Rick Gekoski’s ‘bibliomemoir’ opens with a telling anecdote. He split from his wife, Barbara, in the 1980s. They moved to separate residences. She took temporary custody of his books, his new place being short on shelves. When, after the decree, he had finally made room for his treasures, she declined to hand them over. It precipitated an existential crisis: ‘My books were gone. It prompted the questions, at once psychological and metaphysical: Was I still me? Who am I with no books?’ The loss of a spouse of twenty years was, one gathers, nothing by comparison.
I resided for many years some fifty feet from Rick’s book dealership in Pied Bull Yard. I would pass him sitting for all the world to see in his ground-floor office, on a throne-like office chair, behind the single frosted word ‘GEKOSKI’ on the crystalline glass.