In the years that I was educated, books were the conspicuous consumption of an intellectual. And by books I mean the paper product, which with its distinctive textures, colors and flavors is bound between envelopes.
In order not to be hidden under the bushel of an electronic device, they once lined floor-to-ceiling shelves in the houses of professors and authors. The spines were delicious in their variety of colors and strength.
My own consumption bordered on gluttony. In those years before online databases, I tracked library sales, farm sales, and flea markets. I have sent postcards to alert rare book retailers to my “wishes”. When I was out on business, I routinely spent my meal allowance on books that I devoured between meetings, on public transport, in waiting rooms – wherever and whenever. I would go without sleep and read more.
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