“Am I a masterpiece or simply a pile of junk?”
I was sick in bed yesterday, and after I posted a picture of my makeshift office, a follower asked to see all the books on my nightstand. I was bored and bedridden, so I figured, what the heck. (I forgot the hashtag #shelfie.)
Several folks commented in relief that they weren’t the only readers with unread books piled everywhere. Heck no, you aren’t the only reader with unread piles everywhere! In fact, I would argue, as others have, that your library should consist mostly of unread books. Here’s Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. [Your] library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there.
“The important books in my library,” says Edward Tufte, “are the unread books.”
The Japanese even have a word for the unread books that pile up: “Tsundoku.” (It literally means “reading pile.”)
The nightstand isn’t the only place my books pile up. My dad keeps a gigantic junky stack of magazines on the fireplace next to his chair, and I used to make fun of him for it, but now look at me turning into him: