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Shelving That Idea

01 Mar

I’m sat on my bed as I like to do when getting read to lie down in it and I feel inclined to reach for my laptop.  Well I say reach, it’s more of that keep-your-legs-on-the-bed-whilst-dragging-the-rest-of-your-body-across-the-room effort, in an overly strenuous and needless attempt stay on bed, admit it we all do it!  The reason I’ve picked up the laptop instead of winding down is because I just realised how incredibly lucky I am.

SteJ Shelf One

There are many reasons for this, family, friends and all the rest of it but the thing that did it for me today was actually seeing my bookcases.  They aren’t subtle or anything, I look at them all the time but today I have actually seen them.  Like most people  I’ve spent years accumulating books but I’ve been taking them for granted of late because I have them near me, they seem to almost become almost less special for a time..

That is until they come back into my sphere of attention and now they have and I see the absolute awesomeness of having my own personal library.   That hoarded collection is not only words – words of wonder and magic – timeless words but also memories or the promise of memories for those books not yet gotten around to yet. What I love most about having an accumulated amount of paper is the accidental placement and combinations of books.  Having memoirs of life next to sci-fi flights of fancy or staunch atheistic existentialists next to a history of the church is such a whimsical by-product of stacking.

It was the Manic Street Preachers who sang (back when they were good) ‘Libraries gave us power, then work can made us free, what promise now, for a shadow piece of dignity’ and that is perhaps the greatest gift of a collection of books, to teach us.  Whether it be new perspective or new styles of writing, history, philosophy, or just allowing us to focus on one thing at a time as opposed to the avalanche of things we usually deal with.   Nobody else will educate you half as well as you can educate yourself and your books give you that power…you are lucky.

SteJ Shelves Two

When was the last time, you truly spent time just looking (and perhaps running a finger along the spines) and just taking in the patchwork of magic you’ve compiled.  How often do you pat yourself on the back and look smug at what you have amassed? Perhaps today you should take the time to do this and send me a photo of your wonderful self-satisfied faces with your books.

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73 Comments

Posted by on 01/03/2015 in Blogging, Eccentricities, Life

 

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73 responses to “Shelving That Idea

  1. Jeff

    01/03/2015 at 20:55

    My collection overflows bookshelves in a rather strewn manner due to lack of funds for extra housing. Can’t say I find the collection satisfying though, just finishing each book.

    Like your comment about placements. I once had a run of CDs that went Morrissey, Mozart, Napalm Death.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      01/03/2015 at 21:06

      Nice taste in music mate, saddened not to see Cliff Richard in the mix but that probably says more about me than anything. Space is always a problem when books are so cheap to pick up, having been a notorious hoarder, I still have vestiges of that left over, but am getting better at it.

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  2. shadowoperator

    01/03/2015 at 21:27

    You are an unintentional comedian, my friend! While I honor and praise your tribute to shelves and books whole-heartedly, I am like your friend Jeff above in my shelving attempts! My shelves aren’t like yours in the photos, all nice and neat; my books range from old and mangy and mildewed (depending on how I’ve picked them up and whether or not it’s leaked behind my shelves lately) to nobly-spined and hardback, and all of them are crammed and shoved and wedged in the too-little amount of space I have available for them. Surely you jest when you suggest that I send you a picture! Your pictures are ideal to make your point, that many a book treats us well and that we should treat them well. You don’t want to see the collection of such a rank old hoarder as I am. Suffice it to say that I agree with every word you say about what books can do for us, and leave it at that (rather, let me praise you for being a reader of much wider variety than I am: I’m afraid I stick pretty religiously to fiction and poetry).

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    • Ste J

      01/03/2015 at 21:38

      I did pick my more respectable shelves to photograph, there are some books that are falling apart but as they are the copies that gave me memories, I am loathe to change them for newer editions. I do like haphazardly wedged in books, that is the hallmark of real character. I think photos of everybody would be good, it could even be another blog post. I am curious to see what books everybody else has as well as to see them up close of course. Fiction and poetry are great although I am determined to get you to dabble one of these days, I must up my reviewing game!

