I sometimes wonder if the love of books is not distinct from the love of reading. We insatiable readers hold that the things are intertwined inextricably, but there are surely those who acquire books that they never hope to be able to read. The glamour is something beyond the merely intellectual, but it may possibly rest upon unconscious recognition of the fact that books are the repositories of mind and spirit. It will be recalled that in his The Backs of Books, 1926, we are told delightfully by Dr. Warner Bishop that he has known librarians who carried in their minds the names of at least a hundred thousand books, and further he tells us that such knowledge springs from our familiarity with the outsides of books: “how well do little matters of shape, size, colour, location, impress themselves indelibly upon us and aid us to earn our living!” Just so. Every book, too, has an individuality—even when it is one of a series. It is quite a satisfying sensation just to feel some books. I know I can recognize in the dark any book of mine, wherever I may have shed it in the house, by the mere handling, and I have no doubt that many others share this faculty.
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