Friday, March 18, 2005

A Bookcase Tour of My Own

Inspired by Bookworld who was inspired by The Sheila Variations, I thought I'd describe my bookshelves too for all you people who claim to be nosy. I have no digital camera to allow for accompanying pictures so you'll have to use your imaginations. The Living Room As much as I'd love to have the entire room covered in bookshelves, it gets too much direct sunlight to be able to do it. So there is only one bookcase against the only wall that doesn't get direct light. The books here have to share real estate with the stereo. On one shelf are newly acquired books that are awaiting permanent shelving. Also on this shelf are books we have finished reading but have been too lazy to actually put back where they belong. Of course the shelf isn't big enough so there is a small overflow pile on a table next to the sofa. Currently among these books are Saturday by Ian McEwan, Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem, The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen, The Land by Vita Sackville-West and Pearl by Mary Gordon On another shelf of this bookcase are the oversized books known as coffee table books but we call them art books--Salvador Dali, Frieda Kahlo, Michelangelo, Georgia O'Keefe among others. There is also At Home With Books and Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. The Bedroom We do not have bedside tables, my Bookman and I each have a bedside shelf. It is a small shelf with just enough room for the 6-7 books in progress and one or two in waiting. My pile used to reside under the shelf on the floor but has been move to its own shelf in my work room. Among the books on my shelf you'll find Don Quixote, Virginia Woolf's Diary Volume 2, and The Soul of Rumi. Among the books on my Bookman's shelf are Don Quixote, a complete Pepys Diary in two volumes with slipcovers, and Improbable. The Work Room Since my Bookman and I are child free we can turn rooms of the house into other things besides bedrooms and playrooms.  So the workroom is my room.  I have three 5-foot shelves on one wall and five 6-foot shelves on another.  One 5-foot shelf is dedicated to my diaries/journals/notebooks, whatever you'd like to call them.  I have 36 of them and am working on filling number 37 (a lovely Moleskine. My first and definitely not my last).  The shelf below that has an assortment of books I like to refer to as books about writing (Negotiating With the Dead by Margaret Atwood, Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks, Writing a Woman's Life by Carolyn Heilbrun).  The third shelf which is directly above my desk, houses only a couple of books--The American Heritage Dictionary, Montaigne and my journal in progress.  The rest of the shelf is taken up by my printer and way too many bottles of fountain pen ink.   On the five shelf wall on the bottom shelf I have a large collection of books about the European witch craze.   On the next shelf up I have miscellaneous reference books sharing the space with a small stereo, cds and tarot cards.    On the third shelf I have an assortment of books. I can't really say how I decide what books go there but I can definitely say if a new book belongs on that shelf or doesn't. Among the books are a complete Grimm's Fairy Tales and a complete Hans Christian Andersen, The Bhagavaad Gita, two translations of the Tao Te Ching, a King James Bible missing the first chapter of Genesis (I have no idea what happened to it), The Portable Nietzsche, The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing, and How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton.   On the fourth shelf are my books about books and books about reading.  Also on this shelf are the new Barnes and Noble Classics series I have been collecting.  The ones that reside here are the ones I have not read (dare I admit to what these are? Only a couple, Anna Karenina, Candide, Tom Jones).  Once I have read them they get shelved in the basement library.   On the fifth shelf are the books that used to be piled beside the bed. The teetering piles now look tidy and the books are easier to see.  I've sorted them by fiction (Pinkerton's Sister by Peter Rushforth, Within a Budding Grove by Proust), nonfiction (The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins, Adam's Curse by Bryan Sykes) and poetry (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, Healing Earthquakes by Jimmy Santiago Baca).   The Attic, AKA the Aerie This is my Bookman's nook and is in a state of remodel. But it is where all of the hobby books live. These include more knitting books than is needed in a lifetime, how to draw books, and crochet books.   There is a ledge on the stairs up to the attic where all of the gardening and the Home Depot do-it-yourself books stay.   The Kitchen There is no bookshelf in the kitchen but a corner of the countertop holds our assorted cookbooks.  All are vegetarian or vegan and include Simply Vegan, How it All Vegan and High Road to Health (by Lindsay Wagner, aka The Bionic Woman).   The Library One of the great things about living in the Midwest is all the houses have basements.  And we have the joy of a finished basement.  The only thing about the basement is that in winter it is really cold in spite of the furnace.  In summer though when the temperature and the humidity is high is it is wonderful. There is only one room here that has books and we call that the library. There is nothing but bookcases in this room. The bookcases all came from Barnes and Noble quite a few years ago when they were changing the kind and size of the bookcases they had in the stores. My Bookman had a truck then so was able to rescue some and haul them home. Around the entire perimeter of the room are ten bookcases, two of them have six shelves each and the rest have five shelves each. Each bookcase is a little over 2 1/2 feet wide. Eight of these bookcases are dedicated to fiction. The first shelf of the first bookcase are fiction anthologies. After that it is alphabetized by author starting with Lynn Abbey and ending with Stefan Zweig. The other two perimeter bookcases are about three feet wide and belong to poetry with one full shelf dedicated to all things Adrienne Rich. In the center of the room are four more five shelf bookcases, three feet wide, standing back-to-back. These are the nonfiction bookcases organized mostly in alpha order. The first book is Sappho Was a Right-On Woman and the last is Reading Between the Lines: The Diaries of Women. Encroaching onto the nonfiction bookcases is a shelf and a bit more dedicated to all things Virginia Woolf and another full shelf dedicated to Charles Dickens. And now we end our tour. I hope you enjoyed it. Oh, and please don't think I have read anywhere near all of these books. Together my Bookman and I can say we've read about half, maybe a little more. Long gone are the days of my childhood when I could say I had read every book in my tiny bedroom bookcase. But what happiness to know that I will always have something to read.