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      • shadowoperator

        01/03/2015 at 22:13

        It’s not your reviewing game that’s lacking in inspiration, it’s that my level of laziness is proof against hard facts that can’t be changed into magical elixir! I’m rather of the Mary Poppins school, you know, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”! The facts I cull from reading fiction have always seemed to be to be “better” facts, somehow, or of a high calibre, than ordinary prosy facts that I read in things like biographies and history books. I always except Richard Ellmann’s great biographies of James Joyce and William Butler Yeats from this category, but maybe I read them before my prejudices were fully formed, or else the two were too eccentric for me to get bored with them. Do you know that once, when Yeats had been droning on and on and chanting to his psaltery (some sort of medieval instrument) Ezra Pound, who was in the hard-pressed audience, suddenly grabbed a handful of tulips out of a vase and began to eat them, apparently in protest? I love that story! Now, if only all biographies were full of things like that!

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        • Ste J

          02/03/2015 at 08:05

          As far as protests go, that is pretty sedate yes memorable, most biographies tend to be too biased or cautious but stories like this really do give us more insight into people and that is after all what we the reader wish for. Laziness is a noble art form and I salute you but one day I will find that book that appeals to you enough to go seek it out.

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  3. writersideup

    02/03/2015 at 00:17

    I love seeing people’s bookshelves. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy 🙂 I actually do look at my shelves on a regular basis because I’m surrounded by them. No, not like a library lined with bookshelves, but I have shelves on each wall, plus in other rooms, all types of books. I don’t think there’s a way to post a photo in a comment, is there? : / The best I can do is show you my books on writing craft. Well, most of them. I posted it on my “about me” page: http://writersideup.com/about/me/

    And, yes, I DO feel VERY lucky to have so much. I just hope I get to read them!

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    • Ste J

      02/03/2015 at 07:57

      Books do tend to take over one’s place and spread around, I like that though, never being far from a book. I like the book photo, that is some epic book quest to read through. It’s good to be reminded of all the good stuff we have, once in a while and I think you will get time to read all your books, just don’t ask me when lol.

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  4. Letizia

    02/03/2015 at 00:30

    Love having a peak at your shelves. Gunter Grass to John Irving, love it. And another wonderful post title. You can have another peak at mine here: http://readinginterrupted.com/2013/07/08/whats-on-your-bookshelf/

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    • Ste J

      02/03/2015 at 07:53

      Crikey, what memories, I remembered that post the first time around but now I appreciate a lot more of the books and a big thumbs up for James Herriot as well. I do enjoy having a nosey and no matter how good the material my shelves contain is, I am always jealous of other shelves which is always good thing as it fuels my need to read.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Theanne aka magnoliamoonpie

    02/03/2015 at 14:50

    woe is me…I gave up having a library about 20 moves ago or maybe that’s 30 moves ago so if I photographed my self with my “library” I’d be surrounded by about 10 books. but I’m OK with that (well not all the time, I do find that on the odd occasion I pine for my lost library) most of the time. it does delight me, however, to know there are those, like yourself, who have libraries of books 🙂

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    • Ste J

      03/03/2015 at 21:29

      I think that if you keep those books that mean the most to you then your library is as awesome as if you had 300 books. It is the experience of the book that makes it enriching, I am trying to cut down my library a little, a cull is always good sometimes to free up room for more amazing books as not yet discovered.

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  6. Morgan

    02/03/2015 at 17:18

    You might be somewhat apalled at my miniscule library, unless I am allowed to include my music collection (350+ CDs) and/or DVD collection (400+) but they mean as much to me as books certainly mean to you. Blessings aren’t Blessings until we Treasure them, after all.

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    • Ste J

      03/03/2015 at 21:18

      True dat! as its you, I will let you off with the DVDs and CDs, I do own quite a few DVDs myself and find it high time that I had some sort of 80’s marathon or perhaps a boxset marathon. Your library may be small but if it holds books with memories then it is a very rich library despite its diminutive nature.

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  7. Jilanne Hoffmann

    02/03/2015 at 18:27

    Ah, yes. Awhile ago, I and some blogging friends exposed our shelves to the world. Here’s the link:
    http://jilannehoffmann.com/2013/06/15/revealing-my-boo-ks-some-of-them/
    Letizia’s shelves are there, too.

    So you really should be exposing more of your shelves, not just this teaser. Call them “shelfies.” Cheers!

