I'm my haste of scooping up books for a buck or two at library sales, I have a knack for grabbing titles that I think I'll read. The trouble is that I never do, and while they collect dust on my shelf, I can't imagine the day will ever come when I'll crack open the covers of these impulse buys to see if I'm missing out on quality prose.
I've had James Frey's A Million Little Pieces for over a year. I read the first couple of pages after buying it, then tossed it aside to read something more palatable. Frankly, the only reason I bought the book for the $3 the library asked for it was because Oprah Winfrey had chewed the guy out on her show as some kind of public egg-hurling exercise. Forget how good a memoir or work of fiction it might actually be—I just had to say I had read the book that sent Oprah off the deep end.
But, I haven't read it, and I doubt I ever will read it. There are over a hundred titles sitting on my book shelf, which I've purchased at bargain basement prices, and I haven't got time to waste on books I have only a cursory interest in reading. Maureen Dowd's Bushworld and Joseph Heller's Closing Time are about to join A Million Little Pieces as the next round of exchanges for credit at my local used bookstore. I bought Closing Time for a dollar because it was the sequel to Catch-22, but the thing is that I've never even read Catch-22.
Waste not, want not.