Shelf Respect is a nicely presented little book which is more of a stocking filler for the bibliophile in your life who you don’t know very well than an in-depth read about how to curate your bookshelves. In the end, it amounts to a collection of observations, lists and quotes about reading. There’s a weird tendency to believe that people who love books are morally superior, and parts of this book indulge jokingly in that. All a bit hyperbolic and for a particular sort of reader for whom “being a reader” is an identity, a part of being “not like the other girls” or “the clever one” or whatever.
That last part is something that I’ve struggled with, lately. I do think of myself as “a reader” as fundamentally as I consider myself a person, and I’m not sure it serves me well. At the very least it’s important to note that many amazing people do not read, and that doesn’t make them less intelligent or more morally suspect than the next person — and we’re saying something pretty horrible about ourselves as readers when we make those assumptions
It’s fairly fluffy and benign, as a book, but that undercurrent bugs me.