So, I’ve been thinking…I recently put together a few of those ugly IKEA shelves, you know, the ones everybody has in one colour or another. I put them up and created a little wall space for books. Books I love and want to look at on my way from the sofa to the dining room table. Books my friends will consider pretty sophisticated when they visit. Books that make me feel good just for having. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Jokes aside, I read
most of them some of them if we’re honest…there’s one however, I’ve put off forever. A book I will open on my deathbed just to prolong the inevitable. ‘I’m not ready to leave this life just yet, I haven’t finished David Foster Wallace!’…even his name is long. One thousand seventy nine pages in the smallest font. I’m writing this in words so the number doesn’t scare you. Like many fools out there, I’m thinking of taking on this daunting task during quarantine but even this won’t last long enough for me to finish. Long being the operative word here…We’ll see…
Generally, books are the item you are socially allowed to love and shit all over its identity at the same time. They’re perfect saucers, balancing laptops high enough to watch the movie based on your book, put under rocking furniture, holding doors open, keeping doors shut. I’ll stop now cause I don’t like embarrassing books. I love books. I love them especially cause each book has a story. (this must be a term in literature)
There’s always the one you bought cause a lover was reading. Let me tell you, he wasn’t. He was pretending to read cause you were pretending to be an avid reader. That’s why it didn’t work out between you two and now you’re stuck with his stupid book. Then there’s that book you bought from JFK before boarding cause it would be so cinematic to read something sophisticated like a Barthes or a Foucault and ponder on life at 38,000 feet. While in reality, the baby won’t stop crying at the seat behind you, the flight is bumpy and you have exhausted your limit of in-flight booze while maxing out your credit card buying bracelets off the plane magazine, all at a desperate attempt to soothe yourself.
My favourite kind of book though is the one you’re so guilty about, you hide in the bed drawer. You read it cover to cover in 14 hours straight and you remember everything. Every couple of years you take it out and read it again just to relive the story. It’s trash. It’s a trashy book. OK, there are no trashy books (well) but let’s say that having read it doesn’t make you Fran Lebowitz. You know it and I know it and you know I know cause I’ve done it too. If you’re bold enough, like I am, you’ll put it on your shelf between the Franzens and the Murakamis pretending you don’t need to pretend.
So I put these shelves together, which I now love, with my half-read collection that I’m not guilty about. I’ll keep buying cause books are beautiful and I can’t believe I have gone on for so long without falling into the cliché Waters quote of ‘if they don’t have books, don’t fuck them’. Let me just take it a step further and tell you this as cringe-worthy as it may sound. If they don’t have books, fuck them anyway cause you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (told you, cringey). Anyway you didn’t go there to read, did you?
If it works out, buy them some. Just make sure you don’t lend. If you lend books, it’s like a curse. They never return. Not to your friend, not to the person who saved your life. Buy them again and gift them if you must. If you lend them you have to buy them again anyway. So, please, trust me on this one and never lend books. Or sofas, but that’s a completely different story. Another time.