Books: View from the Gutter

FRED BASON'S DIARY (176 pp.)—Edited by Nicolas Bentley—British Book Centre ($2.25).

Out of the murk of the London slums, as he tells it himself, arose a "bloody bookworm" named Fred Bason. At 15, Fred already had his own library, consisting of Treasure Island, Swiss Family Robinson, Liza of Lambeth, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pears' Cyclopædia, the 1881 volume of the Strand magazine, Wild Wales and Two Years Before the Mast. He was much happier browsing through this library than he was lathering the "filthy faces [of] nasty old men" in a slum barbershop (his first job) or eating "sawdust and chips"...

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