Gass likes to say that he lives in a library, and with an estimated 22,000 books organized by genre on shelves in almost every room of his three-story home, who could argue? (To be clear, however, he lives in a non-lending library.) Being around books--as well as reading them, of course--has always been an intense inspiration for Gass, from his days shirking his officer duties in the Navy while he stowed himself away reading Hemingway or Faulkner, to hiding out for hours on end in the stacks of the Cornell University library, to his long-time practice of purchasing some 30 new books every month for his home collection.