Collins, Paul 1969-
COLLINS, Paul 1969-
PERSONAL: Born 1969; married; wife's name, Jennifer; children: Morgan.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—McSweeney's Books, 429 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215.
CAREER: Writer and editor.
Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity, and Rotten Luck, Picador USA (New York, NY), 2001.
Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books, Bloomsbury Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.
Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, Bloomsbury Publishing (New York, NY), 2004.
Editor of "The Collins Library," McSweeney's Books (Brooklyn, NY). Also contributor to periodicals, including Lingua Franca, Cabinet, New Scientist, Tin House, and Business 2.0.
SIDELIGHTS: As editor of "The Collins Library" for McSweeney's Books, Paul Collins searches for obscure, out-of-print titles that merit further interest by virtue of their historical significance or arcane topics. Collins's own writings prove him to be widely ranging in his interests and daring in his life choices. His book Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books describes his decision to move with his wife and infant son to the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye, where 1,500 inhabitants support forty antiquarian bookstores. Part memoir, part rumination on the value of the written word, Sixpence House allows Collins to wax eloquent on what he loves—old books—while contemplating the practical difficulties of picking up family and furniture and moving to a whole new country. Keir Graff in Booklist called the work "a book lover's delight, minus the pretense you might expect." Likewise, Scott Hightower in Library Journal declared the book "highly recommended . . . for all readers who know the joy of being lost in a town of books." San Francisco Chronicle contributor David Wiegand concluded: "In a world obsessed with tomorrow's hottest title, Collins bemoans how much we are missing if we are unwilling to go back into old books, even the failures."
Also part memoir, Collins's Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism explores the story of Collins, his wife Jennifer, and his son, Morgan, as the couple learn that Morgan is autistic and develop strategies to deal with his special challenges. Collins weaves the story of his own family into a wider tale of autism through the centuries, its first appearance in literature through the story of a German feral child, and the various diagnoses and treatment programs developed in the twentieth century. On the BookSlut Web site, Colleen Mondor called Not Even Wrong "a deeply moving and intelligent exploration into the world of autism." Mondor concluded: "This is an author who both knows and respects history and even better, knows how to make his readers eager to learn right along with him. What a great talent, what a great book." Houston Chronicle correspondent Carolyn See wrote that, in Not Even Wrong, "Collins very delicately and adroitly takes us along on a journey as he, Jennifer, his brother Marc and little Morgan learn, in tiny increments, to 'get' each other, to speak each other's language. . . . Brave man. Brave book."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2003, Keir Graff, review of SixpenceHouse: Lost in a Town of Books, p. 1429; March 15, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, p. 1252.
Guardian (Manchester, England), June 5, 2004, review of Not Even Wrong, p. 15.
Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2004, Carolyn See, review of Not Even Wrong, p. 21.
Library Journal, April 15, 2003, Scott Hightower, review of Sixpence House, p. 86; April 15, 2004, Corey Seeman, "Minding an Expanding Market: Five Titles for National Autism Awareness Month," p. 108.
Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2004, review of NotEven Wrong, p. 163.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 28, 2004, Thomas Crone, "Book Tries to Unravel Autism's Knotty Problems," p. K10.
San Francisco Chronicle, April 5, 2003, David Wiegand, "A Bibliophile's Quest for Antiquated and Out-of-Print Books," p. D3.
Seattle Times, May 16, 2003, Irene Wanner, "'Sixpence House' Chronicles Search for Home among the Books," p. H41.
Star Chronicle (Minneapolis, MN), April 13, 2003, Eric Hanson, review of Sixpence House, p. F7.
BookSlut.com,http://www.bookslut.com (October 30, 2004), Colleen Mondor, review of Not Even Wrong.*