Guilt Trip

Is it possible for your possessions to give you a guilt trip?
Worse still, is it possible that your books are capable of giving you one of those nasty sideways glances that manage to say,

You’ve been ignoring us.  You’ve been seeing other books.
You are neglecting me for cheap thrills at the library.

If you live in my house the answer is a resounding yes.

It came as something of a shock to me that this little shelf of books could put forth such vigorously negative and guilt-inducing vibes.   These were the last and favoured remaining books from the bedside pile.  These were the books that were not packed away early in the moving timetable.

The Shelf
The Angry Shelf

Me of all people, feeling guilty about the number of unread books in my possession.
Since when?  Never. That’s when.  I have been at my happiest surrounded by books and the promise of all that interesting reading.  Promises to work my way through the bedside pile before hitting the library have fallen by the wayside just like others before them.   What has happened to me?

Not only did I find myself looking at that very small shelf, but at the pile of library books beside my bed.  I started to panic.  There’s so many* of them, which one should I be reading.  I’ve started this one and this one and this one.  Will I manage to get any of them finished before they are due to be returned.

Seriously.  Me. Panic attack. Books.
These are just not words that go together in a sentence in this household.  The foundations of my world felt as though the Wellington fault line had taken a detour directly through my book-loving heart.  Thoughts of the world ending briefly scurried through my mind.

I don’t quite know what to make of it all.  I was struck dumb by the overwhelming feeling that I should stop hoarding lots of unread books and that I should stop bringing home unrealistic piles of library books as well.  Could this be a side effect of throwing out other household items that were no longer loved, used or wanted?  Was part of me finally waking up to the sheer ridiculousness of my behaviour?  I truly don’t know.

The feeling of panic has subsided and passed from my life like a ghost in the night, but it has left an imprint on me.  I am not one to count my chickens, so I will see what comes of this strange episode.  One thing that I do know is that I had a strong desire to leave all the other book boxes firmly taped up in storage at work.  I think I may do this and sit back and watch what happens.

Will there be fireworks or will it simply be a damp squib?

* by my usual standards they are barely a drop in the bucket.

4 thoughts on “Guilt Trip

  1. I have another category for guilt inducing books – books borrowed from friends. They are the ones getting “shelved” around here. Yours included (I’m blushing from embarrassment).

    With library books, I have the looming due date as an incentive to get them read. And being on an extremely tight budget means I haven’t bought myself a brand new book in a very long time (but I have bought great find books from the Sallies and similar shops).

    I set my Goodreads target at 85 this year but I think I am going to lower it to 80. It does get to the point where you are just churning through them and not enjoying them as much. I am a very much “one book at a time” kind of girl though, well, one printed and one audio. Much like my knitting!

    I think book shelves and books themselves are a design feature! It’s not a justification at all, I find them aesthetically pleasing : )


  2. There’s no such thing as neglected books, as long as you have enough, they keep each other company =]

    In my house, i have bookcases of “neglected” books, and baskets full, and smaller book cases, and on top of the printer, and on my end table that is actually a very old folding chair, and… Well, i’m sure you get the point – and that’s BEFORE the library books!


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