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    • Ste J

      03/03/2015 at 21:23

      That is an awesome mix of books you have there, I could peruse your shelves all day! Shelfies, haha that is awesome, you should get the trademark on that one! I was going to do a vlog guiding viewers through my book shelves but I have so many books still in boxes that I need to get them all out first. be prepared for a long monologue lol.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  8. Bumba

    03/03/2015 at 07:50

    Terrrrible suggestion Ste for the following: 1) What you propose we do would likely involve some hands-on cleaning of above (yea, some of them really are what you call above) bookshelves. Some actual cleaning. Yikes! 2) Proposed library review would inevitably lead to one of those lazy afternoons peeking and perusing as you so kindly suggest. Meanwhile the whole day goes by and the great world around us goes to rot in a handbasket. 3) And what’s this about feeling smug?

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    • Ste J

      03/03/2015 at 21:36

      You don’t need to clean, the layer of dust gives one’s library added gravitas, that is what I tell myself and I am sticking to that excuse! Lazy afternoons with books are always well spent, let the world go about its own business, it’s overrated anyway.

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  9. Sherri

    04/03/2015 at 14:53

    Oh what a glorious feeling! I would send you a photo but my bookcases are also full of so much other ‘stuff’ that I can hardly see the books. The entire house needs a massive sort out and I am feeling quite depressed about it. I want pristine, clear shelves like you Ste!

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:25

      The floor is for the other stuff, or perhaps a surreptitious dumping in some cupboard, it frees up shelves and you can always deny the dumping later, or at least blame me, I’ll take a hit for the team.

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  10. Tom Gething

    04/03/2015 at 18:02

    My shelves are overloaded. Whenever I look at them I wonder if I shouldn’t get rid of some of my books. Which is why I avoid looking. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:27

      Good call, books are so difficult to be parted from, I don’t think I could cope with not looking though, I mean what else would i look at?

      Liked by 1 person

       
  11. quirkybooks

    06/03/2015 at 00:34

    Great post Ste. I have an accumulation of ‘how to’ and business books – That are the type of book I enjoy writing myself – With many new ones to read. I am swapped at the memento with Two employed jobs and my own. I will be referring to your site, in this Monday’s lesson and on the next course. Keep up the great work my friend.

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 20:03

      It’s always good to learn and to keep growing for the benefit of yourself and others. You have such a hectic life, I am impressed you get to read at all, I’m always up for a mention thank you very much!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • quirkybooks

        13/03/2015 at 21:12

        I definitely mentioned you to my students and they have a handout with a link to your site. Daisy is sick now, so I am off work to look after her. Using two days off and two holiday days.

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        • Ste J

          15/03/2015 at 18:47

          Than you very much, I am most honoured, I hope Daisy gets well soon.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • quirkybooks

            15/03/2015 at 18:50

            Hi Ste, sadly, Daisy died today between 4.30pm – 5pm. I am still crying about it. I haven’t done a blog post about it yet. Got to clean the cage out soon. Very upset.

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            • Ste J

              15/03/2015 at 18:54

              I’m sorry my friend, if you need anything don’t hesitate to email me! Big hug.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • quirkybooks

                15/03/2015 at 19:14

                Hi Ste, that is so nice of you. I am more of an instant message sort of person, as you may have gathered, but if I needed to, I now know the offer is there. This is my first mention of it on WordPress and other than fellow bloggers I am connected to on Facebook, you are the first to know.

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                • Ste J

                  15/03/2015 at 19:24

                  Well you can always do so on Facebook as I did like your page so I think we can do so on that. I feel privileged to be the first to know on here.

                  Liked by 1 person

                   
                  • quirkybooks

                    15/03/2015 at 19:32

                    Hi Ste, thanks so much. That’s great. Now I know I can message through there if I need to. It’s really nice of you thanks. I think it was the http://www.facebook.com/quirkybooksnet page? I have 8.

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                    • Ste J

                      15/03/2015 at 19:34

                      Aye that’s the page, I’m usually found floating around on there at random times.

                      Liked by 1 person

                       
                    • quirkybooks

                      15/03/2015 at 20:40

                      Yey! Thank you. Off to eat now. Then clean her cage, rest and sleep. I may do the blog post tomorrow. I may be too worn out tonight.

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              • quirkybooks

                15/03/2015 at 19:14

                Oh! And thanks for the hug.

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            • writersideup

              16/03/2015 at 01:45

              So sorry about Daisy 😦

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • quirkybooks

                16/03/2015 at 19:47

                Hey, thanks so much for your precious words. they mean a lot, she was my angel. I just did a long blog post about it.

