Thursday, August 03, 2006

Part II
How did you get into the Book Business?

"How did you get into the Book Business?"
Long Story - Medium Length Version

During my youth in Philadelphia I found that I loved going to book stores.
I had been climbing ladders at Leary's since I was seven, seeking out the oldest and dustiest (and frequently cheapest) books. I don't really remember buying anything. I just liked the look and feel and smell of them. The way the words were impressed upon the pages hundreds of years ago - just waiting for me to find them, and learn from them. I frequently found myself standing on a ladder like the iconic bookworm that they used in various forms as a logo.

I often saw myself in that image.

In the Fall of 1980 I wrote a piece inspired by the image for one of our "ECLECTIC" catalogs:


The Book Collector is by nature and practice a confirmed eclectic.

He strains at the topmost step of an old library ladder
in search of a certain book,
when his mind and eye chance to fall upon another.

The look of the spine alone - gilt, or blind, or bare
stimulates a curiosity that requires instant satisfaction.

"Author, Title, Place and Date" are his at first opening.

Before long, a passage or two fascinates the finder
and he chortles to himself with pleasure or thought.

This dulset adventure suggests another volume,
with an argument or tale
that would be satisfactory and interesting to find.

Another hunt is made,
and then another.
With books in each hand,
under arm, and between knees...
he stands poised upon his uneasy perch
and reads.

The hours pass unnoticed.
It is a luxurious and enjoyable time.
A pursuit that fills the mind
with varied knowledge and wisdom.

ec-lec'tic, (Greek: eklektikos, from elegein; to select, pick-out).
Selecting: choosing: not from one model or leader,
but choosing at will from the doctrines, works, philosophies, etc... of others.

"Cicero was of the eclectic sect,
and chose out of each,
such positions as came nearest truth"
- Watts

... To Be Continued ...


Blogger BooksRare said...

Please remember that you can't write to me here. Write to me at:

3:00 PM  
Blogger BooksRare said...

Please remember that you can't write to me here. Write to me at:

Mitch wrote that he may have one of the original painted Leary's signs.

I hope he can EMail me directly so that we can discuss this. Thanks, Ron

3:02 PM  

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