Critical Linking: August 2, 2012


It sounds ridiculous to say we fell in love at Borders, but we did. I left notes in Melanie’s locker that listed a title and page number and she’d find the book (I used Anne Sexton’s “Love Poems” often) and open to the poem I had previously found for her. We bought each other books with our store discount. We drank cups of free coffee and stocked books side by side.

Quick, someone get Zooey Deschanel’s agent on the line.


A quick glance through one of the many books that Melville owned and studied—his copy of The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, or Don Quixote, for example—reveals tangible evidence of his creative approach to reading: the pages are covered with markings and annotations. There are vertical scores, underlines, brackets, checks, double- and triple-checks, x’s, circles, as well as words, phrases, fragments of poetry, and even whole paragraphs of prose.

Is it any surprise that the crazy-genius who wrote Moby Dick had a pretty awesome library?


I have thrown away a number of successful careers out of boredom.

And this is perhaps the central reason Gore Vidal had such a singular literary career.


Scratch any serious reader and just below the skin is a would-be book seller. Most of them have their some day shops clearly in mind.

This feels true to me. In fact, I would guess most serious readers would rather own a bookstore than write the books themselves.

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