It's a dreadful feeling when you leave something behind in an hotel or on a train. Small things like books are common items found on transport, along with shoes, smartphones, satnavs, toiletries, laptops, bags, light sabres and prosthetic limbs.
But are these items always 'forgotten'? Or have they been dumped?
I imagine in most cases of bags, smartphones and such like, that they have simply been mistakenly left. But some things are embarrassing. You don't want anyone to know of your secret indulgences. So you simply pretend to forget to pick it up.
I'm talking about shameful books.
In a smart hotel I stayed in, there was a corner of the lounge that appeared to be a library. Dozens of paperback books adorned a large table where guests could borrow a book to read and exchange it when they were done. What a great idea. I also took the opportunity to leave each book with one of my wonderful bookmarks. Well, you never know.
This is not an unusual thing. So many books are left at hotels that impromptu libraries spring up naturally. And that's a wonderful thing. So many people buy a couple of cheap paperbacks at the airport with no intention of taking them home, it makes sense to let others read them afterwards. No shame in that. Admirable in fact.
But what if there was some shame in your reading material? What if you didn't want anyone to know that you read serious romantic fiction or Simon Cowell's autobiography? Buy it on holiday and 'accidentally' forget to pack it away. Sorted.
The hotel chain Travelodge compiles an annual list of items that have been left in their hotels and not claimed. They report that over 22,000 of those items have been books. In 2010 the most commonly found book was Simon Cowell's autobiography, but in the 2018 report erotica books written by Sylvia Day and E.L. James, of the Fifty Shades series, topped the list, followed by erotica author Jennifer Probst. The all-time most abandoned book is Fifty Shades Freed. Bit of a theme here.
Books by celebrities aren't something to boast about either, judging by what has been left behind. David Walliams, Dawn French, Bradley Wiggins, Katie Price, Piers Morgan, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Sugar, Cheryl Cole and Richard Branson all made the top twenty dumped books over the last few years.
Other remainers include A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Racketeer by John Grisham as well as a range of Dan Brown books. Considering that children aren't the most practical creatures, surprisingly only a very few children's books get left behind. Of those, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Hunger Games are the most common.
The reasons given for not taking the books away are that they have genuinely forgot to take them, that they have left them for others to enjoy or simply they didn't want them.
I'm kind of offended in a weird sort of way that none of my books made it into the hotel libraries...