Writing about Orlando Furioso the other day reminded me of a piece of advice I've been meaning to share since I picked up at the Samuel Johnson birthplace museum in Lichfield, Staffordshire, back in April: should you ever find yourself back in eighteenth-century London, you should not give into the temptation to lend Dr. Johnson any books. The museum's holdings include a handbound copy of John Hoole's translation of Orlando Furioso, which Hoole himself lent to Johnson . . . and on which Johnson promptly spilled tea.
I bet he read borrowed books in the bathtub, too.