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Off Topic/Non-philatelic Disc. : Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

 

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philatelia
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APS #156650

09 Jan 2023
09:20:31am

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Santa gave me a five book set this year and let me tell ya I'm so glad he did! If you want to read the most realistic fictional depiction of a stamp collector that I've ever found, try the Lawrence Block Hit Man series. Yup - the main character is a professional killer. The last chapter in the first book describes how he gets back into collecting.

I don't know who Block consulted or if he is a stamp collector, too, but the main character, John Keller, approaches philately like many genuine collectors. He eschews modern material and decides to concentrate on the classics because he finds the engraving beautiful. He keeps a wishlist using an old Scott's Classics catalog as a checklist. He gets a great deal of satisfaction from filling empty spaces in his album. But he finds that he needs to stay in the profession so he can afford to buy more stamps.

I guarantee you'll enjoy these books! Most libraries should carry them as Block is a bestselling author with numerous mystery writer awards.
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Harvey

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09 Jan 2023
10:27:01am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I read the series a few years ago and did a post on it then. A fantastic series!!!

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philatelia
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APS #156650

09 Jan 2023
10:31:46am

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re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I missed your post, Harvey! Maybe our mods can combine these threads. I'm only halfway through the series - lucky me!

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"Some women splurge on designer shoes, I’d rather buy classic covers. ;-)"
Harvey

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09 Jan 2023
11:10:34am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Lawrence Block also wrote a book called "GENERALLY SPEAKING: All 33 columns, plus a few philatelic words from Keller" that concentrates on Block's experiences with stamp collecting. I haven't read it yet but it looks like an interesting read, but a bit heavier than the Keller series. I don't think there was anything really profound in my earlier post. I just did what you did when I discovered the series, a really fun read!! It's not often you run into a character who's a philatelic hit man.

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joshtanski
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09 Jan 2023
06:23:36pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Block also wrote some columns for Linn's on stamp collecting. Are they part of the "Generally Speaking" book?

Josh

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Harvey

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09 Jan 2023
06:36:30pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Yes, all of the articles are in the book. I'm in the middle of a murder mystery by Nicolas Feeling now but I'll read the Block next and report back!

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Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

12 Jan 2023
02:07:05pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Started the Block book "Generally Speaking" last night. What the book is is all of the Linn's articles with the philatelic parts of the Hit Man series mixed in. The articles are well written and very "non-technical" so as not to be too boring. It explains which areas he collects and why and really holds your interest. I never was very good at book reports so all I can say is that I'm about a third of the way through and am enjoying it. I recommend that you should pick up a copy but it wouldn't hurt to have read the Block Hit Man series first, you don't have to but it would be a good idea!

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Harvey

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12 Jan 2023
09:54:24pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Read some more of the book tonight. I am really enjoying it, Blocks writing style is so good that it's actually hard to put the book down. That's hard to imagine with a book on philately!! He introduces fascinating little bits of trivia, for example to you know that one of the main writers online on the topic of mourning covers is a person by the name of PAUL BEARER!! I didn't believe it either until I checked it out.

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

13 Jan 2023
10:35:55pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Almost finished the book, just a bit left for tomorrow, so time for another report. I collect the Russia military revolution, Russian foreign offices and early Russia protectorate type material that my Minkus album uses as it's BOB material and he had two very interesting Linn's articles on the history behind this material. He's changed his writing style a bit and is pretending he is a teacher for a class in Philately. A really good read and I think every stamp collector could learn a few things by searching out and reading this book. If there's anything really exciting in the last 25 or so pages I'll let you know tomorrow when I finish the book! I hope nobody minds this little bit of fluff instead of serious stamp stuff! Stamp collecting can also be fun, as a matter of fact, if it isn't it's more like a job than a hobby. Of course some jobs can be fun as well!

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auldstampguy
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Collector, Webmaster

14 Jan 2023
12:27:44pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

@Philatelia,
I put a hold on the first book in the Hit Man series at our local library. It seems it is quite a popular book.

Tim.

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Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

15 Jan 2023
06:48:42pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Finished the book! I didn't get that much into the last few articles since they were concerned wit areas I had little interest in - Madagascar and Turkey. I did learn that for a while they considered calling Madagascar the 8th continent since it separated from the rest earlier - hence the reason why so much of its flora and fauna is totally unique to the area. I also learned why Keller called his daughter Jenny - he was a philatelist and she was a breech birth!!

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DannyS
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17 Jan 2023
09:17:50am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I am trying the first book in the series. So far he isn't collecting stamps. I'm not sure on it so far, but what a fascinating author. Read his Wikipedia entry. While reading the novel I am also reading his non-fiction book on how to write a novel.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_B ...

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philatelia
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APS #156650

17 Jan 2023
12:08:58pm

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re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

In the first book, the last chapter is about his return to stamp collecting.

