"In the dusty, damp or dismal purlieus of second-hand bookshops"

Theodore Dalrymple usually writes pessimistic pieces on the corruption of modern society. As a prison doctor he cornered the market in vignettes of the prison infirmary which expressed contemporary abdications of personal responsibility, laziness, fecklessness and cruelty.

He also likes second-hand bookshops.
How many hours, among the happiest of my life, have I spent in the dusty, damp or dismal purlieus of second-hand bookshops, where mummified silverfish, faded pressed flowers and very occasionally love letters are to be found in books long undisturbed on their shelves. With what delight do I find the word ''scarce" pencilled in on the flyleaf by the bookseller, though the fact that the book has remained unsold for years, possibly decades, suggests that purchasers are scarcer still. Alas, second-hand bookshops are closing daily, driven out of business by the combination of a general decline in reading, the internet and that most characteristic of all modern British institutions, the charity shop. Booksellers tell me that 90 per cent of their overheads arise from their shops, and 90 per cent of their sales from the internet.
The story in the last three paragraphs about the purchase of "a slim paperback entitled Making Sense of the NHS Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures" is hilarious.

One of the commenters gives additional pleasure – unintended by him – in his denunciation of Dalrymple's central thesis. With all due respect to citizens of the Great Republic (at least one of whom reads this blog), I fear this bloke might be ("book stores", "outlet stores", general love of order and efficiency) one of yours.

I like to pretend I avoid buying from charity shops because of the threat they pose to the trade. Actually it is because I hardly ever go in second-hand bookshops any more. However, I do dream about them.