I don’t like telling people what my BOOKS are. It feels private. I prefer to be seen reading trashy BOOKS. When I am seen reading a highbrow or fancy or classic BOOK, I end up meeting people I don’t want to meet. The time I decided to read Frankenstein at the pharmacy, I was interrupted by a man who I thought would follow me into the parking lot. At jury duty, Great Expectations made a lady think she was my friend; her face crashed when I said, “I don’t understand why all of these people trust police.” We were both disgusted by each other after that. I don’t want to make friends according to my BOOK taste. Maybe I don’t like people with any of my shared interests. Maybe I don’t like myself.
There is one notable BOOK on my shelf that carries a lot of SHAME for me. It is a BOOK from the Brooklyn Public Library. I checked it out just before I moved there, the trip where I got my apartment. I never finished it. I never renewed it. I never brought it back. I never paid my fees. I am the worst patron in the world. When you work in the library, all the BOOKS seem to belong to you. You can erase your fees. You know if someone else wants it and you bring it back. You know if someone else has been looking for it in the system because you can see the search logs.
But it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the Brooklyn Public Library. It is on my BOOKSHELF, and it has been on my BOOKSHELF for ten years now I think. One day I’ll send it back. One day I’ll clean up all of my mistakes.