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              • quirkybooks

                18/03/2015 at 00:50

                Thank you x

                Like

                 
  12. LuAnn

    06/03/2015 at 00:47

    Now living in such a small space and pulling that space down the road, weight is always a big concern as it equates to safety. Sadly I no longer have a library. As I sat looking longingly at your photos Ste J, I realized how much I enjoyed have bookshelves chock-full of colorful spines with intriguing fonts pressed across them. Hopefully someday I will have that again.

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:29

      You can always come and peruse mine my friend, it’s not the same though, like going to a library or a bookshop, they aren’t yours. When you get set up with space to fill, I will send you some books over. I was quite shocked to see how small your travel section is in bookshops over there, I would definitely get you some books that would encourage over this way!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • LuAnn

        11/03/2015 at 16:55

        Hopefully one day I will walk the streets that are so familiar to you. It is on our list, like so many other places in the world. Any plans for a visit over here?

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        • Ste J

          11/03/2015 at 21:30

          Things are rather up in the air regarding my next visit to the States but when I have a plan you will know straight away. The only problem with the world is it is so big and you can’t visit it all but as far as tour guiding goes I would love to do that, any excuse to read up on my history.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • LuAnn

            11/03/2015 at 23:49

            I am guessing work gets in the way of making travel plans as well.

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            • Ste J

              13/03/2015 at 20:47

              Yes, there is always that, as precarious as that situation is at the moment.

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • LuAnn

                14/03/2015 at 00:45

                That sounds a bit ominous my friend.

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                • Ste J

                  15/03/2015 at 18:59

                  It is just life, it does it’s best to get in the way…

                  Like

                   
  13. RoSy

    09/03/2015 at 01:44

    Not sure books really know who I am. o_O

    Like

     
  14. deliberatelydebbie

    09/03/2015 at 04:34

    G’day Ste J….my my what a collection you have, I am sooo jealous! There is nothing like the smell of books to arouse and stimulate the senses…just thinking about it has me wanting to visit my local library! Bookmarking this blog 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:50

      welcome to the fold! The smell really is unlike anything else and it lingers after the book finishes I notice as well. Yes go visit and then visit your local bookshop as well and gather them up like books are going out of fashion hehe.

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  15. reneejohnsonwrites

    10/03/2015 at 10:26

    Funny you ask this. I recently pulled several books off the shelf that I had read before, but wanted to re-experience. I think sometimes we absorb the words differently at various stages in our lives. Nice to virtually meet you Ste. I wandered over from Elizabeth’s post about you.

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:42

      I disappear off the blog for eight days and come back to a wonderfully kind post from Elizabeth and some fascinating blogs to check out. It is wonderful to meet you too and I think that the more we read, the more we grow in understanding of the world. It is that that makes rereading such a joy, I believe books constantly change due to our understanding.

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  16. Seyi sandra

    10/03/2015 at 11:18

    I love my collection of books but I feel guilty when I run my eyes through my library and realise I’ve not had time to read a tenth of my books. You’re right though, like most things in life, we tend to take some stuff for granted.
    I’ve missed reading your posts, I find it difficult to tear myself away from the two books I’m writing, I’ll be back soon and read the rest of the posts, have missed you!
    Cheers old friend!

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:33

      I don’t think I know any book lover that has read their collection, thanks to cheapness and obsession we will never read what we have but it is good to have choice when looking for something to read. My posts will be around whenever you are ready, I say keep going with writing, I’m not going anywhere so a catch up has no need to be rushed. I miss your posts as well and I look forward to hearing news of your works soon.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  17. Christy Birmingham

    10/03/2015 at 16:39

    Ohhh books how I adore them! I have two bookshelves and I have a mass of eBooks on my tablet 🙂 Seeing your books now, really seeing them, and smiling.

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    • Ste J

      10/03/2015 at 19:24

      I was tempted to do a really arty shot with hundreds of books in it but then I realised that I’m not that good at art and I would be obsessed with making sure every title was readable. It was wise to give up before I started down that road to madness!

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  18. Elizabeth Melton Parsons

    11/03/2015 at 02:12

    My goodness, your shelves are so nice and clean. Mine are a disaster. Plus no way can they hold my collection. I have books stacked here and there throughout the house. And that’s after donating boxes and boxes over the years. I love what you said about the haphazard way they are placed on the shelves. I’ve always said I should organize them, but now I will just appreciate them as is. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      11/03/2015 at 15:03

      I think half the fun of finding a book is looking through the shelves and seeing other books I had forgotten about, I wouldn’t get to do that if they were ordered. I was selective with my photographing, there is a lot of clutter hanging around as well as books all over the floor including a pile that I need to review, it’s getting a little dusty…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  19. Sheila

    13/03/2015 at 02:09

    This makes me think of The Book Thief and those houses with actual libraries in them. That would be something. Each shelf and each book is filled with so many possibilities.

