Thursday, June 19, 2008


cultural studies

film and visual cultural theory

sociology & evolution

i've written previously on my beloved bookshelves and how my identity is connected to them. this morning, it was cloudy and a bit drizzly, so i didn't take my usual morning wander with the camera through the garden. i was stuck inside, so to take a little break i took these shots of the bookshelves in our bedroom.  

it's a great shelf from ikea that is open and so we can shelve books from both sides. it's effectively a room-divider, a wall of books in our bedroom, separating our bed from a couch and our two desks and what will be an opening down to our new addition when it's finished. the bookshelves are the last thing i look at before i go to sleep at night and the first thing i see when i wake up in the morning. they are a source of comfort to me, even tho' there is a rather shocking amount of dust on them.

whenever i visit people, i'm always curious to see what's on their bookshelves. do books hold a central place in their home or are they hidden away? i am suspicious of people who have no visible books in their home. you can't really trust non-readers, can you? one of the couples we know has put up a very high bookshelf up close to the ceiling in their living room. it goes the whole way around, and is filled with books. it looks great and gives the room atmosphere, but i have often wondered how they get to their books. they would definitely need to get out a ladder to do so. i don't think i'd like my books to be difficult to get to like that (not without purpose, as we'll see in a moment).

my sister-in-law in sweden has a beautiful home with  many books. her books are grouped according to color. it looks really good, especially the reds, but she admitted that she can't find anything. there are some books that i'd be able to remember the color of the cover, but by no means all. i have a need to be able to find a book when i'm looking for it.

thus the grouping you see above. i think i have taken my cue from the way that libraries group their books--according to a broad topic--like sociology or 19th century russians or film theory--and then alphabetical by author. i have enough of some authors that they have their own special section, apart from their broad topic--thus barthes and bakhtin and zizek have their own shelf.

my fiction is in boxes at the moment, awaiting shelves in the new addition, but i think i'll try something new (for me) when i unpack it. i intend to divide it into "good" and "beach" novels. it just seems wrong to have dan brown next to...well...anything...but oddly i can't bring myself to get rid of those few books of his i've been desperate enough to pick up in an airport somewhere. so books like that are going to go up on the highest shelves, out of both easy reach and being easily read by those below (since i'm slightly ashamed to own such books).

i'm curious, how do you shelve your books?


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Oh my.
"you can't really trust non-readers, can you?" No. You cannot.
I'm keeping this post up for a while so I can take in all the books. And you mentioned IKEA. That's a place dear to my heart, I tell you. We love to go there and look at the economically spaced living areas, and see how one can live with just a few feet of space. We get lots of ideas from IKEA. But oh, the books!

"it just seems wrong to have dan brown next to...well...anything."
You've got me laughing now, and nodding along at the same time. Not being a fan, and somehow finding Dan Brown in every single used bookstore I go to (by the thousands I see him) I know just what you mean. But it's good to have books on the shelf that don't mean so much, that you might pick up once in a while for light reading.

d smith kaich jones said...

The Dan Brown comment was hilarious! Apparently the Catholic Church is feeling the same way at the moment! :)

I shelve by "topic", with art stuff & candles acting as bookends, but admit to making sure the prettiest ones face out, and color-coordinating within each topic. I just can't help it!

I have all my childhood Trixie Belden books boxed & in a closet - when I feel really blue, I haul it out & start re-reading them, starting at the beginning.

I ALWAYS judge people by the books around their house. Or the lack thereof. Also - if I loan out a book & don't get it back, I'm not bothered. I just replace it.

LOVE this little view into your life.


julochka said...

Elementary--If you look in the top right corner of the bottom picture, you just might catch a glimpse of a certain lovely little boat. :-)

we love ikea too, but we have to what with husband being half swedish. :-)

but you didn't say how you shelve your books!

Deb--I LOVE TRIXIE BELDEN TOO!!! mine are all "home" in my parents' basement, but i reread those so many times. most memorable scene for me was one where the big brother (was his name Ben?) was poisoned by apple seeds from eating a whole lot of waldorf salad. isn't that a funny thing to remember?

i will admit that i sometimes arrange by size and not alphabetical by author, but always within the broad topic. and if there's not room, like you, i make sure the pretty ones show. :-)

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I completely missed that one! Thanks for pointing it out to me ;) How lovely to see it.

As for how I shelve my books... well, I was embarrassed to bring that up because the apartment we live in is too small and too temporary for us to put much effort into it. When we move, I'll construct some sort of order to them. The only categories that are together are my cookbooks, my Thomas Hardy novels, all the Calvin and Hobbes. Everything else just gets put where there's a gap. Not something I'm particularly proud of- but I do happen to know where every single book is within a moment's notice. Even Spouse's books.

julochka said...

elementary--didn't mean to put the pressure on! :-) what's important is that you know where they are. :-)

Magpie said...

in boxes.

BUT finally, the carpenters are coming next week - to build shelves in two rooms. i am beside myself with happiness.

Tara said...

Look here

and here

julochka said...

very cool, tara! thank you for sharing!! i noticed you have the Nigel Slater too. love him!!