A House Full of Books Can't Make You Smarter

classic books on a shelfFor months now, I've been pestering my woodwork-loving boyfriend to build me a bookshelf. He will get around to it, and when he does, it will be one of the best gifts ever. But filling it with classic tomes I think will make us look smarter wasn't exactly part of my master plan. Interestingly, though, the average person owns 80 books they haven't read and only keep around to make themselves appear more intellectual! Ha! A survey found that as many as 70 percent of books in the average bookcase remain unopened. That is so disappointing. And 57 percent of us make sure the books on view are literary classics (even if we haven't read them).

Hahaha, wow. Okay, this survey was done by Lindeman's Wine in the U.K., but I wouldn't be surprised if the stats translate across the pond. I will admit -- hearing that people still value literature enough to have to LIE about it is reassuring in a twisted way. But at the same time, really?!


Classic novels are nothing more than keeping up with the Joneses smartypants decor now? Auuuugh. That's pretty bad. My friends who are literature teachers will not be pleased with this news.

Come on, people. How silly is this? I feel like we have to be way beyond pretending Pride & Prejudice is our favorite novel when it's really Maneater, Something Borrowed, something equally fluff-tastic. It's like playing jazz while entertaining guests when you're actually a much bigger fan of '80s pop or displaying gourmet cookware you've NEVER used in the kitchen. Nine times out of 10, aren't the people in your home people who already know you anyway ... who either are well-aware of or at least wouldn't judge you for your chick-lit obsession? And even if they did, who cares? You can't (always) judge a book by its cover OR a person by their books!

And hey, eventually someone's going to use that bookshelf as a conversation starter ("So, do you consider Jane Eyre a proto-feminist novel?"), and when it's clear you haven't even read the CliffsNotes, you'll probably come off as even more foolish than you would have if you had just 'fessed up to being more of a Confessions of a Shopaholic fan in the first place.

Are you guilty of stacking shelves with books you've never read and/or think make you look smarter?

Image via David Masters/Flickr

Read More >