Sunday Book-Thought 135

My bookshelves were more successful with Veronica than my record collection. In those days, paperbacks came in their traditional liveries: orange Penguins for fiction, blue Pelicans for non-fiction. To have more blue than orange on your shelf was proof of seriousness. And overall, I had enough of the right titles: Richard Hoggart, Steven Runciman, Huizinga, Eysenck, Empson… plus Bishop John Robinson’s Honest to God next to my Larry cartoon books. Veronica paid me the compliment of assuming I’d read them all, and didn’t suspect that the most worn titles had been bought second-hand.
– Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (London: Jonathan Cape, 2011), pp. 23-24.

Sunday Book-Thought 44

Everything fell, and Miss Sasaki lost consciousness. The ceiling dropped suddenly and the wooden floor above collapsed in splinters and the people up there came down and the roof above them gave way; but principally and first of all, the bookcases right behind her swooped forward and the contents threw her down, with her left leg horribly twisted and breaking underneath her. There, in the tin factory, in the first moment of the atomic age, a human being was crushed by books.
John Hersey