Why are my most interesting books always the ones unshelved? The plain answer, the one made of leather and wood, says they’re the newest, the most novel, and as such of the most immediate interest, the yearning that inspired their purchase smoldering most fiercely. Or even the ones retrieved from high perches or cold cellars, snatched from their alphabetical order into a dusty chaos, their previously prescribed value, strong enough to own in the first place, an underestimate following new information, a surprising reference in a newer text, that warrants their reevaluation.
(Stacked in front of those books whose stance in the canon and upon the shelf is historically and vertically established, these stranger, more dangerous titles obscure the past behind them, though they lie horizontally, lazily. Surely the volumes these flashy and new delights cloak with their slothfully spread bulk jibber and snark to each other of these entitled children who lack respect of the world carved before, and maybe for, them.)
But I cannot rid my synapses of the notion that they wiggle themselves out in a bid for attention. That while I am elsewhere, their quickened forms climb upon each other, covers squawking in guttural shrieks. Or maybe they fly, flapping cardboard and paper in violent strokes, or milky whispers, ascending no more than a few feet to roost where they predict eyes will fall. I will not suggest they are lifted by some other force, poltergeists with a message: if there is will not my own, it emanates from the texts, only and fully, towards the timely delivery of their contents.
Is it the author’s will embedded in the pages? Or do the words themselves accrete collective desire, a demand for reception, connection? Are they the youngest and hungriest? Or only the most lonely?