In the years when I was educated, books were the conspicuous consumption of an intellectual. And by books I mean the paper product, bound between covers with its distinctive textures, colors, and aromas.
Not to be hidden under the bushel of an electronic device, they once lined floor-to-ceiling shelves in the homes of professors and authors. The spines were delectable in their variety of colors and stoutness.
My own consumption bordered on the gluttonous. In those years before online databases, I haunted library sales, yard sales, and garage sales. I sent off postcards alerting rare-book dealers to my “wants.” When I traveled for business, I routinely spent my meal allowance on books, which I devoured in between meetings, on public transportation, in waiting rooms—wherever, whenever. I would forgo sleep and still read more.