The latest excerpt from Second Opinion:
There are two types of people who attend provincial book fairs: the tweeded pedants, of whom I am one, and the nylon-padded monomaniacs, who tend to smell unwashed and who collect books on (say) road building or double-decker buses of the world….But we are all eyed with something approaching malevolence by many of the booksellers…
I knew a bookseller who was so ill-disposed to his clientele that he often would not open his door to them, and those privileged persons that he allowed to enter were subjected to recordings of Schoenberg to ensure that they did not linger. He once refused to sell me a history of Sierra Leone – I was writing a book about Liberia at the time – because he thought my purposes in wishing to possess it were insufficiently serious. He thought my projected book frivolous. Several reviewers agreed with him, I am sad to say.
Read the whole thing.