The idea that books had stories associated with them that had nothing to do with the stories inside them was new to us. We had always valued the history, the world of ideas contained between the covers of a book or, as in the case of The Night Visitor, some special personal significance. Now, for the first time, we began to appreciate that there was a history and a world of ideas embodied by the books themselves.
After years of competitive extravagance at birthday time, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone decided to limit themselves to $20 each, which is how they came to be in possession of a $10 definitive translation of War and Peace, complete with maps of the major battles and fold-out color illustrations. It is also how they eventually came to be the owners of a $650 edition of Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit. Used and Rare, the Goldstones’ tale of the journey from point A to point B, is a joyful celebration of their love of books. Rare-book dealers are a quirky lot; while one might invite you to caress an Adventures of Tom Sawyer worth thousands, another might turn you away altogether for no apparent reason. The Goldstones’ enthusiasm is infectious, and, besides offering a lesson in used-book parlance, the pair remind us that for every book there are at least two stories: the one between the covers, and the one beyond the covers.