Really? asks Scott McLemee at Inside Higher Ed. Both of these attitudes —
seem to share a belief that book ownership can, and indeed should, serve as a medium for displaying something important about yourself. They signify either what you already know or whom you would like to be — and (this is the major point) they do so for someone else. By this logic, bookshelves are a medium of social interaction. … Hence the need to come up with rules, however informal, for what is permissible.
All of which makes perfect sense if and only if you are not a total nerd. Which, all things considered, is a pretty big ‘if.'”
Then, of course, there’s always the idea — curiously neglected by Scott — that human imperatives are not the only ones. Bookshelves may well exist for the purpose of catnaps.