Some guests look through their host's drawers. Some guests nose around in the frig. Me? I snoop around other people's bookshelves.
It's a bit of a compulsion with me. I'll be sitting in my hostess' living room, nodding and smiling as she chats with me, all the while stealing quick glances over her shoulder at the imposing wooden bookcase just beyond. It's crammed with books- some are even hardcover! My mind races, and I'm just dying to know which books she's got there. Maybe an old favorite of mine? Maybe a newly released bestseller that's not yet available in the library? Or- dare I even think it? Maybe, just maybe, a great biography or a coffee table book about archaeology complete with some kick-ass pictures of ancient ruins?
And I'm just dying to get rid of my hostess for a few minutes so I can run over and paw my way through her books.
The best scenario, of course, is staying overnight in a house that has great books. Instead of sleeping, you can stay up all night reading. (And in the morning, when you look awful, your hostess will assume that you didn't sleep well because the bed was uncomfortable, and she will feel bad and make you a great breakfast. It's an added bonus.)
Needless to say, the ultimate goal is to select two or three books from among the treasures, gaze at them rapturously, and act surprised and delighted when your hostess offers to let you borrow them.
Just don't forget to return them within a week or two or next time she won't let you anywhere near her bookcase, and that would be a real shame.
Recommended recent reads:
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
Rashi's Daughters, Book 1: Joheved by Maggie Anton
Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine
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