I came across this great paragraph in an essay by Will Self in Granta 65, titled “Big Dome”:
The wall opposite the sunny window is tiled with the spines of some 1,600 battered paperbacks. They are umber, grey, brown and blue, they are as pleasingly textured and involving to the eye as the robes of the couple in Klimt’s The Kiss, a reproduction of which hangs on the wall opposite me. Their battered backs are a mnemonic of my own history. Despite the gearing of my own book collection into that of my wife, this impression has been enhanced, rather than diminished. It must be because we are both the same kind of trampish bibliophagists. Unlike other, more fastidious types, our collecting instinct is akin to the spirit in which homeless people acquire shopping trolleys then use them to mass everything the verge, the the bin, the gutter has to offer, creating small mobile monuments to obsolescence.This exactly describes my own book collecting habit. I am far from a snob, believing that interesting information and distraction may be had from the most humble volumes.