Bookstores

“Alas! Where is human nature so weak as in the book-store!” – Henry Ward Beecher

“The bookman appraises towns by the number of their bookshops: if they be few, the towns are dull, monotonous, ugly; to be shunned, disliked, or, at best, endured.” – Holbrook Jackson (The Anatomy of Bibliomania, 1950)

“In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which are frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you…And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You’ll Wait Till They’re Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too. ” — Italo Calvino (If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler)

“Is there…a jungle more filled with adventure than a secondhand bookstore?” – Erik Christian Haugaard

“Many a time I have stood before a…bookseller’s window, torn by conflict or intellectual desire and bodily need. At the very hour of dinner, when my stomach clamored for food, I have been stopped by sight of a volume so long coveted, and marked at such an advantageous price, that I could not let it go; yet to buy it meant pangs of famine.” – George Gissing (The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1902)

“No city is civilized that does not support a variety of bookshops.” – Lawrence Clark Powell (The Little Package, 1964)

“Some books are to be read in an hour, and returned to the shelf; others require a lifetime to savor their richness. Such books should be owned in personal copies, to travel with and to sleep beside – the most fruitful of all companions. Only your bookseller can consummate such a union of book and reader.” – Lawrence Clark Powell

“My husband claims I have an unhealthy obsession with secondhand bookshops. That I spend too much time daydreaming altogether. But either you intrinsically understand the attraction of searching for hidden treasure amongst rows of dusty shelves or you don’t; it’s a passion, bordering on a spiritual illness, which cannot be explained to the unaffected.” – Kathleen Tessaro (Elegance)

“{a reader] should live with more books than he reads, with a penumbra of unread pages, of which he knows the general character and content, fluttering round him. This is the purpose of libraries…. It is also the purpose of good bookshops, both new and secondhand, of which there are still some, and would that there were more. A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye. To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and the booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end.” – John Maynard Keynes

“Leaving any bookstore is hard, especially on a day in August, when the street outside burns and glares, and the books inside are cool and crisp to the touch; especially on a day in January, when the wind is blowing, the ice is treacherous, and the books inside seem to gather together in colorful warmth. It’s hard to leave a bookstore any day of the year, though, because a bookstore is one of the few places where all the cantankerous, conflicting, alluring voices of the world co-exist in peace and order and the avid reader is as free as a person can possibly be, because she is free to choose among them.” – Jane Smiley 

“So often, a visit to a bookshop has cheered me, and reminded me that there are good things in the world.” – Vincent van Gogh, 1877

“Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.” – Virginia Woolf (“Street Haunting”)

“The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.” – Andrew Ross

“When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.” – Christopher Morley


 

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