With work overwhelming my reading time the last couple weeks, I didn't get my usual review out. Which only went to remind me of all the unread books before me. But I don't despair, especially after reading Christopher Howse's humorous take on the issue:
Do your books shame you in front of visitors, like an overweight dog or a Persian cat with knots in its fur? Do their eyeless backs seem to follow you round the room begging you to read them, after all these years that they’ve stayed on the shelf, unloved as Miss Havisham?
Then I think you should fight back and not let those heavyweight tomes kick sand in your face. A survey has found that half of an average home’s 138 books go unread. I’m surprised it is as low as a half. Books aren’t meant to be read.
Reminded me of the much funnier essay How to Justify a Private Library by Umberto Eco in his collection How to Travel with a Salmon. When someone saunters into your home and asks the first question that pops into their head, "Have you read all these books?," Eco provides the best answer:
In the past I adopted a tone of contemptuous sarcasm. “I haven’t read any of them; otherwise why would I keep them here?” But this is a dangerous answer and invites the obvious follow-up: “And where do you put them after you’ve read them?” The best answer is the one always used by Robert Leydi: “And more, dear sir, many more,” which freezes the adversary and plunges him into a state of awed admiration. But I find it merciless and angst-generating. “No, these are the ones I have to read by the end of the month. I keep the others in my office,” a reply that on the one hand suggests a sublime ergonomic strategy, and on the other leads the visitor to hasten the moment of his departure.