Bloggers’ / vloggers’ bookshelf tours are fascinating. The collection of books you keep is a personal, important thing, and it reveals a lot about the books’ owner — especially if, like me, restricted space means that you give books away if they’re not good enough to get a permanent place on the shelf. (I think I’ve read about five books this year and immediately given them away — I get a lot of free ones!).
I recently reorganised my books to make better use of my limited space, and I found organising my books one of the most satisfying things I have ever done: I’m keen to show off all my hard work! Click any of the pics to enlarge them.
If you would like me to lend you any of these books, just shout and I will send them to you! (UK only)
As part of my job I can take a copy of any of the books that we publish, and buy others at a discount. It is a complete and utter delight. I try not to take too many for sake of space: I’ll often take one, read it, and bring it back. These are all the great ones. Many of them are signed.
- Fifteen Dogs — Andre Alexis;
- Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes — Daniel Everett;
- Notes on Blindness — John Hull;
- I Hate the Internet — Jarett Kobek;
- We Need to Talk about Kevin — Lionel Shriver;
- American Heiress — Jeffrey Toobin [though it’s not out for a while in the UK]
- The Book of Disquiet — Fernando Pessoa;
- The Riddle of the Labyrinth — Margalit Fox;
- Our Revolution — Bernie Sanders.
Kids’ Books and Non-Fiction
I don’t have too many of either of these genres. Many of my non-fiction books are from my degree course (the contents of which I hardly ever think about these days), or books I’ve been given and not read. I loved many of the kids’ books when I was younger and now can’t bear to throw them away — especially Marigold in Godmother’s House: the book smells like my granny. In comparison with kids’ lit, I’ve put my YA novels with others of their genre aimed at adults.
- Everything by Beth Webb or Cliff McNish;
- Dataclysm — Christian Rudder;
- Hyperbole and a Half — Allie Brosh;
- As Nature Made Him — John Colapinto.
I used to divide my historical fiction into ‘written in the modern day about the past‘ and ‘written a long time ago about the same time‘, but I recently put them together and just arranged the whole bunch by author.
The horizontal pile of bigger books, including To the Lighthouse, are books I studied in sixth form. The smaller horizontal books include my collection of Penguin Little Black Classics — I wrote about how awesome that series is here.
- The Crimson Petal and The White — Michael Faber;
- Tess of the d’Urbevilles — Thomas Hardy;
- For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway;
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers;
- War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy;
- Madame Bovary — Gustav Flaubert (I studied this book, took apart its every detail — and it’s still on my ‘highlights’ list);
- Mrs Hemingway — Naomi Wood;
- Lorna Doone — R D Blackmoor.
- Clara Vaughan — R D Blackmoor;
- Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoevsky;
- Catch-22 — Joseph Heller;
- Confessions of a Thug — Turner.
Science Fiction / Fantasy
My local Tube station has a take-one-leave-one bookshelf. So far I have acquired three Terry Pratchetts from it — it is my dream that eventually I’ll have a complete collection. (I have a lot more of this genre in particular on my eReader).
- Everything by Maggie Stiefvater, Robin Hobb and Terry Pratchett (I came late to all three, but OH MY GOD);
- Use of Weapons — Iain M Banks;
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell — Susanna Clarke;
- The Lie Tree — Francis Hardinge;
- A Song of Ice and Fire — George R R Martin (that hyperlink is to my summary of having read the series, which is woefully naive now that I have seen the TV show;
- His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman.
- Rivers of London — Ben Aaranovitch;
- Horns — Joe Hill;
- The Book of Amber — Roger Zelazny;
- We, the Drowned — Carsten Jensen.
Whatever the hell Literature means. My best definition is that these are books written about the present day (loosely) and don’t have any magic. If you have a better space, within my current structure, for Naked Lunch to go, I’d like to hear it.
The horizontal stack are books I’ve borrowed.
- American Psycho — Bret Eason Ellis;
- Everything by John Updike;
- Eileen — Ottessa Moshfegh;
- All That is Solid Melts into Air — Darragh McKeon.
- And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie;
- The Children’s Book — AS Byatt;
- Trainspotting — Irvine Welsh;
- H Is for Hawk — Helen McDonald;
- Our Endless Numbered Days — Claire Fuller.
I have one shelf that is reserved especially for my very favourite books, regardless of genre. They are arranged randomly, mostly to conserve space. These are my precious books, and they have made me who I am.