My dream job. You want your Zoom colleagues to think you’re smart? You want them to think you’re disaffected and nihilistic? You want them to think you’re spiritual, but not like a dumb crystal-clutcher? Hire me. We’ll sit down, discuss your needs, and I’ll provide you with two shelves of books to buy, along with a Coles’ Notes-like synopsis of each book in your new Lie-brary, in case anyone calls you out on it? And I’ll even suggest how to arrange them so they don’t look too staged (the secret is ADHD-induced disorder). “Oh, this little old, well-thumbed copy of Cavafy? Yes, yes, just read it again yesterday out on the deck. Well, first thing you have to know about this is something about the author and the time in which he lived…”
In early April, just a few weeks after non-essential businesses in Massachusetts were shut down due to COVID-19, the staff at the Brattle Book Shop noticed that some prominent personalities conducting video interviews from home were seated in front of fairly lackluster bookshelves.
So staffers at the legendary 185-year-old antiquarian bookseller in the heart of downtown Boston offered to help them out.
In an April 7 Twitter post, they offered their expertise to prospective customers seeking a more sophisticated look — or at least a tidier one, free of worn copies of old paperbacks. The local media took note of the tweet and soon the phone started ringing.