Monday, August 01, 2016


I ran across this interesting article on CNN online the other day: Why 'Shelfies,' Not Selfies, Are a Better Snapshot of Who You Are.

The idea is that you can tell more about a person by looking at their bookshelves than by looking at a million selfies posted in social media. For readers, this is not news - I've always believed that, even before we knew what "selfies" were. When I visit someone's home for the first time, one of the first things I look for is the bookshelves and what they hold. Of course, just having shelves of books doesn't mean much; some people buy books for show, but never read them. To weed out these literary poseurs, I look at how well worn the books seem to be*.

With that in mind, here are three "shelfies" that cover the three shelves in my study that contain my favorite fiction - books I've read over and over and will no doubt read many more times ...

The top shelf is dedicated to my J.R.R. Tolkien collection, including The HobbitThe Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and other related books, along with the full trilogy of the LORT movies, my set of Game of Thrones DVDs and a few other favorite movies ...

By the way, the German sign in the foreground says (loosely translated), "Bitching and complaining forbidden!"

The second shelf features the complete set of Harry Potter novels and a few other favorites (among them Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime, by John Dunning; The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice; and The Kappillan of Malta, by Nicholas Monsarrat) ...

And the third shelf has Stieg Larssen's Millenium Trilogy and a few other great novels (among them The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; The Man with the Iron Heart, by Harry Turtledove; and Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather**), as well as my treasured copy of Isaac Asimov's classic The Sensuous Dirty Old Man***...

There are 14 more individual shelves of books in my study and in the hallway outside the door, loosely arranged by topic (World War II, American history, political science, military affairs, the philosophy of Eric Hoffer, the psychology of terrorism and fanaticism, and a lot more fiction (Agnes and I enjoy the works of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, Jonathan Kellerman, Lee Child, Tom Clancy, and many others). I'll post a few more shelfies another time to cover some of those other shelves.

And what about you? Post a shelfie or two so I can browse your shelves and learn a bit more about you, too.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Most of my books, regardless of age, are in superb condition. One of my mother's favorite admonitions to us was, "Be careful with books; books are your friends."

** The source of one of my favorite quotes: "Men travel faster now, but I do not know if they go to better things."

** With thanks to my old high school friend and used bookshop owner Mary Lou for finding it for me!


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I agree; peoples' bookshelves speak volumes about what kind of interests they have, what kind of person they are.

Thanks for this insight into your bookshelves.

John Hill said...

It has been quite some time since I've devoted much time to reading fiction. I used to read each Stephen King novel as it came out and have always enjoyed Louis L'amour westerns as well as some of his other writing.

Some of my favorite books on my shelf are about word origins and origins of many of our sayings, phrases and fables. I feel fortunate to have passed on this particular curiosity to my daughter who so impressed one of her high school teachers that he gave her his copy of his favorite book on word origins.

Perhaps I should get back to some good fiction reading. After all, us retired guys have lots of time for such things, right?

Gonzo Dave said...

I have three shelf units in my living room, each with 6 shelves. They contain books such as my high school and college yearbooks; a history of the P-51 (and a book about horrible airplanes); most of both the original Tom Swift and the Tom Swift, Jr. series; "outdoorsy" books like Wild; "How-To" and "Where-To" books for hiking, kayaking, bicycling, and motorcycling; books like All I need to Know I learned in Kindergarten; and books of many fiction genres by authors such as J.A.Jance, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, James Patterson, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and many more.

Also on those shelves are family photos and miscellaneous bric-a-brac items.

Mike said...

Do books in piles, under chairs, or on side tables count?

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I like the idea of shelfies so much better Bill.Even the cha-kees show who you are. :-)

I have books that are from the 70's and my romance novel days. Those are embarrassing. Danielle Steele - oh my. Yes, I am ridiculed by folks who see those on my bookcases.
I have to admit I read them and that is better than not reading I suppose.
I have books on shelves, books on nightstands, books in boxes in closets. My husband tells me to get rid of them, I just can't. So each time he brings it up, I suggest I can do 1 book if he throws out one of his fishing lures. Shuts him right up. :-)

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Gorgeous. I will have to take some photos of mine!