Ersatz Intellectualism

June 30, 2012 | 4

My favorite part of my apartment is my wall-length bookshelf. When I look at it, I think of all the time I spent reading and accumulating its contents. I feel I’ve earned it, which is why I’m slightly insulted by Juniper Books’ $3,000-$100,000 “collection-development service,” a program designed for “people who want a library but haven’t had the time or inclination to amass a collection of books.”

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.


  1. There is, of course, nothing new about this. The rich have always wanted to look educated. Don’t you remember this part from Gatsby?:
    “The books?”

    He nodded.

    “Absolutely real–have pages and everything. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages and– Here! Lemme show you.”

    Taking our skepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the “Stoddard Lectures.”

    “See!” he cried triumphantly. “It’s a bona-fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too–didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?”–have%20pages%20and%20everything.&pg=PT51#v=onepage&q=Absolutely%20real–have%20pages%20and%20everything.&f=false

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