The Shame Pile

My living room has a very handy built-in bookshelf (although the amount of different compartments meant it took a long time when I moved in to paint over the old nicotine-stained paint). The majority of my books live on the bigger bookshelves in my bedroom, but the living room houses the Shame Pile.

As at the time of writing we are in the middle of a pandemic, and I now have to stay completely indoors for 7 days due to swollen tonsils, the Shame Pile comes into its own (along with the Digital Shame Pile on my Kobo e-reader) The Shame Pile houses the books that Italo Calvino might call Books You Have Not Yet Quite Got Round to Reading. Hoarding unread books is a common and (probably?) forgivable vice. The big multi-floor branch of Foyles on Charing Cross Road in London is a particularly dangerous place to walk past.

The full list from Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller:

Sections in the bookstore

  • Books You Haven’t Read
  • Books You Needn’t Read
  • Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
  • Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
  • Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
  • Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
  • Books Too Expensive Now and You’ll Wait ‘Til They’re Remaindered
  • Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
  • Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
  • Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too
  • Books You’ve Been Planning to Read for Ages
  • Books You’ve Been Hunting for Years Without Success
  • Books Dealing with Something You’re Working on at the Moment
  • Books You Want to Own So They’ll Be Handy Just in Case
  • Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
  • Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
  • Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
  • Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time to Re-read
  • Books You’ve Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It’s Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them”

The Shame Pile currently stands 75 high, so plenty of reading material there.

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