I met another dead woman today. She was someone’s mother, and when she died, a cousin got her books, and when the cousin died, the books ended up with a guy who promptly dumped them in his basement. “They’re in here somewhere,” he said, when I came out to his house.
I don’t know much about the collector, but I do know collectors have different motivations. Some collect to learn, some because there are authors they love, some because a collection allows them to manage something in a world that is unmanageable. I think this woman was in the latter category because most of the books were unread.
It took a while to dig the books out, but I was rewarded. Among her books was an unread, signed copy of “Fahrenheit 451” — a story about people who treasure books for what’s in them, found in a library of a woman who treasured books simply because they are books, sold to me by a guy who thought they made his house look messy.