Scott McLemee has an entertaining piece on the sociology of “bookshelf etiquette” in today’s Inside Higher Ed.

“My experience (which can’t be unique) is that some books end up accumulating out of a misguided attempt to win the approval of authors already well-entrenched on my shelves. A few years back, for example, Slavoj Zizek started to insist that I had to be familiar with the work of Alain Badiou — a French poststructuralist philosopher whose work I had never heard of, let alone read. Well, OK, sure. Thanks to some busy translators, Badiou volumes started crowding in, next to all the Zizek titles.”

Maybe this, in a roundabout way, explains why I have an unread copy of Alasdair Gray’s Lanark: A Life in Four Books crowding out other aspiring applicants on my bookshelves.

So, what books sit unread on your shelf?

Comments are closed.