It’s too hot for me to think up anything, so I’m glad a reader sent me this wonderful quote I can pass along:
Sooner or later, every nook and corner will be filled with books, every window will be more or less darkened, and added shelves must be devised. He may find it hard to achieve just the arrangement he wants, but he will find it hardest of all to meet squarely that inevitable inquiry of the puzzled carpenter, as he looks about him, “Have you really read all these books?” The expected answer is, “To be sure, how can you doubt it?” Yet if you asked him in turn, “Have you actually used every tool in your tool-chest?” you would very likely be told, “Not one half as yet, at least this season ; I have the others by me, to use as I need them.” Now if this reply can be fairly made in a simple, well-defined, distinctly limited occupation like that of a joiner, how much more inevitable it is in a pursuit which covers the whole range of thought and all the facts in the universe. The library is the author’s tool-chest. He must at least learn, as he grows older, to take what he wants and to leave the rest.
It’s from the opening paragraph of “Books Unread,” by Thomas Wentworth Higginson; you can read the rest of it here, and I wouldn’t discourage you from doing so—it’s full of tidbits like the exchange with the custodian of the library at Blenheim. Thanks, Rick!