A library of one's own: Meet the man who owns 12,000 books
Australian newspaper "The Age" has recently met with Chris Browne, lifetime collector and now organizer of the Australian Melbourne Rare Book Week.
"Once upon a time, a university student called Chris Browne decided to take up book collecting. It was 1970, and he bought a first edition of Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy thriller The Man With the Golden Gun for two shillings at a charity shop in Oxford, England.
Back then, collecting was a fun hobby while Browne studied medical science at Oxford University. It was to grow into an incurable lifelong obsession.
Today, the now-Professor Browne has 10,000 books at his house in Camberwell.
And he's never short of holiday reading – he keeps 2000 more at his weekender in Gippsland.
Asked why he keeps so many books, he can only offer that ‘‘I’ve always enjoyed reading’’. Each year he buys about 500 books and reads as many as 300.
He no longer goes to libraries, ‘‘because I’ve generally got what I want to read here’’.
Professor Browne, 70, who retired in 2012 having worked as an academic in the Monash University medical facility for 40 years, is rather well qualified to be convenor of this year’s Melbourne Rare Book Week, on from July 5 to 14.
Among the 50 bookcases in his Camberwell home you will find 500 books by and about Jane Austen, and 300 relating to Charles Dickens.
Melbourne Rare Book Week features 45 events, including the three-day Melbourne Rare Book Fair at the University of Melbourne’s Wilson Hall.
Professor Browne will co-host a historic walk of Melbourne visiting locations mentioned in crime novelist Fergus Hume’s 1886 global bestseller, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab.
The festival also features the launch of a book about Indigenous involvement in Australian football and a forum on books about the 1930 murder of Melbourne artists’ model Molly Dean.
Professor Browne said Rare Book Week was ‘‘a celebration of books, of things printed, and of reading’’. Sessions are free to the public, although booking is usually required. "
To read the full article, please follow this link.
More information about the Melbourne Rare Book Week can be found on the ILAB website here.