So, here are some pics of the shelves in our living room. The bottom one is the only one I can really reach, so everything I’ve read most recently goes on there. Which is why it’s full of amazing current YA writers (Non Pratt, Holly Bourne, Nat Luurtsema, Alice Oseman, Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivison, Erin Lange to name a few) and general books that I love from any genre (looking at you Ruth Fitzgerald,
Robin Stevens, Caitlin Moran)(I would also be looking at Bridget Christie, who I think is a goddess, but along with all of my Caitlin Moran paperbacks, they’re out on loan to my friends)(in fact that reminds me, it’s been ages, and I should check they haven’t lost them).
I love a book that makes me laugh, or ties into really strong relationships. And I love YA. Always have, always will. I don’t feel I need to justify this, as books are so personal, and there’s no right or wrong. It’s up to every reader which world they want to throw themselves into. Mine just happen to be mainly comingofage stories, and ones where the central characters feel as inept at life as I do.
I’m going through a phase of rereading some of my old faves, so there’s also lots of Judy Blume and Paula Danziger nestled in there the originals full of sanitary towels belts, and all that stuff that really stuck with me when I was younger. Disclaimer: Judy Blume. I love you and all that you write. I would probably read your tax returns and shopping lists, and give them 5 star reviews (as long as they
contained at least one new word for penis, which I feel guaranteed that they would). I reread Are You T here God It’s Me Margaret recently, and on the back cover it just says ‘PLEASE GOD, MAKE ME GROW. YOU KNOW WHERE’ which I didn’t realise and wondered why I was getting funny looks on the tube.
I’m also rereading a lot of Diana Wynne Jones, as I couldn’t read her books quick enough when I was younger. They absolutely stand the test of time.
You might also spot the present I got from my husband on our wedding night,Tina Fey Bossypants.
It totally confirmed I’d married the right man. Although, he’s also the one who owns the books about growing vegetables. If I had book on vegetables it would be entitled, ‘How to not kill me you idiot. I mean, we can even grow on our own, so why do you manage to be less capable than that?’. I also love a good autobiography, especially when they’re about 90s indie bands, and books on how to make stuff (even though I have zero skill). There are also lots of Blue Peter annuals from when I used to work there (job with a dog in the office, and where you’re encouraged to eat cake = dream).
As I’ve got older, I’ve become really emotional and cry at anything (I can’t even THINK about the Donkey Sanctuary advert, or that Comic Relief VT about the man called Bob). However, a stranger came over and checked I was ok when I was reading The Fault In Our Stars. I got to the cryread
point where you start going dizzy from lack of oxygen. Another author who I’ve fallen in love with is
Jandy Nelson. I’ll Give You The Sun made my head spin with how beautifully written it was. I immediately bought it for three of my favourite people. And then found out two of them already had it, and felt the same way.
We’ve got more shelves in the little hall, and stacks on the floor by my bed. The ones in the hall are full of travel books of places I’ve been, and places I’d love to go (I’ve just noticed that next to them is Where’s Wally, which sort of sums that up). We had to put a whole shelf up in the kitchen to try and handle my cookbook obsession (just looking at them makes me happy). As with everything I own, I love things that have significance (I think the technical term is ‘hoarder), so our shelves are also full of photos, collections of Polaroids I’ve bundled together in brown paper books (hello world’s most uninteresting picture!), and letters kept between the pages. My husband has also made a photobook very year since we met so we remember all the adventures we’ve had (it’s my best Christmas present every year told you I was emosh). Our shelves are also a bit more full of dust than they should be, but I tried to be inventive with photos so you can’t quite see.
I know I reeeeeally love a book when I read it when I’m walking home – as I’m clumsy enough anyway, and adding ‘not looking to where you are going’ really does increase the chance of a runin
with a tree. This has recently happened to me (reading when walking, not treebumping) with Radio Silence, Butter and Lying About Last Summer.
Like my life, I have no system for my bookshelves. They are what they are/It is what it is. But they are stacked with things that have made me laugh (or walk into inanimate objects) which is the best way for it to be.
Super Awkward is out now