a first edition Hound of the Baskervilles) was at their Philadelphia store. Mr Samuels did, however, email detail of another book that took my fancy, which I'm still thinking about to this day. It's a set of books detailing the ill-fated Franklin expedition to the Arctic, which I'm still considering turning into a short story at some point in the future. Now, if only I could lay my hands on a spare $9000...

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