Category Archives: books

Books v. gumshoes

Dalrymple explains that if there is one thing he has learnt in life, it is never to go anywhere without a book to read.

But one time, when he found himself stuck at an hotel in Los Angeles, he discovered that for some reason he had brought no book with him. So he started reading the telephone directory, the yellow pages. First he looked up bookshops, and there were just a very few entries, taking up less than a quarter of a page; then he looked up private detectives, and there were at least 50 pages of them.

Dalrymple bookshelves

From the Wanderlust interview

Decay of the second-hand bookshop

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-15-12-34Dalrymple writes that he has been

obsessed by books all my life,

and today he feels

the melancholy that I suppose old artisans must once have felt when their trade became industrialised. All these years I have been on the wrong, or at least losing, side of history.

In England, he points out, second-hand bookshops have been killed by

  • the internet
  • the odious soi-disant charity Oxfam
  • the loss of interest in browsing other than on a computer