Seeing that comment in Simon Heffer’s column in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph column, I nodded in agreement and also felt it was a bit of an obvious comment. Who but a fool (or maybe people with compulsive buying habits) would fork out to buy something they wouldn’t use?
Unless they are someone who buys a book with very good intentions of reading it even though there is that voice in their head muttering “don’t kid yourself you’ll get round to reading this.” Someone like me in fact when the transaction involves the purchase of non fiction books.
Which is why I have a large stack of them. Unread. Not even opened.
Sure I have a large pile of unread fiction titles but I do pick some out and read them (doing pretty well on that front so far this year in fact).
But the non fiction titles? Forget it.
Some date from at least 10 years ago when I thought I should learn more about the sustainability issue than I could glean from newspapers. Others were bought in a vain attempt to keep up to date with the latest business theories (I did manage three chapters of Jim Collins’ Good to Great and about the same with The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen). But some books about the political changes in China remain undigested beyond about page 3.
The only non fiction titles I’ve read in recent years have been either book related like the World Guide to Literature or craft related. I’ve not read a history book in easily 20 years. And yet I still buy non fiction. Last year I bought:
Both seemed eminently readable – I scanned them in the shop to make sure they were not top heavy factual tomes.
Have I read them? Er, no.
Will I do so soon? Er, not likely
And yet what did I do just last week? Why of course, I went and bought some more non fiction. Namely The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer and Daniel Levitin’s The Organized Mind ( oh the irony of that purchase).
Most likely they will still be sitting in the same place on the shelf this time next year.
Don’t ask my why I do this. I have no idea. But I know its a bad habit I need to get out of.