No, I am not imagining a book-burning, warmongering, anti-intellectual fascist regime – in my plan, there is no place for re ghters who light up the Homers and Lady Murasakis and Cao Xueqins stashed under your bed – because, for starters, I’m not banning literature per se. I’m banning the reading of literature. Purchasing and collecting books and other forms of literature remains perfectly legitimate as long as you don’t peruse the literature at hand.
And as I surveyed the clutter of his study I was pleased to see that he was a man after my own heart. All of his money appeared to have been spent on either books or shelves to hold them.
A professional headshot in front of a bookshelf says you're an intellectual. A professional headshot peeking though a bookshelf says you're probably under a restraining order.
Books and bookcases cropping up in stuff that I've written means that they have to be reproduced on stage or on film. This isn't as straightforward as it might seem. A designer will either present you with shelves lined with gilt-tooled library sets, the sort of clubland books one can rent by the yard as decor, or he or she will send out for some junk books from the nearest second-hand bookshop and think that those will do. Another short cut is to order in a cargo of remaindered books so that you end up with a shelf so garish and lacking of character it bears about as much of a relationship to literature as a caravan site does to architecture. A bookshelf is as particular to its owner as are his or her clothes; a personality is stamped on a library just as a shoe is shaped to the foot.
Harriet, to hide her excitement, had turned to the bookshelves in the corner between the windows and the fireplace. The books, untidily arranged, some standing, some piled on their sides, with newspapers and magazines wedged among them, confused her. There were no sets and a great many were paper-backed. She saw friends - Mr. Dickens was present — and nodding acquaintances - Laurence Sterne, for instance, and Theodore Dreiser — but they were among strangers: Henry Miller, Norman Douglas, Saki, Ronald Firbank, strangers all.