I have lots of books. I have a big library. I am running out of space. I am on a quest to retire half of the tenants of those shelves – and I suspect some of those books are more of the squatter type.
This is my classification of books: great book, good book, bad book and book that I leave behind in the airplane or the hotel room. The last category is serious. It is my modest equivalent of the ‘Not Even Wrong’ category, attributed to physicist Wolfgang Pauli, to describe the kind of theory with such fundamental flaws in logic, that it does not even qualify for the ‘wrong’ label.
Abandoning a book in the airplane’s seat pocket in front of you (impossible to exercise on airlines such as Ryanair because they don’t have seat pockets, so you don’t leave anything there) is a complex cognitive and behavioural conspiracy cooked within your own brain. It makes me feel that I have really forgotten them, when the true mechanism is one of subconscious, intentional abandoning, because the book does not deserve to come back home. It’s not even bad. This is a harsh thing to do to a book: permanent exile.
(I have only myself to blame. I bought them in the first place. How foolish!)
I can’t disclose the title of those books because I may offend some people who may think that a particular book that “I forgot to take back’ is great. The hotel chain Travelodge publishes the ranked list of books left behind every year. I am happy to report that my list does not correlate with the Travelodge one, last year headed by The Fifty Shades trilogy, followed by other raunchy titles, all mixed up with Ex politician’s memoirs and celebritie’s autobiographies.
In my case, some left behind books are, very occasionally, given a new chance. They usually come via the Cabin Service Director of a British Airways flight, and often when I am just leaving the aircraft: ‘Dr Herrero, you forgot your book’.
How could I then ignore that Providential sign?