A while ago there was a book giveaway on the Penguin Publisher's website. I entered my name and address but didn't receive an email saying I was going to get a free book so thought nothing more of it.
Today I received my free book.
I was naturally excited by a book-shaped parcel (I LOVE getting free books, love it!) but my heart fell when I checked out the blurb on the back cover. I'm blanking out the title and author's name to see if anyone can guess the title of the book from the blurb!
"The imaginative breadth and the intellectual depth of XXXXXXX makes it one of the greatest of XXXX's 'Etudes philosophiques'. With its central symbol of the magic piece of shagreen, it expresses the peculiarly XXXXian idea of the human will and dramatizes with startling urgency the choice between ruthless self-gratification and asceticism, between vice and virtue, between dissipation and restraint. The symbolism is powerful but not overpowering: shrewd psychology, superbly chiselled dialogue and the sheer energy of the descriptive passages - the gambling den, the orgy, the devastating finale - gives XXXXXXXX a compelling and forceful realism."
Now, call me lowbrow, but that description didn't make my fingers itch to turn the first page. In fact, the only thing my fingers did do was carry the book over to the bookshelf and put it away*.
I feel a bit ashamed though. Like someone just delivered an bespectacled orphan to my door and I shut it in a cupboard instead of giving it a hug.
Have you ever been given a book you've immediately abandoned to a lonely, unread life on a shelf?
*That's a tiny bit of lie. I did read up to the line, "This cry, ejaculated in a sharp and scolding voice, came from a small, pallid old man squatting in the shadow behind a barrier, who suddenly rose to his feet and displayed a very ignoble type of countenance"...and then put it on the bookshelf.