Many years ago I was in a pub with some flatmates when one of their friends pulled a book from the nearby shelf and started to read aloud from it. The book was by Baden-Powell, that scoutmaster extraordinaire, and we were regaled with advice on how boys aught to be thoroughly exercised so as to not have any surplus energy for exploring themselves with their hands. Suffice to say that a few beers were sprayed in laughter. This episode sometimes comes to mind whenever I’m near a bookshelf in a pub. I get caught between rolling my eyes at the theming that pubs have undergone in the last few decades, and an automatic reflex to tilt my head and browse the titles. On occasion I’ll pull something off (no Baden-Powell pun intended) to examine.
What I find myself doing these days, on account of being a secondhand seller, is assessing books. In this case of the book pictured here, some post-pub research established that my guess at its price and year of publication (the latter of which was missing) was close. While perusing it and another volume with my drinking companion, I noticed somebody else pulling books to have a look. Is this practice more commonplace that one might expect? I have to say that I might not have noticed somebody else doing it were it not for doing it myself.