A Book Blogger Bookshelf Tag

My Bookshelf

This may come as a bit of a shock to you, but I do not keep ALL my books in my suitcase, or on my e-reader. I just can’t help loving print books, and those books that aren’t traveling with me live on the shelves of my home library. Perusing that bookshelf reminds me of all the places I’ve been, and those I have yet to go. Now that I’m home for a spell, I thought I’d share with you, by way of this bookshelf book blogger tag, some of the memories my books brings to mind.

I found this book blogger tag at Dreamland Book Blog, but it seems to have originated at Ramblings of a Redhead Girl.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a book through these links, I make a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from:

My bookshelves are the plain white particle board variety. Until the day I move into a castle and have my own library akin to Belle’s, I prefer white bookshelves because they lighten up an otherwise small room.


via GIPHY

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

As a (recovering) librarian, of course I have an organization system. From top to bottom shelves:

  • Favorite series
  • Books I’ve read, in no order whatsoever.
  • To-Be-Read, also in no particular order.
  • Oversize: photo albums, yearbooks, etc.
  • Travel guides (including literary travel bibliographies) have their own cubby on a different shelf with postcards, cameras, and travel souvenirs.
  • Craft books (knitting, quilting, etc.) are also separated and housed with the crafting materials.

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

Purchase The Sunne in Splendour via AmazonAt 1,240 pages, The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman claims the thickest book award. It’s a 2nd edition paperback copy, re-edited and published just in time for the opening of the Richard III Visitor Center in Leicester, England. Penman believes that Richard III was maligned by Shakespeare and history and was no more evil than any English kings who preceded him. She  presents such a compelling and sympathetic image of Richard III that after finishing the novel I followed the entire “King in the Carpark” saga in the news, watched the documentary, and watched the reinterment parade in real time. Then I made the journey to Leicester to visit the new Richard III visitor center and pay my respects at the cathedral where his bones have been re-interred. 

Richard III Tomb, Leicester Cathedral

New tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral

What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

Purchase Patsy Ann of Alaska via AmazonThe thinnest book on the shelf is Patsy Ann of Alaska: The True Story of a Dog by Tricia Brown and illustrated by Jim Fowler. This beautifully illustrated children’s book is the real story about the dog who has been commemorated in statue form on Juneau, Alaska’s cruise ship dock. Patsy Ann was a local dog who was dubbed “The Greeter of Juneau” by the Mayor. Despite being deaf, she would unfailingly greet every steamboat at the dock when it arrived in port. Today her likeness greets every ship that arrives in town. It’s my favorite statue and the book illustrations are so pretty.

–> Check out this book and some others I suggest reading if you’re going to visit my hometown in this post: Tour Juneau, Alaska by the Books 

Patsy Ann dog, statue, book

Patsy Ann: the dog, a statue, and a children’s book

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

Friends and family have given me books for birthdays and winter holidays and I can’t remember which came from which any more, but they’re all on my To-Be-Read shelf… I’ll get to them just as soon as I stop prioritizing books ahead of them for various upcoming travels. (Sorry! I feel terrible, by the way, that I haven’t gotten to them yet!)

What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

Purchase How Watson Learned the Trick via AmazonThe smallest book on my shelf is a replica of a real book made for a doll house library. In the 1920’s a dollhouse for England’s Queen Mary was commissioned and part of the project included filling the library with real, original, miniature, works by well known authors, comic artists, and musicians. I bought a replica of How Watson Learned the Trick by Arthur Conan Doyle when I visited the Dolls’ House at Windsor Castle.

Queen Mary's Dolls' House book

Yes, this is a real book and it’s almost no bigger than my nose!

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

The tallest and widest book on the shelf is Make Way for Ducklings. I bought this book in Boston so I could take photos of the book with the related statue in the Public Garden. Because of its size, it wouldn’t fit in my bag, so I awkwardly carried it around Boston like a child hugging their favorite picture book. When we arrived at the statue I overheard a mom say to her son, “I think this statue is based on a book?” So I proudly held up the book in my fist and said, “Yup! This one!”

→ Check out this post for a Book Lovers Walking Tour of Boston

→ Check out this post for the Boston Book Lovers Walking Tour Vlog

Make Way for Ducklings Statue

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

The last book I borrowed from a friend is sadly not on my shelf anymore. My friend and literary foil, Maeghan Kearney, shoved Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel French Milk at me one day and said, “READ THIS”. I did and almost kept it… If she hadn’t noticed her lack of an excellent book, I might have gotten away with it! I shall have to borrow it again the next time I go to Paris.

