The Books I’ve Never Read

Tonight I was sifting through the pile of books beginning to collect dust by the side of our bed. What were once the foundational piece of our do-it-yourself centerpieces for our guests’ wedding tables a few months ago have become an unsightly collection of old, hardcovers, stacked unceremoniously as if they belonged to a second-hand store or someone’s garage.

I had always known what we’d do with the books after our wedding day. We were lucky enough to find a place that had built-in book-shelving by our bedside – and it made me rest assured that all these books we’ve amassed would have a home, in our home.

Our bedroom is surrounded by books. Three out of the four corners have some sort of shelving, not including the aforementioned that flank our bed. Together, the collection of books Shuli and I have make for a sizable library for two.

It’s what we wanted, sure – seeing books on every corner. There couldn’t possibly be a decor more comforting than this.

The irony, however, is that, for a “library” that seems to indicate how well read the two of us are, the truth is, it only accurately depicts how well read ONE of is.

And no, it isn’t me.

My fingers were starting to turn gray from riffling through these old pages. These beautifully-bound, ornately decorated hardcovers, of all different colors. The leather creased with age. The smell of time trapped between the covers.

Oh, the endless supply of books I’ve never read…

Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, waiting for my company on a winter evening. TWO Adventures of Hucklebrry Finn books, both red, and both, unread. Milton’s Paradise Lost. Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. The Classics are here for the undertaking, while more modern novels and collections of short stories, and best-selling memoirs still await.

Is it merely the case (or the curse) of being an absurdly slow reader? Was the prospect of accumulating classic works full of wisdom and knowledge greater than the willingness to partake in what these books truly demanded?

I’m far too distracted, far too undisciplined, and I’m feeling so, so behind.

But, the great undertaking before me must begin with one book. One adventure at a time. One piece of truth discovered, then digested, then known. The overwhelming bounty of books can only be tackled so slowly, and so I start with just one.

Juan Rulfo’s The Plain in Flames. You’re up.


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