The following quotes come from A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Lore, and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan with a forward by Ray Bradbury.
“We are the people who can spend hours browsing through the shelves of a bookstore, completely oblivious not only to the passage of time, but to everything else around us. One of the editors of this book, in fact, was once so engrossed in browsing through the shelves of the old Brentano’s on Fifth Avenue in New York that it took him some moments to recognize that the man standing in front of him was his father.” – From the Introduction
“Summer vacation is a time for reading, and my friends come to me to borrow books because I have more than most people. In their innocence, they have no idea what I go through in lending a book. They don’t understand that I think of myself as offering them love, truth, beauty, wisdom, and consolation against death. Nor do they suspect that I feel about lending a book the way most fathers feel about their daughters living with a man out of wedlock.” – Anatole Broyard, “Lending Books”
“. . .When I loaned this book, I deemed it as lost; I was resigned to the business of the long parting; I never thought to look upon its pages again. But now that my book has come back to me, I rejoice and am exceedingly glad! Bring hither the fatted morocco and let us rebind the volume and set it on the shelf of honor, for this my book was lent and is returned again. Presently, therefore, I may return some of the books I myself have borrowed.” – Christopher Morley, “On the Return of a Book Lent to a Friend.”
Chaim Grade was a Jewish writer who wrote in Yiddish, then had his works translated into English. He is an example of a bibliomaniac. He had books everywhere in his New York City apartment: on bookcases, on book shelves (some above doorways), on tables, under tables, under beds and couches, everywhere! Though not well known by many people, he was a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. He lost to Alice Walker who won for The Color Purple. Harold Rabinowitz (yes, one of the editors of A Passion for Books) translated many of Grade’s works into English and got to know him very well while collaborating on the translations. The following shows just how fanatical Grade was about accumulating books.
“The space under the tables; the corners of every room (who goes there?), including the kitchen next to the sink and the bathroom behind the toilet; the bottom half of the laundry hamper (yes, I looked); and the rear of the kitchen cabinets—the front half was room enough for the few dishes and foods a couple used—all were packed with neatly stacked books. One night, while Chaim and I were eating some of his wife’s broiled flounder (just a guess), he asked me if I knew what the effect of extreme cold was on books, and I could feel the woman in the kitchen [his wife] tense up until I assured him that it would ruin the bindings and warp the paper. The refrigerator was safe (for the time being).” – Harold Rabinowitz, A Passion for Books
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Yogi Berra, the great Yankee catcher, recently died at the age of 90. In a previous post I shared some of his Yogi-isms with you. Here are a few more.
- “Pair up in threes.”
- “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
- “Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.”
- “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
- “How can you think and hit at the same time?”
- “It gets late early out here.”
- “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”
- “We have deep depth.”
- “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
- “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
- After some naked streakers ran across the field Berra was asked if they were men or women. He responded: “I don’t know. They had bags over their heads.”
- “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
- “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
- “So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
- “Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”
- “A lot of guys go, ‘Hey, Yog, say a Yogi-ism.’ I tell ’em, ‘I don’t know any.’ They want me to make one up. I don’t make ’em up. I don’t even know when I say it. They’re the truth. And it is the truth. I don’t know.”