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"Some women splurge on designer shoes, I’d rather buy classic covers. ;-)"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

17 Jan 2023
02:27:11pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

There is one term that showed up in Generally Speaking that I have to share, I've never seen it anywhere else. My Canada album suffers badly from it - ALBUM BULGE!! It's a wonderful term that only applies to us old time collectors who use individual albums that we haven't made up ourselves. I think it's a fantastic term that describes a few of my albums, but especially my Canada Harris album. I could never replace the album, even though it's showing it's advanced age, since most of the comments, numbers and prices were entered by my departed wife. Too many good memories and the album is worth as much to me as the stamps in it!!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
DannyS
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18 Jan 2023
01:48:53am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

"In the first book, the last chapter is about his return to stamp collecting"



Thanks Philatelia, just got there. I see Keller uses hinges and doesn't worry about MH. Now who is going to argue with him about the back of stamps.Big Grin

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DannyS
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20 Jan 2023
12:03:01am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I finished Hitman and started Hitlist. They certainly show a very competent author. In fact I find the author quite fascinating and I'm also reading one of his books on how to write novels. He seems to be a master craftsman in his chosen trade and his output has been prolific.

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Stampaholic
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21 Jan 2023
04:06:36pm

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re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I love the series. have read them all including Keller's Adjustment and Keller's Fedora. I understand there are other short novels about Keller but haven't found them yet.

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" I have a burning love for stamps. Lord A'mighty ,feel my temperature risin'! "
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

21 Jan 2023
04:17:27pm
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I read an awful lot, about two hours a night. Most of it is crime fiction and this is one of my favourite series. It's also fun to go back occasionally and read some of the classics - Conan Doyle, Aggie Christie, etc. The one thing you have to realize about the older material is how politically incorrect it was. There's a novel/movie of an older Christie movie now called "And Then There were None". The original title was "Ten Little N*****s. I was reading an older Horatio Hornblower novel by C. S. Forester and the expression "That's very white of you" was used. I know an English teacher who pre-reads any novels she is going to assign and before she distributes them to the kids she goes through each book with a very dark marker so no student is offended. To me it would be a good excuse to have a "teachable moment", but she prefers to play it safe. And with the blow back teachers get maybe she has a point. But anyway, nothing like that in Block!! Only stamps!!

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auldstampguy
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Collector, Webmaster

22 Jan 2023
12:42:59am
re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Philatelia,

Thanks for recommending this book. I just finished it and really quite liked it. It is always good to find a new author to add to my list of favorites. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Regards ... Tim.

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philatelia

APS #156650
09 Jan 2023
09:20:31am

Approvals

Santa gave me a five book set this year and let me tell ya I'm so glad he did! If you want to read the most realistic fictional depiction of a stamp collector that I've ever found, try the Lawrence Block Hit Man series. Yup - the main character is a professional killer. The last chapter in the first book describes how he gets back into collecting.

I don't know who Block consulted or if he is a stamp collector, too, but the main character, John Keller, approaches philately like many genuine collectors. He eschews modern material and decides to concentrate on the classics because he finds the engraving beautiful. He keeps a wishlist using an old Scott's Classics catalog as a checklist. He gets a great deal of satisfaction from filling empty spaces in his album. But he finds that he needs to stay in the profession so he can afford to buy more stamps.

I guarantee you'll enjoy these books! Most libraries should carry them as Block is a bestselling author with numerous mystery writer awards.

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"Some women splurge on designer shoes, I’d rather buy classic covers. ;-)"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

09 Jan 2023
10:27:01am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I read the series a few years ago and did a post on it then. A fantastic series!!!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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philatelia

APS #156650
09 Jan 2023
10:31:46am

Approvals

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I missed your post, Harvey! Maybe our mods can combine these threads. I'm only halfway through the series - lucky me!

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this post

"Some women splurge on designer shoes, I’d rather buy classic covers. ;-)"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

09 Jan 2023
11:10:34am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Lawrence Block also wrote a book called "GENERALLY SPEAKING: All 33 columns, plus a few philatelic words from Keller" that concentrates on Block's experiences with stamp collecting. I haven't read it yet but it looks like an interesting read, but a bit heavier than the Keller series. I don't think there was anything really profound in my earlier post. I just did what you did when I discovered the series, a really fun read!! It's not often you run into a character who's a philatelic hit man.

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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joshtanski

09 Jan 2023
06:23:36pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Block also wrote some columns for Linn's on stamp collecting. Are they part of the "Generally Speaking" book?

Josh

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Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

09 Jan 2023
06:36:30pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Yes, all of the articles are in the book. I'm in the middle of a murder mystery by Nicolas Feeling now but I'll read the Block next and report back!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

12 Jan 2023
02:07:05pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Started the Block book "Generally Speaking" last night. What the book is is all of the Linn's articles with the philatelic parts of the Hit Man series mixed in. The articles are well written and very "non-technical" so as not to be too boring. It explains which areas he collects and why and really holds your interest. I never was very good at book reports so all I can say is that I'm about a third of the way through and am enjoying it. I recommend that you should pick up a copy but it wouldn't hurt to have read the Block Hit Man series first, you don't have to but it would be a good idea!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

12 Jan 2023
09:54:24pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Read some more of the book tonight. I am really enjoying it, Blocks writing style is so good that it's actually hard to put the book down. That's hard to imagine with a book on philately!! He introduces fascinating little bits of trivia, for example to you know that one of the main writers online on the topic of mourning covers is a person by the name of PAUL BEARER!! I didn't believe it either until I checked it out.

