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These two books will lead you down a rabbit hole to unexpected literary delights

But how, you may wonder, do the essays in “A Wild Tumultory Library” work their bibliophilic magic? Say that Valentine hears about a curious-sounding book, perhaps “The Hours and the Centuries” by Peter de Mendelssohn. “I remember my delight,” he writes, “when I at last found a copy in a Suffolk cottage bookshop” and “at a very modest price.” The novel, he continues, “is set in France, in a decaying clifftop city, to which inhabitants from many ages seem to return, for it is a sort of time-slip story. But what matters most is the unusual atmosphere of the book. I have found other copies since and given them to friends, and all are agreed about that peculiar tone of the book, which I can best describe by saying it is like the days when summer slowly gives way to autumn.”

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