Modern Mrs. Darcy asks: What's on YOUR bookshelf?
I was a bookseller for almost two decades. This job came with long hours, low pay and only vague returns, but the one thing that it had that I miss - really, really miss - is all the books. I miss taking new books out of the box and seeing them before the rest of the world. I miss having access to them all the time. I miss talking to like-minded book lovers and making suggestions for their next read.
I really do miss being around books all day.
Over the years I amassed a really ridiculous amount of books. Between a really reasonable discount and first dibs on ARCs (advance reader's copies), my shelves, quite literally, overfloweth. My hubby is a reader too, and between us we just had more books than space, so a few years ago in a fit of de-cluttering I got rid of hundreds - ok, maybe even thousands - of books. It made me super sad at the time, but really, it was out of control. What that means though is that what's left is pretty much the best of the best.
You might think that all those years of being around perfectly organized and categorized books would spill over into my home shelves, but I think I rebelled against it. My bookshelves are in no particular order. They are cluttered with family photos and knick knacks. They are messy and warm and totally us, and I love each and every book I put on them.
Even though I don't have the thousands of books I once had, every time I look at my shelves I spot a little treasure I haven't seen in a while. Sometimes I pick it up and read a page or two, and it's like running into an old friend you haven't seen for years and being able to pick up the conversation like we were just talking yesterday.
Here I see The Yale Shakespeare, a John Grisham and a couple of my favorite short story anthologies. The sci-fi/fantasy books you see interspersed here and there are all my hubby's. I've read a few of them, but they're definitely more his thing than mine.
Oh Lewis Grizzard - you left us too soon! You were a funny, funny man. My vintage Faulkner books have a special place in my heart, and I spy the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Midwives on this shelf.
In among my coffee table sized books I see some mythology, a book on Ford Mustangs (like my '66 convertible), a photo book of Elvis, some fairies, and some Disney stuff. They are all important to me in different ways.
Umberto Eco jumps out at me from this shelf. I also see Faye Kellerman (if you haven't read her early stuff - DO!), Larry McMurtry, who writes the best, most realistic dialogue I've ever read, an autographed Homer Hickam (I actually have quite a few autographed books from all my years of going to bookstore manager conventions), and a baby name book, which really didn't serve my kids all that well.
This shelf has some more recent advance reader's copies on it. My friend Natalie knows how much I miss them and keeps sending and/or bringing me ones she knows I will love. I admit, I may have gasped when I pulled the new Amy Tan out of the last box she brought me.
I see another vintage Faulkner book here, and an autographed George Takei. Oh, and Les Mis, and a book on shots. That shelf is just a party waiting to happen, isn't it?
Oh! Barbara Kingsolver! I love her! There's also some Melville here, and a book on how to buy a house. That one could probably go - I'm pretty well settled in here, and have no plans to go anywhere else - ever.
A beautiful copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls is peeking out from this shelf, along with a collector's edition Harry Potter, and the one book that I consider my greatest reader's fail of all time. I DID NOT like Cold Mountain. To be honest, I hated it. It was SO freaking boring. But the rest of the entire world loved it, so I have picked it up and tried to read it no less than a half dozen times over the years. Yep, still boring. I keep it as a reminder of my failure ;).
I see my Atlas of Literature, which was a gift from my first bookstore boss, a Tami Hoag book which reminds me of my Mama (those books were her favorites), a Mr. Boston bartender's guide, Willie Nelson's attempt at fiction (stick with what you know, old boy) and a couple good and geeky comic book hero guides. This shelf is a pretty perfect representation of a day in my life.
So there you have it - a smattering of books from my shelves. It's by no means all - only a few of the (least messy) shelves, plus most of my shelves are double stacked so you can't see what's behind. And in case you thought I don't have any kids' books, the boys both have bookcases in their rooms and they have at least as many books as I do. For some reason when I was in my book de-cluttering phase I had a really hard time getting rid of any of those.
Did you spot anything on my shelves that you love? That you hate? I want to see your bookcases, too!