Marginalia, no.70

Esther liked books out where everyone could see them, a sort of graphic index to the intricate labyrinth of her mind arranged to impress the most casual guest.

~ William Gaddis, The Recognitions

A psychology of bookshelves.  But there might be other explanations beyond sheer vanity.  First, it helps to draw a distinction between wanting one’s books in reach and wanting them in view.  The former is for those of us who’ve given up hope of having many friends other than books; the latter suggests vanity but may also serve for those who still hope to attract human friends with like interests, without loving their books any less.

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