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302 pages, Paperback
First published July 29, 2008
“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”
"That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive - all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."
"On the afternoon before our wedding, Rob was moving in the last of his clothes and belongings while I delivered my Izzy article to the Spectator. When I was through, I tore home, flew up the stairs, and threw open the door to find Rob sitting on a low stool in front of my bookcase, surrounded by cartons. He was sealing the last one up with gummed tape and string. There were eight boxes—eight boxes of my books bound up and ready for the basement!
He looked up and said, "Hello, darling. Don't mind the mess, the porter said he'd help me carry these down to the basement."
He nodded toward my bookshelves and said, "Don't they look wonderful?"
Well, there were no words! I was too appalled to speak. Sidney, every single shelf—where my books had stood—was filled with athletic trophies. There were awards for every game that could possibly be played with a wooden object. There were statues for everything a man could jump over.
All I could do was scream, "How dare you! What have you DONE?! Put my books back!"
Well, that's how matters started. Eventually, I said something to the effect that I could never marry a man whose idea of bliss was to strike out at little balls and little birds. Rob countered with remarks about damned bluestockings and shrews. And it all degenerated from there”
"All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged—after all, what's good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it's a lie. The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot."
"I love seeing the bookshops and meeting the booksellers—booksellers really are a special breed. No one in their right mind would take up clerking in a bookstore for the salary, and no one in his right mind would want to own one—the margin of profit is too small. So, it has to be a love of readers and reading that makes them do it—along with first dibs on the new books."
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
"It was amazing to me then, and still is, that so many people who wander into bookshops don't really know what they're after—they only want to look around and hope to see a book that will strike their fancy. And then, being bright enough not to trust the publisher's blurb, they will ask the book clerk the three questions: (1) What is it about? (2) Have you read it? (3) Was it any good?"