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David Meyer

Memoirs of a Book Snake

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From the first chapter of Memoirs of a Book Snake:

A friend of mine once told me that her husband had gone to a hotel to watch a boxing match on short-circuit TV. What she meant was closed-circuit TV, but she talked on without realizing why she had made me laugh. Of course, the humor of a malapropism belongs to the moment it was rendered. I mention this one because it explains why my friend unintentionally tagged me with a misnomer which stuck for years.

"This is David Meyer," she said to a friend of hers. "He's a book snake."

"The term is 'worm'," I said. "A bookworm. Not a book snake."

Actually, I prefer the term "book scout," as that is what I do: scout for books.

Old bookshops have been the hunting grounds of my life. Also antique shops, second-hand resale shops, sometimes attics and basements, and just plain junk shops. No respectable dealer in antiquarian books would admit to visiting such places, but that's where the book scouts, true treasure hunters that they are, usually go. It's not the place that matters, its what you find there.