–> Check out my review of French Milk here

Most expensive book?

I have no idea… When I need a book I usually first try the library, if I can’t easily get it that way I’ll look for a kindle version. By the time I get to buying a print copy, either price doesn’t matter because I need the book, or I’m traveling and purchasing a book as a souvenir. Therefore, price rarely factors in. I also leave all my TBR books on my Goodreads list and only try and get the next one when I’m almost done with the book I’m currently reading. So I try and minimize my book purchasing unless absolutely necessary. It’s not easy, but can be done with enough will power.

The last book you read on your shelf?

The last book I finished was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I reread this beloved book because I finally visited Orchard House, the home where Alcott wrote the book and which was also the inspiration for the setting of the book. I thought about using the opportunity to read another of Alcott’s books, but I just couldn’t help returning to an old favorite. I’ve added Jo’s Boys to the TBR list.

Orchard House, Concord

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

I honestly do not remember. I believe the first book I ever read to myself was either a Cam Jansen mystery or a Boxcar Children Mystery, but those books no longer reside on this bookshelf. They have gone into storage somewhere.

Do you have more than one copy of a book?

I have my first edition Harry Potter hardback books and then my paperback reading and lending copies. That’s normal though, right? So I’m not even going to count that…

I have several different versions of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. Some abridged, some unabridged, some illustrated, some not. Something keeps bringing me back to this book. It’s possible it’s the TV miniseries with Daniel Radcliff playing David Copperfield and Maggie Smith playing his aunt… but if you don’t read the book too you miss out on the weird midget character and the other bizarre things that were left out of the film. I love this book so much that I visited Dickens’ London home to find out how much of Copperfield’s life the author based on his own

Dickens' London House museum

The Charles Dickens house museum in London

Do you have the complete series of any book series?

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Sharon Kay Penman’s Welsh Trilogy & Plantagenet series
  3. Anne of Green Gables (all 8)
  4. The first two of Theodora Goss’ Athena Club Mystery books

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

I just returned from visiting Boston and Concord, Massachussettes with 6 new books! Concord was home to so many famous American authors, it was impossible to not buy a book at every historic house! I managed to refrain from buying a newer copy of Little Women, however, I did buy a beautiful illustrated copy of Thoreau’s Walden, despite not really liking the book.

–>Check out my blog post about Walden here

Walden Pond statue of Thoreau

Reading Walden at Walden Pond with a statue of Thoreau and his replica cabin in the background.

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

The books from my childhood that I just can’t get rid of are on another bookshelf entirely and live in my childhood bedroom. The first book that comes to mind on that shelf is If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, followed closely by The Jolly Postman.

What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

Looking at my bookshelf now, it occurs to me JUST how many classics I read. There really aren’t very many newly published books on the shelves. One of the newer ones is the Life is Good book, and that’s a few years old now!

–> Read my review of Life is Good: The Book here

The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

The oldest book on my shelf might be a lovely worn out copy of Treasure Island. I remember my Dad reading this book to me as a child, so it holds a special place in my own reading history.

A book you won?

Ok, I didn’t actually WIN it, but it kind of feels like winning. I asked Maeghan, my friend and literary TBR pile enabler, who was attending a WorldCon where author Theodora Goss was speaking, if it were possible, to get me a signed copy of Goss’ latest book. Apparently her books were not available for sale anywhere! So when Maeghan approached Goss with a book plate to sign instead and told her I had hoped for a copy of her book- Theodora Goss HANDED HER THE COPY SHE USED FOR HER READING! If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is!!!

A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

Harry Potter first editions. That’s what the paperback reading/lending copies are for!

Most beat up book?

The most beat up book on my shelf is Sharon Kay Penman’s When Christ and His Saints Slept. I was reading this when I left for college so it went with me. I was so fascinated by the book’s pretense that matters of state, such as half the countryside of Britain being destroyed in battle, started as an argument between a man and a woman in their bedroom- such as Queen Matilda and her husband Geoffrey or Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband King Henry II, that I chose to major in History. Later, it was still this book that drove me to study archiving because I was still fascinated by the idea that people’s personal stories drive the course of human events and working with the archival material is about as close as you can get to those personal stories. I have read this paperback copy so many times cover to cover that it’s starting to look a bit beat.

A librarian and her favorite book

Photo taken while working at the library of me with my favorite book.

