Saturday, July 07, 2012
My Fabulous Boring Book Collection
By BRUCE HANDY - Published: July 6, 2012 - New York Times
I collect boring books, which probably even sounds boring. I assure you it’s not. By “boring books” I don’t mean boring in the sense that an out-of-date psychology textbook or a 900-page history of dairy farming in the Hebrides is boring. Books like those, with their inherently limited readerships, aren’t aiming to be anything other than boring; they wear their boringness on their sleeves. They are obviously boring. What I am after are books that are uniquely, exquisitely, profoundly boring — books whose boringness intrigues, if that is not a contradiction in terms.
My hobby has two rules: I buy books only on the street. (Uniquely boring books must present themselves willingly; you can’t hunt them down.) And the titles must meet a standard of boring intrigue that I have a hard time putting into words, beyond “I know it when I see it.” This is where — if I may shed any pretense of modesty — taste and connoisseurship come into play.