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.