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Revive a Dead Thread > What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?

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Fiona (bookcoop) This interesting BBC article I think says a lot about us!

Can you judge a person by their books and their bookshelf display?

What do you think your books say about you - to someone who doesn't know you? What can you tell about the person above you what their read shelf says about them?




Jo I guess if i saw a bookcase full of classics in someones home then i would think they are pretty intelligent. My bookcase has a mix of YA, Horror, Supernatural and also more general stuff. I have no idea what that says about me!


Fiona (bookcoop) I think if I saw a bookshelf full of classics I'd wonder more what they're trying to say about themselves - and if they've actually read them! I know I'm a cynic.

I think if you looked through my bookshelf you might think I liked crime, but the fact is I want to read more crime and you find so many of them cheap for second hand that I now have a very good stock of them!

What my bookshelf doesn't contain is chicklit, or straight romance - maybe that says more?

I have a lot of YA, especially YA fantasy on my shelves but recently I haven't read as many (boo hiss!)

Not sure what you can tell about me - there's certain books/genres I seem to stay away from, and I don't read many high brow or obscure fiction I'd think most of my books people would have heard of before...



Jo I don't read chicklit really either. Maybe the odd book that slightly falls into that catagory like The Time Travelers Wife. I have about 3 classics as i prefer more modern books.

I can see what you mean about someone trying to look intelligent. If they had read the books over and over then i would think they were intelligent but if they hadn't read them then thats another story!


Samantha (samjaymc) | 224 comments Looking at my bookshelves, you'd probably see that I'm a YA lover, though I also like classics (and yes, I do read them). I also love history as well (WWII)


Jo I think its great to display classics if you have actually read them. Some of them can be hard to get through.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 25, 2009 05:52AM) (new)

Bookshelves are probably the best decoration ever invented, although maybe a bit expensive at times. There are so many ways to arrange your books; by genre, colour, size, alphabetically, random or in any other aesthetically pleasing way. They give you the opportunity not only to say something about your love for books, a certain type of books or about your intelligence they also let you say something about the way you interprete the world by the way you organize your books, the way you want to be seen and of course they say something about your decoration skills. And: books are a very interesting type of decoration, you can take it apart, look at the insides of every single book, discuss it. What other type of decoration allows you to do so many things with it? Art maybe, but that takes up a lot of space. I own the notorious Billy and I'm proud of it.
My books ... well, there are a lot of them, certainly when compared to the space I have. Mainly 'literature', Dutch and world literature, also some classic classics (Greece and Rome), non-fiction on different subjects like literature and philosophy (most of those were required), a good collection of dictionaries and a huge bible. That at least says something about my love for literature and language. And the 'high quality' literature might make me look intelligent which of course is always nice.
I don't display books I haven't read yet. I have to 'conquer' them first before I get to show them off.


Jo Good points, Sibyl!

Mine aren't in any particular order. I fill each shelf as i read the books and have 2 shelves full of books i have bought but haven't had time to read yet so i guess they are kind of in the order that i have read them, although i like to keep all my series together and in order. And also i like to keep books by the same author together although my collection isn't huge so there isn't much call for that.


message 9: by Karla (last edited Sep 25, 2009 06:31AM) (new)

Karla (bookarita) | 33 comments shoot...I have cute little stacks under lamps,candles,dried flower arrangements ect; displayed randomly from room to room. But my bedroom needs professional help!! I have corners stacked and my headboard has books everywhere. I have one bookshelf and its jam packed as well as the top and the stacks on the sides. I have a lot of chic lit novels, historical fiction, YA, paranormal, fantasy, new age and memior style books but I guess I hide the ones with blood on the covers in my room so nobody thinks I'm werid. Not all understand the excitement of a steamy vampire novel and I don't want to scare the kids! I do enjoy the paperbackswap for some but it takes me a while before I can part with new ones unless I didn't like them that much. When people see my home I guess it's a giveaway that I like to read and it's good conversation starter. So many people say they don't read because it makes them fall asleep and that annoys me...Grrr... These people just don't like reading I suppose. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that. I understand when you have small children excuse cause I couldn't even sit through a movie when my kids were young it was there only childhood, all about them time then.


JG (The Introverted Reader) My bookcases say that I need another bookcase! They are overflowing! I have a lot of fantasy, a lot of L.M. Montgomery, and a lot of my books from when I was little. I guess that says I'm an escapist/sentimentalist?


message 11: by Jo (new)

Jo Not all understand the excitement of a steamy vampire novel and I don't want to scare the kids!

Haha!


Karla (bookarita) | 33 comments Jo wrote: " Not all understand the excitement of a steamy vampire novel and I don't want to scare the kids!

Haha! "


I know right? Some books have fangs dripping and claws out to pounce is that a display piece...lol not, a leather bound classic thats for sure. I do have a few though with the pretty leather and gold embossed simple titles those are the fancy ones I put out for display or ones with beautiful covers.


message 13: by Jo (new)

Jo Lol yeah i have a few books like that. My boyfriend calls them my goth books. He doesn't understand books, bless him!


