Why are my most interesting books always the ones unshelved? The plain answer, the one made of leather and wood, says they’re the newest, the most novel, and as such of the most immediate interest, the yearning that inspired their purchase smoldering most fiercely. Or even the ones retrieved from high perches or cold cellars, snatched from their alphabetical order into a dusty chaos, their previously prescribed value, strong enough to own in the first place, an underestimate following new information, a surprising reference in a newer text, that warrants their reevaluation.

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