I love walking into a bookstore. It's like all my friends are sitting on shelves, waving their pages at me.
Ultimately, the number of books always exceeds the space they are granted.
In my living room there are two large bookcases, each one eight feet tall, and they have about five hundred books between them. If I step up to a shelf and look at the books one by one, I can remember something about each. As a historian once said, some stare at me reproachfully, grumbling that I have never read them. One may remind me vaguely of a time when I was interested in romantic novels. An old college text will elicit a pang of unhappiness about studying. Each book has its character, and even books I know very well also have this kind of wordless flavor. Now if I step back from the shelf and look quickly across both bookcases I speed up that same process a hundredfold. Impressions wash across my awareness. But each book still looks back in its own way, answering the rude brevity of my gaze, calling faintly to me out of the corner of my eye. At that speed many books remain wrapped in the shadows of my awareness--I know I have looked past them and I know they are there, but I refuse to call them to mind.
My brother and I were able to fantasize far more extravagantly about our parents' tastes and desires, their aspirations and their vices, by scanning their bookcases than by snooping in their closest. Their selves were on their shelves.
Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away. Filmmaker John Waters has said, “Nothing is more important than an unread library.
We are much more likely to be drawn to a messy bookstore than a neat one because the mess signifies vitality. We are not drawn to a bookstore because of tasteful, Finnish shelves in gunmetal gray mesh, each one displaying three carefully chosen, color-coordinated covers. Clutter -- orderly clutter, if possible -- is what we expect. Like a city. It's not quite a city unless there's more than enough.
Browsing through the shelves in bookstores or libraries, I was completely happy.