Steve with some of his books.

Books weigh heavily in the life of Steve Wasserman, the new publisher and executive director of Berkeley’s Heyday Books. So much so that when he moved from Connecticut to take the job, he shipped his 14,000-pound personal library and installed it on pristine white shelves that fill most of the wall space in the company’s warren-like offices on University Avenue.

But books, as Wasserman clearly exudes, walking a visitor through his carefully devised shelving system of some 15,000 volumes, aren’t just objects of pride and possession. They mean things, signify things in a culture that can seem indifferent if not hostile to what they embody.

“Ideas matter,” he says. “Writing well is the best revenge.”

Steve was reared in Berkeley, so his return to his roots at age 64 is fitting. A good thing for California, too: “He’s probably as knowledgeable about books and ideas as anyone alive,” said Robert Scheer, the Southern California author and journalist who has known Steven for nearly half a century. “To find someone who is both an excellent editor and agent and doesn’t feel competitive with you as a writer is very rare. He’s the total package.”

And we’d like to know a little bit more about that “carefully devised shelving system.” We could use one ourselves.

Read the whole thing here.