Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What your bookshelves say about you...

Despite all my fawning over the library, I do actually own SOME books.  Sometimes I like to just sit down in front of my bookcase and flick through the pages, especially in the ones I haven't gotten around to reading yet.  A while ago I got to thinking about what your bookcase says about you.  Clothing and decor choices both reflect our personalities, but somehow our reading material seems much more personal - who can tell from looking at me that Danny Wallace and Christopher Paolini are among my favourite authors, despite being totally different genres?  That I eat up local history books, especially the ones with old pictures taken in the places I walk by daily?  That I'm more likely to reread a series of books rather than a stand alone novel?

Here's what's on my bedside table right now - my new five year journal (with questions, so I'm not just writing 'went to work, talked about Downton Abbey with my boss and had crisps for lunch' day after day...), my friend's favourite book and my inspiring minimalist book.  And 'The Power of Now', which someone told me to read years ago and I still can't get through...
Part of my non fiction shelf - can you tell I like books about knitting and old cinemas? ;)  The 'Knitted Toys' one was originally my mums, I remember flicking through it as a child and wanting to be good enough to make something from it.  She actually knitted me loads of toys though so I had half the collection anyway!
Books about OMG AMERICA! (one of my favourite places ever), eco living, running, movies, money and M&S.  Seems about right...  And more history books obviously.
My Danny Wallace collection and some well thumbed favourites.  My cousins in America sent me 'Mandy' and 'The Diamond in the Window' yeeears ago and they obviously had good taste because I've read them both countless times.
And the series books - the ones hard to get in a set at the library basically.  Harry Potter, Narnia, Dark Materials, Inheritance cycle and Malory Towers :)  And of course Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling's books.  For when female comedy writing is needed.  Fingers crossed Amy Poehler takes up book writing next...

Has anyone else done a similar post?  Or want to share your essential reads?  I love nosing at other peoples bookshelves!



  1. Goodness knows what my shelves say about me, I tend to only buy books from charity shops and I base my choices on cover and blurb, and whether I enjoy a paragraph flicked to at random!

    I read Yes Man a couple of years ago and can't say I like Danny Wallace much, not sure why, he just gets on my nerves! Really enjoyed When God was a Rabbit last year though :)

  2. I'll take you a picture of my bookshelves and post it in the next week or so, I'm sure they just say I'm a fan of chick lit drivel and that they are total organised(?) chaos!

  3. Argh, I love this post! I love seeing other peoples bookshelves.

    I've only read Yes Man by Danny Wallance. It was OK, but I didn't realise he'd written so many books! The Dark Materials books have been on my 'to read' list for a while, and I used to love Malory Towers :)

    I have so many favourite books that it would take at least one blog post to list them, so I may copy you and do a similar post soon :)

  4. You have so many. From my shelves, you'd think I was super well read and enjoyed a classic. They mostly belong to my husband. However, one of my resolutions this year was to make more time to read. But then I got a kindle so the book colection will likely stay small!

  5. This is probably the only thing I dislike about Kindles - you don't get that insight into people's lives that you get from s rummage through their book shelves. (Or music collections: when I was a teenager, any time I met someone new I'd insist on seeing their CD collection, so I could judge them appropriately. I ... didn't have many friends.)

    Our house is so small and cramped we don't have room to have books on display, and because I use my Kindle so much now they're all tucked away in random corners, with a few hundred in my parents' attic. If you could see them, though, you'd guess I liked mystery/ghost stories, classics, and basically anything that features a mysterious secret from the past which is only uncovered when someone buys an old house and discovers a diary in the attic or suchlike. I'd also have a shelf very like your last photo, with tons of children's books, mostly Enid Blyton: still love re-reading them, despite the rampant racism/sexism/classim/everything-ism that becomes horribly apparent when you read them as an adult!

  6. Since I got a Kindle I've taken the opportunity to clear out a lot of books that were just collecting dust. However my kitchen bookcases hold all my cookbooks and they'll never go - there's about 320 of them. In the living room the bookcases are mainly full of non-fiction books which I never get around to reading...

  7. I love this post so much. I'm inspired to do the same thing. My system is a bit different. I've got a massive bookshelf and only books that I've read go on that. All the unread ones are scattered around my bedroom and office. If I put them on the bookcase, they would never get read. :D

  8. I have a kind of related post scheduled for tomorrow - typical! But I like this idea better; I might do the same sometime. Is the Mindy Kaling book good? It's been on my wishlist for a while but I've seen completely contradictory reviews of it (from bloggers, not the random grumpy people on Amazon, I mean).

  9. I did a post last year, can't remember when though when one of the shelves on a bookcase collapsed and I had to take everything off it! I have a LOT of books, 4 bookcases and the underneath of 2 beds are pretty much all books. Comes from 23 years working in a library I think!!

  10. My husband reads books that all look the same. He can't even tell by the blurb whether he's already read it, yawn! It's got to include a variety. You have loads of awesome looking old books there x

  11. This is one of the first things I do when I arrive in someone's house - check out the bookshelves. Not to judge I hasten to add, just to see what's on there.

    That's why I freak out when I go in someone's house and I CANNOT SEE ANY BOOKS. How does this happen?!

    I am WELL intrigued about this 5 year journal - tell me more please!

    I can't think about my bookshelves at the moment. Mostly because they're in Preston and I'm not and I miss them. Sad face.


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