If you're a true book fanatic, this is a great read. I found myself relating to the term 'Finger-Spitzengefuhl' that these ladies talk about - that inexplicable tingling that emanates from your fingertips when you find the perfect treasure in a pile of books at a flea market or used book store or at a library book sale and it dawns on you that you have truly come upon something special. My incidents of Finger-Spitzengefuhl are humble in comparison to these renowned antiquarian book dealers, though! Imagine finding original printings of tracts created in the Leyden print works of William Brewster, scientific texts from the library of Robert Boyle, 'blood and thunder' serial tales printed in mid-19th century sensational papers that were penned by Louisa May Alcott under her pseudonyms ! These are just a few of the more sensational finds that these ladies made over their years of researching the printing process and the literature and social tracts printed around the world.
This joint memoir is an inspiration to anyone who ever dreamt of looking through a pile of old books and coming upon a true treasure of history. Sadly, both Leona and Madeleine have passed away and their incredible knowledge is relegated to their long list of published writings, but boy, what women they were!
A fast and really interesting read that places you right alongside them as they made the journey from NYC to Europe and back, through the halls of academia to the eccentric world of antiquarian book trade, from dusty cellars to spiffy trade shows to the offices of some of the most respected research libraries in the United States. And all the time ... it's all about the books and the research and the history and the incredible sense of exhilaration when a true gem is unearthed!