Remembering Burton Weiss
Burton in Spain in 2006
Burton Weiss, the Berkeley bookselling flamboyant, died this past June and was buried in print a week or so ago. His obituary in 'The Book Collector' trivialized his death. In life he was a character and deserved better.
Burton was an extroverted gay man who wore his angst and phobias as campaign medals earned in his decades that started with closets and ended with Glee. His sexuality was his sentence and punctuation, the subject of colloquies with himself and visitors, his life a story he did not tire of discussing.
He was in his own estimation a great book collector, his material housed in a closet that was unapproachable. His taste was for absolute perfection, his admonition please don’t touch.
Booksellers and book collectors are under the skin the same. One acquires his money in other ways and spends it on books. The other acquires books and trades them for money. He was both and an open book as well. Some may not have liked his story but in his frank telling he brought more to life than he took. I will miss him.