Spying on Other People’s Bookshelves

11-07-2008-home-library-14

From Theodore Dalrymple’s The Pleasure of Thinking: A Journey Through the Sideways Leaps of Ideas (Gibson Square Books, 2012):

“I know many people who, when they enter a house for the first time, are inclined (even if they control themselves) to go straight up to the bookshelves to find out what their hosts are made of: for taste is a more reliable guide to character than opinion. I am like this: I control myself, but in a room with a substantial number of books I feel a tension mounting in myself until I have found out what they are. Indeed, I often fake or manufacture a reason for sidling up to them, and examining them out of the corner of my eye.”

Quoted by Patrick Krup at his blog Anecdotal Evidence

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