Tom Raabe, Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction
Yet book lovers are certainly not immune to this delusional thinking. If I am honest with myself, I must confess I own books, many books, I will probably never read, but I believe deep down that having them on my shelves somehow makes me smarter. Books like Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America and St. Augustine's City of God certainly fit into this category. I have owned these books for decades without ever getting close to actually reading them. Most likely I never will read them. I feel better having them around anyway.
I have numerous other books that seem intellectually intimidating, dull or just massive, but at least I can look at them occasionally and feel more intelligent. Among these are The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas (more than 800 pages long), Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer (900 pages about "four British folkways in America), Ruby V. Redinger's biography George Eliot: The Emergent Self and Witold Rybczynski's Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture.
I read Lolita for a college class and again this year, so I know Vladimir Nabokov to have been a gifted writer. Even so I am put off by his other novels such as Pale Fire, Look at the Harlequins! and King, Queen, Knave. I usually pick up a murder mystery instead, preferring to get my Nabokov through some kind of osmosis.