Shelf Control #51: The Post-Birthday World

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!


My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Post Birthday WorldTitle: The Post-Birthday World
Author: Lionel Shriver
Published: 2007
Length: 528 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In this eagerly awaited new novel, Lionel Shriver, the Orange Prize-winning author of the international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin, delivers an imaginative and entertaining look at the implications, large and small, of whom we choose to love. Using a playful parallel-universe structure, The Post-Birthday World follows one woman’s future as it unfolds under the influence of two drastically different men.

Children’s book illustrator Irina McGovern enjoys a quiet and settled life in London with her partner, fellow American expatriate Lawrence Trainer, a smart, loyal, disciplined intellectual at a prestigious think tank. To their small circle of friends, their relationship is rock solid. Until the night Irina unaccountably finds herself dying to kiss another man: their old friend from South London, the stylish, extravagant, passionate top-ranking snooker player Ramsey Acton. The decision to give in to temptation will have consequences for her career, her relationships with family and friends, and perhaps most importantly the texture of her daily life.

Hinging on a single kiss, this enchanting work of fiction depicts Irina’s alternating futures with two men temperamentally worlds apart yet equally honorable. With which true love Irina is better off is neither obvious nor easy to determine, but Shriver’s exploration of the two destinies is memorable and gripping. Poignant and deeply honest, written with the subtlety and wit that are the hallmarks of Shriver’s work, The Post-Birthday World appeals to the what-if in us all.

How I got it:

I bought it.

When I got it:

Way back in 2007, when the book was first released.

Why I want to read it:

This big, huge hardcover has been sitting on my shelf for far too many years by now! It may be time to finally either read it or say good-bye. I was drawn to this book by the “sliding doors” nature of the story — two possible outcomes, two possible futures, hinging on one small moment. I tend to love this sort of thing, but that’s part of the problem. By now, there are lots and lots of novels with similar set-ups, and I’ve read a bunch, and I’m not sure I need to read more. Plus, let’s face it, this is a big doorstopper of a book, and every time I reach up to take it off the shelf, something about it makes me turn away and say, “Nah. Maybe some other time.”

So if I never actually feel like reading it, why am I holding onto it? If you’ve read The Post-Birthday World, please let me know your opinion! I think I need a little nudge, one way or the other, and then I’ll finally take action.


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!

For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control






23 thoughts on “Shelf Control #51: The Post-Birthday World

  1. I haven’t read The Post-Birthday World, but I have read We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I really liked. I admit to being a little intimidated by Lionel Shriver, and so haven’t tried anything else by her. I know it’s silly. I hope you do enjoy this one when you read it, Lisa.

    • Thanks! I know what you mean about being intimidated. I had a copy of We Need to Talk about Kevin, and finally offloaded it when I realized that I just would not enjoy reading it.

    • A good friend of mine read Talk About Kevin, and was in such a terrible mood the entire week she was reading it. She said afterward that it was a great book in some ways, but that she was so miserable during the experience that she couldn’t actually recommend it.

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  4. I have read this one, back when it was released, and really enjoyed it. It is quite an involved read, however one that has stayed with me ever since. I’m a huge fan of sliding doors scenarios so I was preconditioned to enjoy it!

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