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    • Ste J

      13/03/2015 at 21:09

      The library scenes were the most memorable scenes in the Book Thief, a surprisingly good book, that. I do wish to have a house full of books one day, with a bit of furniture if I must! The gift of a book is the best gift one can receive.

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      • writersideup

        14/03/2015 at 02:41

        I actually own THE BOOK THIEF and wonder if I’ll ever read it. I think I read the first chapter, but its size was so daunting with so many other things to read. Then here I am reading Potter again! lol On the last 3rd of Deathly Hallows by the way. Just loving it and still crying where I cried on the previous 3 reads! Now you’re making me want to read it just because of the libraries! lol And yes—the BEST gift—tangible gift, that is 🙂

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        • Ste J

          15/03/2015 at 18:58

          I was going to say, if you have read The Order of the Phoenix then you can tackle this one. It is one of those books that once you start you find yourself reading great swathes at a time. Viewing it from a German child’s point of view is very good as well. You must read it now because it is good and that is your homework for this month lol.

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          • writersideup

            16/03/2015 at 01:47

            LOL!!! It still has to wait, my dear. I’m a couple hundred pages+ from finishing Hallows, then I have to move on to a few books by people I actually know—then maybe! I’ve gotten into a habit I don’t know if I’ll keep up, but I get more reading done if I do it before I even set a foot on the floor in the morning. We’ll see how this goes! 🙂

            Like

             
  20. The Book Haven

    14/03/2015 at 18:06

    Great collection and quite unlike the chaotic ruin that my shelves are. Do you like reading Gunter Grass? I really liked The Danzig Trilogy and thought The Tin Drum was easily the best of the three (not too fond of German Literature though).

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      15/03/2015 at 18:53

      I actually haven’t got around to reading and Grass yet, I seem to get distracted with the hundreds of other books I have floating around the place. One day I will catch up with them all. I did enjoy Wolfram Von Eschenbach’s Parzival but I think so far that ios the only German literature I have read, although i do own some Goethe and nietzsche as well to be getting on with.

      Like

       
  21. anna amundsen

    30/03/2015 at 13:28

    Just a couple of days ago a girl commented in a conversation- “Don’t tell me you’re buying books! Why would you do that?”
    I will surely point her to this post.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      30/03/2015 at 19:37

      People just don’t seem to appreciate the overall book package, it isn’t just the reading it is so much more, it’s the experience///and all the best people know it.

      Like

       
  22. angela

    02/04/2015 at 02:54

    Bit of a book snoop – feel free to post more snaps for us…As a library worker/exbookstore clerk – I like to test my spine memory, though, a bit tricky as I am used to US edition and oft covers get changed in other areas of the world. Can you believe I sold half my books last year this time – was planning on moving (didn’t happen) – sold to used bookshop..I see one every now and again as I shop there still – just don’t buy as much ~ you’ve a lovely collection, btw.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      02/04/2015 at 10:44

      I share your pain on having to give up books, it must be worse to see some of them still as you go in to buy, I am lucky in that when I gave a bunch away I forgot what they were due to being rubbish at memory…unless ironically I read it in a book. I do find it interesting that they change covers for books, as Letizia said, album covers always stay the same so why not books? I will take some photos of my other shelves as you ask and find a post with which to shoe horm them into.

      Like

       
      • angela

        03/04/2015 at 02:53

        Brilliant – I look forward to snooping…to me, a person’s bookshelf is a bit like a first meeting with a emotional counselor for a bookshelf reveals a lot about a person’s psyche– don’t you think. One fave snoop is a few of the professor’s I’ve had over the years whom sit before their bookcases to lecture– I am too buys jotting down titles I can see..I figure if it is good enough for the ivory towers, why not?!

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        • Ste J

          03/04/2015 at 07:29

          I think everybody gravitates to bookshelves even if they don’t read, it is an intimate portrait of the person’s tastes and thoughts. I like your idea of jotting down titles, challenging yourself to read more, newer, educational ones. I have been known to make dolphin noises before when presented with a book case on going round to somebody’s house.

          Like

           

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