Monday, 2 August 2010

To Be Read

Once or twice every year, I sort through all the books I own but haven't read yet, invent some complex and worthwhile system for organizing and reading them, and then promptly forget how it works.

Not this time. (Okay, probably this time as well.)

The new system is called the Desk Shelf. Instead of having the books in some easily-forgettable, easily-ignorable corner, i've stuck them right on the middle of my desk. This has two benefits, which I shall call 'features.'

Feature One.

My desk is set up against a fat brick chimney. It's lovely, even though most of the brickwork is covered up by colourful deco adverts and the like. As well as being lovely, though, it is also not quite as wide as my desk.

That's important. Because the books lean up against the chimney, and that limits how many there can be. If I have too many books in the Desk Shelf 'zone', they will topple off and annoy me. So Feature One is a limiter: I can only add new books to the Desk Shelf when I have made space for them. In other words, I can only buy books when I've read one of equal thickness. Or given them away unread (it happens, and it hurts.)

Feature Two.

The books are right there in front of me whenever I sit at my desk. That's where I sit when I write songs, foodle around on the internet, do the blogging, and sometimes read. THe point is, I will be seeing a lot of them lined up there. This stops me forgetting about the books, and also -- theoretically -- gives me the opportunity to build up anticipation for them.

I say theoretically, but I instigated the Desk Shelf system (beta testing) yesterday, and already can't decide between three previously overlooked novels to take with me to Edinburgh next week, because I'm excited about each of them.

Here's a picture:

Currently in the Desh Shelf 'zone':

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes 
Three-Act Tragedy -- Agatha Christie
Death on the Nile -- Agatha Christie
Hickory Dickory Dock -- Agatha Christie
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha -- Roddy Doyle
What Happens Now -- Jeremy Dyson
Alexander at the World's End -- Tom Holt
Paradise News -- David Lodge
Therapy -- David Lodge
Gods Behaving Badly -- Marie Phillips
Aberystwyth Mon Amour -- Malcolm Pryce
Eleven -- Mark Watson
Piccadilly Jim -- PG Wodehouse
The Clicking of Cuthbert -- PG Wodehouse
The Inimitable Jeeves -- PG Wodehouse
Big Money -- PG Wodehouse
Jeeves in the Offing -- PG Wodehouse
Pearls, Girls and Montk Bodkin -- PG Wodehouse
Sunset at Blandings -- PG Wodehouse

My Autobiography -- Charlie Chaplin
Ronnie Barker -- Bob McCabe
PG Wodehouse -- Frances Donaldson

The Human Touch -- Michael Frayn
In Search of Schrodinger's Cat -- John Gribbin

What a pretty list! And no, I don't have a thing for Wodehouse. What are you talking about? 'Thing' indeed... Never heard of the chap. Or chapette. Could be a girl for all I know. Never heard of him. Or her.

The three I'm wrestling with taking to Edinburgh are:

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha -- Roddy Doyle
Alexander at the World's End -- Tom Holt
Aberystwyth Mon Amour -- Malcolm Pryce

(I'm already taking Eleven by Mark Watson.)

Any thoughts about those three? Any Pryce fans, Doyle haters, indifferent Holtists? Help me choose.


  1. Some supremely excellent Wodehouse there. Reminds me to get more.