Friday, 16 October 2009

Books Waiting on the Shelf

Thank you for the great response to my question What are you Reading. I've been really enjoying all the book conversations.

Following on from my comment to Katherine about the Paul Auster book and a conversation I had with a friend last night, I have a new question: Are there any books on your shelf that have been there for years? You know you will read them one day but it just never seems to be the right time. Or are you a "buy a book and read it immediately" type person?

I have lots of books on my shelves because I collect/hoard books, buying things that look interesting all the time, especially in charity shops and from fete book stalls! Therefore I have lots of books that have been there for years, waiting for the right time. I'll give some examples to get the discussion going:

Travel Books, or books set in specific places, like the Paul Auster New York Trilogy - when I go away I like to try and read something set in the place/country so have books waiting in anticipation.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - this has been staring at me for years. I know that it is traumatic and I have not yet found the right time to invest the emotional energy in it.

Likewise, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This is about a 15 year old boy who commits murders at his school and his mother who then reflects on his upbringing. Since becoming a mother I've been very interested in this book but never quite brave enough to start reading it.

So, do you have any books that have been waiting for years on your shelf?


Matthew said...

For about 20 years I have had Papillon (Henri Charriere) sitting on the shelf, bought for me by a friend. I don't know why but I just can't bring myself to read it - in fact I had no idea it was a 'true' story until I just looked it up on Amazon. Catch 22 (I think its yours!) also stares at me from the shelf in its silver cover.

rosemary said...

I've also got"We need to talk about Kevin",Ronnie lent it to me as she couldn't face it either.I have tried to read it and have started it a couple of times but then stopped.Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton(the story of nutmeg,the spice trade and Rum) has come to France with us and remains unread on the shelf!

Lucy Shrimpton said...

Books that have been staring at me for too long and need to be read at some point in my life ...
1. Mary Seacole biography by Jane Robinson 2. The Map that changed the world by Simon Winchester and 3. Right Hand Left hand by Chris McManus. All look terribly good but a little too heavy for bedtime

Alison said...

I've got quite a few staring at me guiltily from the shelves.

Johnathan Franzen - The Corrections. I did try it but it's just too hard for me. I keep kidding myself one day I'll be up to it but I somehow doubt it.

Anne Enright - The Gathering. Bought it because it won the Man Booker a couple of years ago but when I got it home I just didn't fancy it.

And quite a few Rough Guides to...Iceland...Canada. Not sure why. Now just a reminder of all the places I hope I'll visit one day.

I made it through We Need to Talk about Kevin but it wasn't what I'd call enjoyable. But I do love Sebastian Faulks.

Helen said...

How about 'Middlemarch' - George Eliot - I know I should read it, I've started a few times but given up ...
Also on the list - 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith; 'Notes from a Small Island' by Andrea Levy; 'Foucault's Pendulum' by Umberto Eco and the penultimate Harry Potter (I've read the last one but just got so bored wading my way thru book whateverit is and decided life was too short!!)

For those wondering about '...Kevin' it's well worth going for it tho' I'm sure you'll cry (I did) Something on the same theme but a bit more readable and quite thought provoking is 'Nineteen Minutes' by Jodi Picoult - more enjoyable if you can enjoy reading about a High School shooting.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I read We need to talk about Kevin, and I could NOT put it down. Just read it, it is brilliant. Scary, but brilliant.