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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Forgotten pleasures

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 05 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3138
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Recently I spent a few days putting my books in order. It was hard physical labour, and frustrating too, for no sooner had I put them in one order than another suggested itself to me. There is, in fact, an almost infinite number of logical ways in which to order books. If exhaustion and boredom had not supervened I could have gone on for ever.

    The great advantage of arranging one’s books is that one knows thenceforth exactly where to put one’s hand on a desired volume. But there are advantages to disorder too: rummaging through the chaos I discovered anew, as if for the first time, books I forgot I possessed. Thus pleasure is repeatedly renewed.

    Among the …

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