David Harsanyi talks about his personal library:
Not long ago, I popped into a Salvation Army store in suburban Maryland to check out the used-book section. I’d unearthed plenty of gems in similar places, so it wasn’t surprising that the visit proved similarly productive. Home came copies of William Safire’s On Language and the novel Van Loon’s Lives, an 890-page tome written in 1942 that imagines what dinner parties featuring some of history’s most famous people might look like — Torquemada dines with Robespierre, Saint Francis with Mozart, and so on. Or, at least, this is what Wikipedia informs me Van Loon’s Lives is about. The thing is, I probably won’t read Van Loon’s Lives. Actually, I may never again crack open Van Loon’s Lives. Yet there it sits on my bookshelf between well-worn copies of A Short History of Byzantium and A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton — and, if I have my way, there it will sit for the next 30 years.
What he says matches my experience, although instead of hitting the local thrift stores frequently, I hit book fairs and sales where I can really stock up. And on box days, I might as well pick up ever more esoteric titles and subjects because 1)it fits in the box/bag, and I’m paying a flat fee for the box or bag anyway, so I might as well fill it up, and 2)If no one buys it, it will be shredded into kitty litter (Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library sale anyway).