There are, however, quotable bits in spades, so I'm just gonna let Morley take it from here. Many of these could be a framed manifesto on the wall of any indie bookstore. Or a tattoo:
- "I am not a dealer in merchandise but a specialist in adjusting the book to the human need. Between ourselves, there is no such thing, abstractly, as a 'good' book. A book is 'good' only when it meets some human hunger or refutes some human error. . . . My pleasure is to prescribe books for such patients as drop in here and are willing to tell me their symptoms."
- "Living in a bookshop is like living in a warehouse of explosives."
- "The life of a bookseller is very demoralizing to the intellect," he went on after a pause. "He is surrounded by innumerable books; he cannot possibly read them all; he dips into one and picks up a scrap from another. His mind gradually fills itself with miscellaneous flotsam, with superficial opinions, with a thousand half-knowledges. Almost unconsciously he begins to rate literature according to what people ask for."
- "One thing, however, you must grant the good bookseller. he is tolerant. He is patient of all ideas and theories. . . . He is willing to be humbugged for the weal of humanity. He hopes unceasingly for good books to be born."
- "[A gathering of booksellers is] likely to be a little--shall we say--worn at the bindings, as becomes men who have forsaken worldly profit to pursue a noble calling ill rewarded in cash."
- "The beauty of being a bookseller is that you don't have to be a literary critic: all you have to do to books is enjoy them."
- "I will tell you a secret. I have never read King Lear, and have purposely refrained from doing so. If I were ever very ill I would only need to say to myself 'You can't die yet, you haven't read Lear.' That would bring me round, I know it would."