Most pristine book?

The gift shop at Windsor Castle actually had replicas of two books that can found in Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House library. The second one is a life-size copy of the miniature J. Smith A Fairy Story by Fougasse, which still is a fairly small copy. This little book is encased in stiff plastic mylar and I have yet to open the book wide enough to crack the spine.

A book from your childhood?

The Famous Five by Enid Blyton is my favorite series from my childhood. It’s about four children and a dog who solve mysteries while galavanting around the British countryside during school holidays. They climbed through castle ruins on an island, found hidden doors in old houses, ran from smugglers in caves, and explored old wooden shipwrecks. I loved these books so much that when I found out the setting was based on a real castle I decided I HAD to go there someday. Blyton’s inspiration came from Corfe Castle and the surrounding Dorset countryside. Despite the fact that the real castle wasn’t on an island, the Dorset coast could not have been more charming.

The Famous Five in Corfe, England

This is the first thing you see when you get off the train in Corfe. The real Ginger Pop Shop is a bookstore dedicated to Blyton’s books and the real Kirrin Castle is actually Corfe Castle.

A book that’s not actually your book?

I don’t currently have any borrowed or stolen books on my shelves.

A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

I am absolutely in love with the covers of Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics. My life goal is to collect all of them. I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I totally bought a book during my Concord trip simply because it was one of this series that I did’t have yet. They’re so colorful and elegant looking. As a child, these books were some of my most prized possessions.Everyman's Children's Library Books

A book that is your favorite color?

My favorite color is purple and there’s only one purple cover on my entire bookshelf! It’s Sharon Kay Penman’s Falls the Shadow, the second book of her Welsh historical fiction trilogy.

 

Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

This is too embarrassing to answer…

Any signed books?

It’s a funny story. I got Dave Barry to sign his book You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty, with the inscription:

“Haverford Alum Buddy”

But I didn’t actually meet him in person! He was doing a book reading in Seattle and I was going to miss him by ONE day! So the bookstore offered to have him sign a book for me and ship it later!

The reason I went to the bookstore in Seattle the day before was actually so I could attend a reading by Sharon Kay Penman!! I DID meet her! And I totally froze tooAnd she gave me a cupcake!

You know they say don’t meet your heroes? Well maybe don’t meet them when a full auditorium’s worth of people is waiting in line behind you. I got Bill Bryson to sign his book At Home, but he barely had time to look up and we weren’t even allowed to ask for a photo with him. Luckily I had a friend with me who took a sneaky/stalkerish photo of him signing my book.Bill Bryson Boston Book Fair

 

On the other hand, some authors you just connect with despite the LONG line behind you. Tahir Shah gave the last keynote of TravelCon 2019 and he was SO funny I just had to buy his book. After the talk I ran to where they’d set up a table to purchase and get his books signed. I waited in one line for quite a while to buy a book. Then I had to get in a second line to get the book signed. I waited for about a half hour in line before reaching the front. Shah started going through the motions, opened the book to sign it, asked my name, asked if I had a blog (we were at TravelCon, remember). When I responded with, “Yes, I write about literary inspired travel and I’m  hoping your book, The Caliph’s House, will inspire a trip to Morocco,” his pen stopped. He looked up and asked, “Do you have a card? And can you give me an example?” Because he had a lovely British accent the first example that came to me was my Jane Austen Pilgrimage. We started talking about Bath and I mentioned Beckford’s Tower, then it was my turn to be impressed. He told me he owns a copy of one of Beckford’s original books with his comments in the margins!! I wanted to keep chatting but the line behind me was growing impatient!

Tag!

I tag YOU! Tell me in the comments below about some of the books on your bookshelf!

Here are the questions again, for easy copying purposes:

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from:
Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?
What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?
What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?
Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?
What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?
What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?
Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?
Most expensive book?
The last book you read on your shelf?
Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?
Do you have more than one copy of a book?
Do you have the complete series of any book series?
What’s the newest addition to your shelf?
What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?
What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?
The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?
A book you won?
A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?
Most beat up book?
Most pristine book?
A book from your childhood?
A book that’s not actually your book?
A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?
A book that is your favorite color?
Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?
Any signed books?

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2 Comments

  1. September 8, 2019 / 9:30 am

    Such a fun post! I’m going to have to participate at some point!

  2. October 9, 2019 / 5:43 am

    I love posts like it. It lets us see a fun little side of book bloggers that we might not have otherwise seen. I am going to have to give this a try.

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