John Derbyshire has joined this fine site in admiting he has a problem:he is addicted to books:
I am in the doghouse. Actually, I am in the Derb house… which is small, and rapidly silting up with books. I can’t resist buying books, and can’t bear to get rid of them. My long-suffering wife was starting to grumble. Then, last week, I was in my local second-hand bookstore talking with the owner (Hi, George). He had just taken delivery of a full set of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the so-called “scholars’ edition,” because of the number of big-name academics and intellectuals that contributed articles. (Alfred North Whitehead did “Geometry”; a lot of the Eng. Lit. stuff is by Edmund Gosse.) He grumbled about the difficulty of moving such a big set of books. Second-hand booksellers nowadays sell most of their stuff by mail, thanks to wonderful sites like Abebooks. Now my man had to find a buyer for a 29-volume set, and then box it up and mail it out.
While he was telling me this, I was leafing through the volumes, and the little red demon perched on my left shoulder was winning out over the little white angel on my right. There was a brief spell of bargaining. I got the whole set for $115. Then came what Basil Fawlty used to call “the tricky bit” %u2014 explaining it to the wife. Heck, I don’t care, she’ll have to start speaking to me again sooner or l