Book Shopping with Michael Dirda

Incredible piece by John Lingan at The Paris Review Daily:

“I’m just a sucker for pretty books,” Dirda explained as we turned into the kids’ section. “Anything glossy and new is probably not interesting.”

And how many of these pretty things does he own, anyway?

“Impossible to say,” he said, reaching for a hardcover of The Wind and the Willows. “Maybe ten thousand? Most are in boxes. I have a storage unit, too. I keep the ones I haven’t read on the shelves in my living room to pressure myself.” I’m familiar with this tactic. The largest shelf in my office at home is filled with unread books, most purchased at this very bookstore.

The Grahame didn’t hold his interest, so we turned around and started on the picture books. He lingered at the Sci-Fi/Series shelf, where yellow and blue Hardy Boys hardcovers dominated. He sighed. “I check every time for Rick Brant’s ‘Electronic Adventure’ series and usually get nothing. Also anything Tom Swift. I love that stuff. Boy heroes.” Having exhausted that shelf, he led me down the walkway toward the classics.

More from Conversational Reading:

  1. Michael Dirda Says Ordinary People Still Read Buddenbrooks After making the enormous claim that "German prose literature really excels in short stories and novellas," Michael Dirda goes on to say No, before Thomas...
  2. New Michael Pollan Book Once again, Michael Pollan is arguing for sanity in our consumption of food. From the SF Chronicle’s review of An Eater’s Manifesto: Most of all,...
  3. Another Big British Book What’s with the British and extremely humungo reference books? First the OED and now this: In Brian Harrison’s office, arrayed in the simple livery of...
  4. Every Book Published in England for 400 Years The Guardian has a very interesting article on the Bodleian library in Oxford. The lede is that Bodleian is has found facilities to store some...
  5. Dirda on Canti Michael Dirda reviews the new bilingual translation of Giacomo Leopardi's poetry, done by FSG editor Jonathan Galassi....

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If you’re interested, here’s a podcast interview I did with Mr. Dirda recently for the Virtual Memories Show.

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