I own one bookcase. The rest of my books are in boxes, in drawers, on tables, in stacks on the floor, and in a wooden cabinet. So when I got this wondrous bookshelf, the essential question became: which books shall I house in plain view in my bookcase? …My beautifully bound books? My standby favorites? My most-read books? Paperbacks? Hardbacks Only? Classics? And what about my picture book collection? I could go on for an entire post about the philosophical why’s of a book case. But I won’t.
The final conclusion of my bookcase strife: I would only house books that I have not read. (And some of my favorite picture books because they are just meant to be out in the open and flipped through… and my Harry Potter books because they are so big… my rules are always meant to be bent) Working with the theory that “Out of sight, out of mind” is the reason why my list of To-Read books has ballooned over the past year or so, I decided that having those books out in plain sight each time I walk up or down the stairs will inspire me to pick up one of those languishing books and actually read it. And maybe it would stop my wandering eye from buying more new books.
We bought the bookcase about six months ago, and I have steadily added more new, un-read, books to its shelves. I ferreted out un-read books from every nook and cranny that I could conceivably cram a book. And as I was rearranging my attic storage once again (unpacking and then re-packing Christmas decorations seems to awaken my inner organizer), I found yet more un-read books. And to add to the craziness, I wanted to use Christmas money buy more books. I finally realized that this has to stop!
So. For now on, I will not buy another new book until I read the books that are already on my shelf. And as I cross them off the list, I can put them on PBS.com and make room for an old favorite to join the shelf. Because really, I would rather have a bookcase of all my favorite books than shelves of books that I am vaguely interested in but not really attached to. So that is my goal: read the un-read books, decide if they are keepers or put them on PBS.com, and bring my favorite books out of the shadows and onto display.
My bookcase is my little haven. I like to sit on the stairs on a Saturday morning and leaf through a book or re-read a childhood picture book. I have my favorite picture of me (taken the summer after my high school graduation, at my aunt’s beach house, after my trip to Europe and before starting college) in my favorite frame on top of the bookcase, as well as my pretty books that are too big to fit on any shelf, and the ceramic fish on the wall that my Mom and Dad brought us from Mexico.
I love my little bookshelf, and I’m ready for it to truly reflect my tastes in reading… not just what has accumulated over the years for a mishmash of reasons.
Here is the list of books crowding my bookshelf (AKA To-Read List):
(in alphabetical order, natch)
The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff
The Air We Breathe, by Andrea Barrett
Al Capone Does my Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko
All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
Ape House, by Sara Gruen
Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine
The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Half Magic, by Edward Eager
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Is It You, Me, or Adult ADD?, by Gina Pera
The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
Life and Death of Mary Wolstonecraft, by Claire Tomalin
Mr. Emerson’s Wife, by Amy Belding Brown
No Angel, by Penny Vincenzi
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
The Plague and I, by Betty MacDonald
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
The Scroll of Seduction, by Ginocanda Belli
Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Rolin
To the Heart of the Nile, by Pat Shipman
Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O’Farrell
Wandering Star, by J.M.G. Le Clezio
Who’s Your City?, by Richard Florida
A Wolf at the Table, by Augusten Burroughs
The World Below, by Sue Miller
There are a million and one reasons why these books constitute my list… some have recently caught my eye, and some have been around for years just waiting to be read. They all seemed interesting enough for me to buy at some point (or were passed on to me from my mom’s book group (bless them!) or my grandma) but I just haven’t gotten around to starting any of them. But now, I will!