I went up to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair the other week. I’ve collected books since I was a teenager. When I was a little boy I collected birds’ nests. There’s something about collecting that’s connected to childhood — amazement at the world, maybe, generating a desire to possess it…in acts of undercover self-definition. It’s the classic need to own “pure” beauty and so be reflected there, subtly sabotaged by the realization that nothing is owned that isn’t internal. One does want one’s books to love oneself only, but they never do; they’re available to all.

Read the full story here: Richard Hell: Confessions of a Book Collector