If procrastination is sign that a writer believes in his or her immortality, and writing a sign that one has accepted their imminent death, then trolling a bookstore looking for things to read, when you have better things to do, more to read at home (more than you ever could), and better ways to spend your money, is obviously an attempt to purchase immortality (imperfect analogy).
Every book I add to my library is an attempt to delay death. I purchase not only the book itself but the time to read it. Each added spine I will never crack is an expertise I imagine I will hone. There’s nothing sadder, almost, than realizing that a book you’ve been holding on to, that has survived countless purges and bouts of mania unscathed, will never be read. And nothing, paradoxically, more liberating.
Because the unread book also exudes a subtle pressure, larger the longer you have had the book and the more you think you ought to read it. It is a silent parent, admonishing and correcting and pointing out, with every year you don’t touch it, the limits of your mortality, that you really don’t have the time you once thought you had. Certain books cut you a little deeper, such as Derrida’s On Grammatology, or anything by Lacan or Frye, their message something like you aren’t the academic, intellectual, human being, you thought you were.
Well, fuck that. If my library is any indication, I have expanded beyond my means. What am I going to do? I live in a haunted house, haunted not by dead relatives but by my own good intentions. My unfocussed intentions. Time to take out the machete and cut some of these weeds back.