“A good book ought to be like Eve; it ought to come from somewhere near the third rib: there ought to be a heart beating in it.”
Helen McGill often wonders if there’s not a lot of bunkum in higher education. As an author’s spinster sister, she has her own list of complaints to level against books, but when she meets a travelling bookseller named Roger Mifflin, she uncovers an undreamed of world of literary impracticality: kidnapping plots, German spies and old men who just won’t change.
“Living in a bookshop is like living in a warehouse of explosives. Those shelves are ranked with the most furious combustibles in the world—the brains of men. I can spend a rainy afternoon reading, and my mind works itself up to such a passion and anxiety over mortal problems as almost unmans me. It is terribly nerve-racking. Surround a man with Carlyle, Emerson, Thoreau, Chesterton, Shaw, Nietzsche, and George Ade—would you wonder at his getting excited?”
Christopher Morley (1890–1957) was an American journalist, novelist, essayist and poet. A prolific author, he wrote more than a hundred novels, essays and poems. Parnassus on Wheels (1917) and The Haunted Bookshop (1919) were his first two novels.