Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Show Us Your Bookcases!

Apparently there is a meme or meme-like thing going on in the academic blogging world around taking a picture of your bookcase(s) and posting it on your blog. I saw it at Nicoleandmaggie's blog, and was persuaded to join in. (OK, I admit it, it took one question and I agreed to do it... It sounded like fun!)

There are two main bookcases for the grown ups in my house. Each child also has a bookcase in her room, and there is a shelf of kids' books in the living room, too. I have had to prune back books rather aggresively since having kids. We just don't have enough space for everything. I have also started buying my books almost exclusively in electronic format. I have discovered that I actually prefer reading on the Kindle. It is easier to carry with me. It is light enough to hold in one hand, no matter how long the book is. And I can make highlights guilt free (I'm the daughter of a librarian, and have a very hard time writing in a book!) and easily find those highlights later. As a bonus, I also don't have to figure out how to store the physical book.

Here is the bookcase in the living room.


The bottom four shelves are fiction. Those are a mix of mine and Mr. Snarky's, but since Mr. Snarky had to ship his possessions over in a shipping container when he moved here, my books far outnumber his.  The top shelf holds my philosophy books from college- yes, I've read at least a portion of each of those, plus some more that were in a box that was lost in transit between college and graduate school. I took Philosophical Perspectives for my humanities sequence and Classics of Social and Political Thought for my social sciences sequence. I then decided I wanted some different reading and switched to Near Eastern Civilizations for my history sequence, which means I've read large portions of the Koran and the Bible as well as Zoroastrian texts (stored elsewhere, next to my copy of the The Tao of Pooh). And yet I remain areligious...

Anyway, back to the bookcase. The second shelf from the top is biographies and memoirs. I have a weakness for memoirs.

There are two more shelves that you can't see in this picture, because they are covered by the sofa- we needed more floor space for train tracks, so we shoved the sofa back at some point and decided to leave it there. Those store our travel guidebooks and infrequently used cookbooks.

And here are my bookshelves in the office:



The books on the shelves are my non-fiction that isn't a memoir or biography- although I see I have chosen to store The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks here for some reason. (If you haven't read that one, you should. It is every bit as good as you've heard.) The books on the very top shelf are my journals from our big "circle Pacific" trip, which I am so very glad I wrote. I occasionally get one down and reread a section, and I love how that brings back the good memories from that trip.

The stack by the printer is my physical "to read" stack, consisting mostly of gifts and things Mr. Snarky bought and thinks I should read. Actually, he tries to put every book he reads there, but I periodically give him a stack of rejects and tell him to figure out what to do with them himself- I don't want them.

In other book-related news, The Zebra Said Shhh now has FOUR five-star reviews (and one three-star review) on Amazon. I'm pretty happy about that, and very happy that people seem to be liking my book. And I'll leave it there before I start a Sally Field-esque gush.

Leave me comments about your bookcases- or links to your own pictures!

21 comments:

  1. Sarah (@SarahHCarl)2:30 AM

    Yes, I love the UChicago nerdiness!! I took Philosophical Perspectives for humanities too, and for social sciences I took Power, Identity, and Resistance - and I still have pretty much all of those books, with post-it notes sticking out all over the place to mark the passages I wanted for my essays :). Long-term book storage is about to get tricky for me, though, as they're all on a bookshelf in my parents' house while I'm in grad school in the UK, but the house has just been sold ...

    Still, I think the idea of posting pictures of your bookshelves is a lot of fun, too. I've always been intrigued by looking at what's on someone's bookshelves when I'm invited to his or her house for the first time - it's a bit of a window into your personality, I think.

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    1. I've read arguments that the switch to eBooks is depriving people of that window into a person that perusing their bookcases provides. I guess there's always GoodReads or LibraryThing...

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  2. We have the equivalent of five of your living room bookcases, plus a 3-shelf bookcase in Baguette's room for her books and another bookshelf in the garage, because we had nowhere else to put it.

    I will not be photographing any of them.

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    1. I honestly do not know where we'd put more shelves, or we'd have them. Our house is small!

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  3. We have a bookshelf in every room in the house except the master bedroom and the bathrooms, and there are still books doubled up on shelves. I just can't help myself when I see a good book at a garage sale or thrift store.

    Your comment on writing in books brought to mind this academic survey that's being done about marginalia: http://doyouwriteinthemargins.tumblr.com/ourlovelyproject If you have a bit of time, I'm sure they'd love to get your response!

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    1. I'll try to head over and take the survey this weekend.

