YOU are never going to read that book. You’ll just use it to balance your phone on while watching Squid Game. But what type of unreadable is it?
Anthology of literature from minority group
A searingly powerful and timely collection of short stories from under-represented voices that is genuinely excellent but you are currently using as a coaster. You’ll still be meaning to read it in 2026, by which time you’ll have eleven other similar books stacked on top of it.
The amazing book your friend loaned you
You haven’t made it past the contents page and you can’t WhatsApp her until you’ve read it, so you’ve effectively ended the friendship. Also the book is about finding serenity and happiness amongst the self-imposed chaos and destruction of your life, so what exactly did she mean by lending it to you?
Something self-published by your dad
Your dad claims that his thousand-page opus on warring 13th century Finnish tribes was ‘too intellectual’ for mainstream publishers to print, so he did it himself on Amazon. You are avoiding going round for Sunday lunch because he will want to discuss it in tedious detail and you don’t want to break his heart by telling him you just can’t be f**king arsed to read it.
Called something like ‘You Are Why Your Kids Are So Awful’, you bought it because you felt guilty about the mess you’re making of raising your children, but are too scared to read about all the ways in which you have already ruined their lives. Chuck it in a cupboard along with your guilt and overwhelming sense of inadequacy.
Worthy, prize-winning literature
Described on the back as ‘ultimately life-affirming’, it cost £19.99 and makes your heart sink when you look at it. Best placed downstairs within eyeshot of visiting friends, before eventually being given as a gift to someone you hate who will use it as a doorstop.