Anyone who calls themselves a Reader will know The Pile. Go look at your bookshelf... what do you see? There are the books you've just finished, stuffed lovingly between the ones you read over and over again. If you're like me, you see books from your childhood; books you're saving for friends; monsters that were a big part of your college education that you can't bring yourself to get rid of. Looking good!
OK, but wait... look closely. What about all those books that you bought/were given many moons ago, but you just haven't gotten around to reading? Are those unread titles, neglected and gathering dust amongst your best-loved classics, burning their images into your retinas? Telling you (as does your partner/roommate/family member who is disgusted by your book-buying problem) that "you HAVE books in your bookshelf you haven't read. Why don't you just read one of those?"
You've been trying to avoid them, haven't you? That's why, for me, they're called The Pile. I've stacked these books (not small in number, I'm afraid) and let them teeter precariously in a conspicuous spot. That way, every time I walk out the door and make a bee-line for Avid or Borders, I am reminded that trees died so that I could use these books as window dressing. Heavy, space-stealing, hard-to-take-with-me-overseas-in-large-quantities window dressing. I can almost hear their tiny voices pleading, "Read us. You'll like us. Promise."
It's not that I don't want to read them. I bought them because I wanted to read them (or was given them by someone who I respect and adore). It's just that I don't want to read them right NOW. A book can be ruined if you read it at the wrong time, squandering my potential for ultimate enjoyment. There just never seems to be a great time to give them the attention they deserve. That's why I stopped making New Years resolutions like "I will read every book that I own that I haven't already read." It's a guaranteed failure, every time. Plus, I have a bookstore addiction... but that's a subject for another post.
Still, a girl's got to put her foot down sometime. Some of my now-favorite books have come from The Pile. My Dad gave me The Time Traveller's Wife one year, and it wasn't until maybe two years later that I actually cracked that sucker open. That sucker then proceeded to rock my world.
This is My List, currently harassing me from the corner of my desk:
Song For Night by Chris Abani
If On A Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
The Moviegoer by Percy
The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville
Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx
Lie Down In Darkness by William Styron
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
Time to get cracking on whittling my List. Who's featuring on yours?