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  4. LOL. No pictures. There is a bookcase in the kitchen (cookbooks), open shelves in the living room (cookbooks, art books, photography books, large-format Judaica that don't fit anywhere else), a glass-fronted bookcase in the living room (Judaica, collectible/rare/first editions), open shelves in the computer room (nature books, music, Judaica overflow, random books I inherited from my grandmother). That's the first floor.

    Second floor: open shelves in our room (parenting, books I want to read, crosswords), bookshelves in our room (his books, my overflow), open shelves in the treadmill room (science books, his books, my non-fiction) and at least four boxes of books in my closet and in the TV room that we don't currently have shelves for. And that's after a ruthless culling to get rid of all the hardback and most of the paperback fiction, my conversion to Kindle for most of my reading, and my daughter's emphatic rejection of the family book-loving tradition. I did a book-counting meme a few years ago and I came up with something north of 5,000. I'm sure it's more now.

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    1. I didn't show the (small) shelf of frequently used cookbooks in the kitchen, or the little clusters of books found on various other shelves around the place....

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  5. Totally off-topic, but did you see Dr. Isis's blog today?

    And for folks who don't want to show lots of pictures of their bookcases on their blogs, how about a partial shot? That's a bit selfish though, #2 and I love looking at books. (The pic I show is from our bedroom rather than our living rooms, as nobody IRL goes in there. I did have to photoshop over the place where I'd written I <3 [DH's name] in the dust.)

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    1. It popped up in my twitter stream so yes, I did. And then I clicked through and commented a couple related places. I saw your comment on Dr. Isis' blog, and didn't really have much to add, although maybe something will come to me and I'll go over and comment later.

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  6. That's a very restrained collection for an avid reader. I have bookshelves everywhere and never enough room.

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    1. Well, I did have a forced culling of several bags' worth thanks to the mold problem last year. I had 3-4 more shelves worth before that happened.

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  7. I have shelf envy. My books are sitting in piles against walls all over the place.

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    1. You need to figure out how to make that your decorating theme!

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    2. Amen. The universe has been conspiring against my attempts to add bookshelves. And I live sooo far from IKEA, grrr....

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  8. We also have so many books overflowing from at least 8 bookshelves that I don't think I'd be able to take pictures. ;-)

    I bought your book and read it to the kids tonight. We loved it! Great job! We'll definitely be reading it a lot. My daughter was impressed that I knew you (and I do feel like I know you).

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you liked the book. I actually have my next kids' book already in progress, so maybe there will be more...

      And yes, you do know me. I dislike the silly distinction between online and offline friends. Some day, we'll get to meet in person, and I'll sign your copy!

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  9. Take a picture anyway! You don't have to get all your bookshelves-- it's only a slice of book-shelf, not the whole pie. A window into your book persona, not the entire house. Personally I think that makes it even more awesome-- you can imagine what the rest of the bookshelves must be like (are they neater, messier, non-fiction, hardback? the mystery is that much more tantalizing.)

    We have 8 full-sized bookshelves, not counting the built-ins which are smaller (and hold cookbooks, magazines, and DC2's books... also a small long one that used to hold dvds now holds DC2 toys), but only took a small picture of a few shelves of the bedroom bookcases. The rest is left to the imagination.

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    1. oops, that was supposed to be a reply to caramama...

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  10. I love how all the comments are people with lots and lots of books. :)

    We're a book-loving family as well. DH did get me a Kindle for the winter holidays but I use it mostly for borrowing library books. We still hold dear the idea of being able to read the books we've purchased 50 yrs from now. Though I do agree that the Kindle makes it easier to make progress in my current life. (We wish that when purchasing a print book there was an option to add on the e-file for a small surcharge.)

    I digress.

    If I were to take a picture of our bookshelves, I'd have to select from: kitchen bookcase (cookbooks), living room (kids books), children's rooms (2), master bedroom (1), library (small, but wall-to-wall and books double-stacked on some shelves.)
    When we purchased this house, we inherited the bulk of the library, which consisted of two generations of books. The previous owners took some (to sell) and we donated several boxes of ones that didn't interest us. There are a whole lot of "want to read someday" (especially the biographies and memoirs) that I like to say we'll thin out, but in reality the long-term plans for this house entail changing the downstairs "formal living room" into a library.

    Our love of reading and books is one of the things that brought my husband and I together. Good thing!

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    1. Obviously it should be your kitchen bookcase, since your blog is In the Kitchen with Sally!

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