Book Review: Still Searching for Pipe Dreams by Rick Newcombe

A 3-Pipe Book

Kevin Godbee

While reading "Still Searching for Pipe Dreams" you feel like you’re hanging out with the author Rick Newcombe as he tells you all kinds of stories, with tons of interesting information and opinions about pipes and tobacco. Maybe it feels that way because I have had the opportunity to sit down with Rick and smoke some of his specially-aged and formulated Dunhill Early Morning Pipe—for which he provides the recipe in the book. Or perhaps it’s just because the book is well-written and easy-to-read, with a relaxed conversational tone to it. This is Rick’s second book in the series with a third one planned. Three books have been published, but the second one is a revised edition of the first, so not really a whole new book.

Back in early 2009, I was lucky enough to be reading the original "In Search of Pipe Dreams" while attending the Chicago pipe show … inadvertently bumped into Rick, and got him to sign the book for me! It was exciting and fun, and I was a little bit star-struck at the time. I was the new kid on the block, having just launched, and newly back into smoking pipes after a few years hiatus, plus this was my first pipe show ever … and here I am hobnobbing with a famous pipe book author within the first few hours of being there. At this point in time, as far as the pipe hobby was concerned, I was a nobody that knew nothing, and nobody knew me. I handed out business cards all week, introduced myself, and received mostly skepticism and apathy. As a matter of fact, one person, whom I shall not name—in response to my introduction said; "I hope you have a rich uncle." He was sarcastically implying that if I planned on turning this into a successful business, that I had another thing coming. I’m glad he was wrong.

So why am I telling you this story when this is supposed to be a book review? While I was on the receiving end of much doubt and lack of interest for my new online magazine venture, there were two individuals that greeted my endeavor with enthusiasm and support. One of them was Craig Cobine, who is now the director of the Chicago show. The other was Rick Newcombe.

When I returned home, I had encouraging emails from both gentlemen. In the earlier days, I would send out mass emails to all of the registered members of providing links to new content. Rick was one of the few, out of thousands of recipients, to actually reply with encouraging words and telling me to keep up the good work. He was also one of the first people to ever sign up for a membership to the site. His emails werre motivating to me, and his book will be motivating to you.

Ironically, while I was star-struck to meet the author whilst reading his first book, a couple of years later when the revised edition came out ("In Search of Pipe Dreams" Returns with Color Photos and Updated Text), I was included in one of the photographs and had a mention in the book. In "Still Searching for Pipe Dreams" I have three mentions … and a signed copy again.

You should definitely get this book. There are all kinds of great stories with interesting real-life pipe smoking characters, and many major-players from the business and collecting side of the hobby. There are some controversial and other not-so-controversial beliefs and discussions—and lots of optimism and enthusiasm for pipe smoking and collecting.

For the pipe smoker that enjoys reading, this book flies by. I easily knocked it out between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I accompanied my reading with one pipe Saturday afternoon, and two back-to-back pipes Sunday morning into lunch time. I finished the third pipe at the same time I finished the book. Just as I wished my pipe had not run out, I also wished there were more words to read. It’s a 3-pipe book, but a 5-star read. There are 173 pages including the epilogue by Tad Gage.

Some of the topics include discussions such as; What Makes a Good Smoking Pipe?, and Pipe Prices and Pipe Friendships. There is also Favorite Pipe of the Day where several prominent collectors were surveyed and describe which pipe of the day is their favorite and why. You will also learn about the exploding interest in pipes in China and enjoy direct quotes from giants in the business, such as Jess Chonowitsch, Bo Nordh, Lars Ivarsson, and more.

If you like to hold a book in your hand, you can get the soft-cover printed edition here- Still Searching for Pipe Dreams. The Kindle e-book is here –  Still Searching for Pipe Dreams If you’d like to have Rick read his book to you in an audio version, you can download it from iTunes here.

Related: In Search of Pipe Dreams Book Review

Kevin Godbee and Rick Newcombe meet at the 2009 Chicago pipe show

1 Response

  • I am definitely looking forward to getting Rick’s new book. I have read his first one a few times and always enjoy re visiting it. His writing style is easy and fun and I like how he is not shy with his opinions. His opinion on an open draw opened my eyes and helped me a great deal in how I choose the pipes that I smoke. Thanks for posting this Kevin, I am going to order my copy today.