The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)

I discovered Morley after reading about his helping found the Baker Street Irregulars, and I figured any friend of SH is a literary friend of mine. This and Parnassus on Wheels are both cute stories (often called “charming,” I think because if the parts that feel dated) and, unexpectedly, page turners. There are a lot of references to presumably once-great (potentially still-great) literature that’s fallen out of fashion—writers we rarely hear of, books we never read anymore.


“It’s rather the custom in our shop to scoff at the book-buying public and call them boobs…” (having worked in a record store and seen (and read) High Fidelity it’s nice to know retail judgmentalism is nothing new)

“Just give them the book they ought to have even if they don’t know they want it.”

“That’s why I call this place the Haunted Bookshop. Haunted by the ghosts of the books I haven’t read.”

“Have you ever met a man without wondering what shining sorrows he hides from the world, what contrast between vision and accomplishment torments him?”

“A man can safely read Schopenhauer all evening if he has a tablespoonful of cocoa and a tin of condensed milk available.”

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