Like
Login to Like
this post

"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

13 Jan 2023
10:35:55pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Almost finished the book, just a bit left for tomorrow, so time for another report. I collect the Russia military revolution, Russian foreign offices and early Russia protectorate type material that my Minkus album uses as it's BOB material and he had two very interesting Linn's articles on the history behind this material. He's changed his writing style a bit and is pretending he is a teacher for a class in Philately. A really good read and I think every stamp collector could learn a few things by searching out and reading this book. If there's anything really exciting in the last 25 or so pages I'll let you know tomorrow when I finish the book! I hope nobody minds this little bit of fluff instead of serious stamp stuff! Stamp collecting can also be fun, as a matter of fact, if it isn't it's more like a job than a hobby. Of course some jobs can be fun as well!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
14 Jan 2023
12:27:44pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

@Philatelia,
I put a hold on the first book in the Hit Man series at our local library. It seems it is quite a popular book.

Tim.

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Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

15 Jan 2023
06:48:42pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Finished the book! I didn't get that much into the last few articles since they were concerned wit areas I had little interest in - Madagascar and Turkey. I did learn that for a while they considered calling Madagascar the 8th continent since it separated from the rest earlier - hence the reason why so much of its flora and fauna is totally unique to the area. I also learned why Keller called his daughter Jenny - he was a philatelist and she was a breech birth!!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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DannyS

17 Jan 2023
09:17:50am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I am trying the first book in the series. So far he isn't collecting stamps. I'm not sure on it so far, but what a fascinating author. Read his Wikipedia entry. While reading the novel I am also reading his non-fiction book on how to write a novel.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_B ...

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philatelia

APS #156650
17 Jan 2023
12:08:58pm

Approvals

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

In the first book, the last chapter is about his return to stamp collecting.

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"Some women splurge on designer shoes, I’d rather buy classic covers. ;-)"
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

17 Jan 2023
02:27:11pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

There is one term that showed up in Generally Speaking that I have to share, I've never seen it anywhere else. My Canada album suffers badly from it - ALBUM BULGE!! It's a wonderful term that only applies to us old time collectors who use individual albums that we haven't made up ourselves. I think it's a fantastic term that describes a few of my albums, but especially my Canada Harris album. I could never replace the album, even though it's showing it's advanced age, since most of the comments, numbers and prices were entered by my departed wife. Too many good memories and the album is worth as much to me as the stamps in it!!

Like
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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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DannyS

18 Jan 2023
01:48:53am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

"In the first book, the last chapter is about his return to stamp collecting"



Thanks Philatelia, just got there. I see Keller uses hinges and doesn't worry about MH. Now who is going to argue with him about the back of stamps.Big Grin

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DannyS

20 Jan 2023
12:03:01am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I finished Hitman and started Hitlist. They certainly show a very competent author. In fact I find the author quite fascinating and I'm also reading one of his books on how to write novels. He seems to be a master craftsman in his chosen trade and his output has been prolific.

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Stampaholic

21 Jan 2023
04:06:36pm

Auctions - Approvals

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I love the series. have read them all including Keller's Adjustment and Keller's Fedora. I understand there are other short novels about Keller but haven't found them yet.

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" I have a burning love for stamps. Lord A'mighty ,feel my temperature risin'! "
Harvey

I think, therefore I am - I think!

21 Jan 2023
04:17:27pm

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

I read an awful lot, about two hours a night. Most of it is crime fiction and this is one of my favourite series. It's also fun to go back occasionally and read some of the classics - Conan Doyle, Aggie Christie, etc. The one thing you have to realize about the older material is how politically incorrect it was. There's a novel/movie of an older Christie movie now called "And Then There were None". The original title was "Ten Little N*****s. I was reading an older Horatio Hornblower novel by C. S. Forester and the expression "That's very white of you" was used. I know an English teacher who pre-reads any novels she is going to assign and before she distributes them to the kids she goes through each book with a very dark marker so no student is offended. To me it would be a good excuse to have a "teachable moment", but she prefers to play it safe. And with the blow back teachers get maybe she has a point. But anyway, nothing like that in Block!! Only stamps!!

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"The future ain’t what it used to be. A Yogiism"
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auldstampguy

Collector, Webmaster
22 Jan 2023
12:42:59am

re: Best fictional stamp collector - a hit man?

Philatelia,

Thanks for recommending this book. I just finished it and really quite liked it. It is always good to find a new author to add to my list of favorites. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Regards ... Tim.

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