After collecting books for decades now, I have been fortunate enough to amass quite a few shelves-full. As an avid library user, I haven’t had occasion to read many of them.
Straight up, it’s something psychological that blocks me from reading them. I harbour this silly notion that if there were to be a cataclysmic event rendering us without new books, I’d like to have a substantial unread collection to draw on.
Crazy? Probably, but no one’s ever accused me of being sane.
My books are disorganised due to a recent re-shelving by my husband that I haven’t yet attended to, so they are completely random as they lay. I photographed the first few I saw to share with you for this first edition of What’s On My Shelf? Watch for a continuation of this theme randomly over the coming months, as I take advantage of the win/win that is creating content whilst simultaneously arranging my shelves.
Here, with backdrops from my garden, are 5 forgotten books that have been patiently awaiting my attention, but I can’t promise that I will be reading anytime soon.
I’m a big fan of Canadian fiction, especially Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards, a novel this book’s Goodreads synopsis refers to as its equal. That is a tall order and puts significant expectations in this reader’s mind from the onset.
I picked it up in the bargain section for a couple of dollars about a decade ago, wooed by the prospect of a Nova Scotian family tale set within my favourite decade: the 70s. When putting together this post, I noticed that the reviews are tepid to poor on Goodreads, so I’m not sure that this sordid tale about jealousy and family strife is going to rock my world after all. One day I’ll find out, just not likely until post-Apocalypse.
If you’re wondering what that little sticker says, it’s 99 cents. I am still shocked that I got it for that. Book sales are my jam. If there are good deals to be had, there are grocery bags to be filled. I might put that on a t-shirt. Or, better yet, on the outside of the bags that I’ll fill!
I was in an everything-memoir phase when I got this one by Dave Eggers. The successful author and activist’s retelling of his story has been called heartfelt and often hilarious, as it chronicles the tragic loss of both his parents to cancer and the resulting guardianship he took on of his younger brother. I still have a fondness for a well-told true story, so there is hope for this one yet.
I have no recollection of where I got this book, but it was likely in a bargain bin, and it looks like I might have scored. A debut novel for Helen DeWitt, The Last Samurai follows the life of a child prodigy and his eclectic mother as the 5-year-old boy attempts to find his father.
The few reviews that I’ve read for this book were promising, and some have tagged it as historical fiction, so I’m looking forward to seeing how in-depth the prodigal son will dive and what fascinating things I can learn from him. I favour quirky characters, and this novel seems to have them in spades, so I’ll be moving it to the priority shelf; a sort of hierarchy of unread books now emerging.
The cover and title of Asylum by Andre Alexis produced a deceiving front when I picked it up to investigate. Without any knowledge of it beforehand, I assumed it was a spooky horror book about some abandoned asylum with a haunted past.
Instead, it’s a book about Canadian politics, set in Ottawa during the Mulroney era, and a storyline driven by a goal to build the perfect prison. This version makes more sense, as I enjoy politics and have no desire to read about haunted buildings for almost 500 pages. I am all-in on the politics of people and governments, especially with the satirical bonus of this author’s rumoured dry wit. On to the Some-Time-This-Decade shelf, it goes.
Renowned and hilarious non-fiction writer Bill Bryson has enjoyed a prolific career focusing on travel, language, and science books, the most popular being A Walk in the Woods and A Short History of Nearly Everything.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – A Memoir has one of the best-selling authors of all time shining a light on his 1950s childhood in middle America. This laugh-out-loud story is just the thing for when I’m feeling exhausted by the darkness that some of the heavy stories I tend to read cast in their wake. I will add it to my priority shelf for just that future occasion.
Do you have any books that you keep yet can’t seem to read? I’d be curious to know how many other people use the library regularly while they maintain a healthy collection of unread books at home. And if you’ve read any of these be sure to let me know what you thought of them!