Kirsty first approached me regarding a bookcase post some time ago. I’ve been vaguely promising a post ever since and have finally managed to take some pictures and have a good look at what the varying piles of books in my house are comprised of and what those piles say about me. Well, firstly, it’s entirely clear that in terms of books, I need a bigger boat.
I live in a tiny cottage. And I mean tiny – a veritable hobbit house. The highest ceiling in the place is only about 6ft 5” and that’s downstairs, where the walls have annoying wood panelling and no real book space. Upstairs, things are even shorter and (alackaday!) the rooms are eaved. Now, being only hobbit sized myself, I don’t really have an issue with the height of the ceilings in terms of walking around. BUT (and it is, as you can see, a BIG but), my gorgeously bijou house leaves me little space for the teetering towers of books that would otherwise inhabit all wall space. The majority of the titles that I’ve managed to squeeze in, are kept up stairs, under the eaves:
As you can see, it’s an awkward sort of a height. I can’t find bookshelves that reach to the start of the eave and have been reduced to piling my TBR pile atop the shelves, all of which are COMPLETELY FULL. Actually, I’ve read some of those books on the TBR pile, I just can’t fit them in anywhere else right now. So my TBR pile has semi migrated downstairs. It’s not ideal. For someone who reads and reviews mainly YA titles, I’m always surprised to peruse my shelves and find that they largely reflect my more varied tastes. Highlights here include my ancient paperbacks of Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird as well as (on the far right) my much treasured childhood copy of The Snow Queen which is full of the most gorgeous illustrations by Errol Le Cain.
Moving on, this next shelf contains series’ of books. Well, it contains BITS of series’ as I keep lending parts of them to other people, leaving this shelf looking a little disjointed. In amongst this lot are personal favourites such as The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and Garth Nix’ Abhorsen series – home to the marvellous Mogget.
Squeezed into the upstairs hallway are yet more books. Actually, hallway is a complete misnomer for what is essentially a 3x3 square at the top of what we affectionately refer to as “the stairs of doom” (imagine a carpeted ladder and you’re pretty much there). This shelf contains mainly adult fiction and gives a pretty good idea of my tastes.
While I have no idea what a book about Paul O’ Grady is doing there things look up with The Secret History by Donna Tartt which stands out instantly to me as one of my all time favourite reads and I look fondly on the travel guides that have stood me in such good stead in the past. Other favourites include I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith and A Heart-breaking work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. The Tess Gerritsen stuff speaks to my love of crime fiction while Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca makes a surprising appearance as it is usually firmly on my bedside table.
Moving gingerly down the stairs of doom, we enter the living room where the books are arranged haphazardly wherever I can get them to fit in. Along the narrow wood shelves, they perch rather precariously, having overgrown the already stuffed bookshelves…
Most of these are TBR, with a few that I’ve actually managed to get to sneaking there way in. There are also a few books there that are on the set list for my university course and a volume of Yeats poetry, because I just love him. Something else I love is San Marco’s square in Venice, which is what the painting is off and where the icon came from. One day, I’ll live there. Maybe.
This is my daughter’s corner. She’s four and this is how she likes to organise her stuff. I generally try not to look at it as it upsets my sense of order (ha!). As you can see she has a few books here herself (and more in her hobbit room upstairs) but I’ve still managed to squeeze a few in behind the cast of the Gruffalo and this shelve contains books that I really, really want to read (er, apart from Silence – I don’t actually want to read that AT ALL) and just haven’t quite managed yet, or those that I’ve read this year and am still just enjoying owning (such as The Fault in Our Stars and There Is No Dog – both highlights of 2012).
Finally, meet my favourite shelf:
Tiny, badly designed (the majority of books don’t actually fit upright in it) and ancient, I am desperately fond of it. Here are books that I have bought, or been given, that I really want to read but just haven’t have time to as well as a selection of poetry books that I return to regularly. They sit there like shiny gems, waiting for the day when I turn to them – and really, what more could you ask for from any shelf?