My Shelf of Shame
We’ve all heard of Shelfies at this point. A better sort of Instagram pic for book lovers. But I have a distasteful Shelfie to share. It’s my Shelf of Shame.
It’s because of the stack of books on this shelf in my hallway which I liked enough to buy, but not enough to start reading. How did I come to this?
They look as good as they did on the day I bought them. But something happens to them after a relatively short amount of time. They become boring. They look at me accusingly from the shelf, their smoothly rigid spines indignant in their crispness.
Our relationship – me and the books – starts to fracture. I have to be honest about it. I fall out of love. I go off them. It’s fickle. But what can I do?
A Literary Harem of Ill-Used Concuspines
They call to me.
Me: “Er, yes. Hi.”
Pitiful Unread Book: “C’mon, pet. You wanted me once. You bought me. I’m lonely. Why won’t you read me?”
Me: “I will! I will. It’s just that – well, I don’t quite feel the same, I’m afraid.”
Pitiful Unread Book: “Excuse me?”
Me: “Well, when I bought you, you were all shiny and new, and promised a great deal. Escapism, a good way to spend a rainy bus journey, etcetera. But now, you’re kind of sloppy seconds.”
Pitiful Unread Book: “I beg your pardon?”
Me: “You see, you’re kind of tainted, now. I obviously liked other things a lot more than you, because I read them before you. And you just sat there, becoming a bit rubbish, if you must know. Now, you’ve turned into something I should read, rather than something I want to read.”
Pitiful Unread Book: “But that’s not my fault! I haven’t changed!”
Me: “Well, maybe I have. I’m afraid it’s just not working for me any more. I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. But you’re going to have to stay on my Shelf of Shame.”
Books Are For Reading, Not Just For Furniture
I am a fickle reader. When I’m in the mood, I might buy any book which takes my fancy. But then other things get in the way – like finishing another book first; writing myself, meaning I don’t have the time or don’t want to be distracted; or simply, shinier, funnier stuff which somehow makes the other new books on the shelf seem tedious or chore-like in comparison. And I just don’t fancy them any more.
The moral of the story is that I should just never bulk-buy. And yet I continue to do so.
Most pertinently – and this is the game-changer – I’m not even talking here about e-Readers. How many thousands of books are stacked on Kindles today, never ever to see the light of day?
Do you have a Shelf of Shame? What, for you, is the difference between a book you should read, and a book you can’t wait to read?