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Kenneth Grahame on why the book-buyer buys books

It’s as if he knew me:


"It will never be clear to the lay mind why the book-buyer buys books. That it is not to read them is certain: the closest inspection always fails to find him thus engaged. He will talk about them – all night if you let him – wave his hand to them, shake his fist at them, shed tears over them ( in the small hours of the morning); but still he will not read them. Yet it would be rash to infer that he buys his books without a remote intention of ever reading them. Most book-lovers start with the honest resolution that some day they will "shut down on" this fatal practice. Then they purpose to themselves to enter into their charmed circle, and close the gates of Paradise behind them. Then will they read out of nothing but first editions; every day shall be a debauch in large paper and tall copies; and crushed morocco shall be familiar to their touch as buckram. Meanwhile though, books continue to flaunt their venal charms; it would be cowardice to shun the fray. In fine, one buys and continues to buy; and the promised Sabbath never comes."

                                  From Pagan Papers (John Lane, 1898, 6th Edition)

Should however hastily mention that I am currently reading Anna Karenina (stay tuned for fallout).

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2 Responses to “Kenneth Grahame on why the book-buyer buys books”

  1. Don Lindgren Says:

    But certainly not a first, in large paper, of Anna Karenina?

  2. Nigel Beale Says:

    Certainly not Don…and not in Russian either, in case you were wondering.

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