The Shame Pile

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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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