Jessi (infinite13) | 86 comments I have a big bookshelf that has a shelf of political science and related non-fiction books, a shelf that is divided into books on religion and books on LGBT issues/sexuality, a shelf that is dedicated to fantasy (Harry, LOTR, His Dark Materials, etc.), and a shelf that has African American literature along with Holocaust literature and some other books that are classics and that fit that shelf size-wise. In the bottom of my bookcase there is a space with two sliding, wooden panels covering the space; I put all the books I have listed on paperbackswap under there (I don't want people seeing them and judging my book taste based on those books, because they are books I really did not care for).

Then, I have five crates of books on my floor that also have books on top of them. I have an entire crate dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut, one for memoirs, one for books that take place in other cultures, such as The Kite Runner and Life of Pi, and the rest is pretty random. I actually have another twenty or so books that I don't have room for...

I keep books that I have checked out from the library on a space on my nightstand.

I don't know what this says about me. People can probably tell from looking that I'm a political science major, an atheist, and a lesbian, just based on the large collection of non-fiction books that I have. I probably look like I'm more interested in fantasy than I am (while HP is my favorite book, and I enjoy a few others, I spend most of my reading time on other genres). And it's obvious that I am a poor college student because almost half of my books are kept in crates, as are my iPod dock, my laptop, my hard drive, etc.


Karla (bookarita) | 33 comments Goth books...lol never heard that one before.


message 16: by Jo (new)

Jo Jessi wrote: "I have a big bookshelf that has a shelf of political science and related non-fiction books, a shelf that is divided into books on religion and books on LGBT issues/sexuality, a shelf that is dedica..."

Thats a LOT of books!


message 17: by Jessi (last edited Sep 25, 2009 07:35AM) (new)

Jessi (infinite13) | 86 comments Last time I counted, I was at almost 500, so I guess people would also assume (correctly) that I read a lot :)


message 18: by Jo (new)

Jo Yeah it does say that about you. You like to read a lot!


Karla (bookarita) | 33 comments To me it looks like your a very intelligent person who also aware of the world around you and likes to have fun also.


Darcia Helle (DarciaHelle) My husband recently remodeled our back room, so it's now an office/library. (My favorite room!) I have a large bookbench beneath an oversized window that holds all my fiction - which is alphabetized by author. Then I have 4 built-in bookcases that hold my nonfiction, which is arranged by subject, similar to a bookstore. My history section is further subdivided into various periods, such as European, American, Civil War, etc.

My taste ranges from simple mystery novels to 500 page books covering the history of religion. I'm not sure what all this says about me, other than I love to read - everything! (And maybe that I want to live in a bookstore?)


message 21: by Katie (last edited Sep 25, 2009 07:51AM) (new)

Katie I love the comparison between bookshelves and picture frames. Books not only make a statement about who we are, they're also pretty!

I don't know if I judge people by what is on their shelves; I probably do. I definitely notice what books are on display and comment when we have the same interests. Book talk is such an easy icebreaker.

My bookshelves are very ordered and neat, probably the most organized thing in my life. I'm not sure what that says about me, maybe just that I like books? I don't think I have more than two books by any given author...not sure what that means, either.

I do try to quickly give away books I don't like so that nobody sees them on my shelves. Wouldn't want people thinking I like bad books! I hide away books I haven't read for the same reason.


Katie Darcia wrote: "My husband recently remodeled our back room, so it's now an office/library. (My favorite room!) I have a large bookbench beneath an oversized window that holds all my fiction - which is alphabetize..."

Darcia, that sounds AMAZING! I would love to have a library/office, and a book bench beneath an oversized window. I can see why that's your favorite room. Yay for handy husbands!


message 23: by Jo (new)

Jo I also look at what people have on their bookshelves if i see them. It is a great conversation starter if they have books that you have read.


Darcia Helle (DarciaHelle) Katie wrote: "Darcia wrote: "My husband recently remodeled our back room, so it's now an office/library. (My favorite room!) I have a large bookbench beneath an oversized window that holds all my fiction - which..."

The room definitely bought him a lot of bonus points! There's no way we could have done it if we'd had to pay someone.


message 25: by JSou (last edited Sep 25, 2009 09:03AM) (new)

JSou (WickenburgAZ) Jessi wrote: "I have a big bookshelf that has a shelf of political science and related non-fiction books, a shelf that is divided into books on religion and books on LGBT issues/sexuality, a shelf that is dedica..."

Jessi, I love that you have a whole crate just for Vonnegut.

Darcia, I am now daydreaming about your library, trying to picture it! :)

I have quite a mix on my bookshelves. Not really a whole lot of chick-lit, and no romance or mysteries. I do have a lot of contemporary fiction, and right now I'm on a Russian and Japanese literature kick.

I always love a good sci-fi/dystopian novel, so I do have a lot of those shelved. I do have quite a few classics, and I'm always on the lookout for more. There are some I haven't read yet, but I'll get to 'em sooner or later! I can only read one or two classics in a row before I need a break and move onto something more modern.

I also have tons of kids books everywhere. There's some even my kids have outgrown, but I just can't bear to part with them.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 1733 comments I think mine say I like history, historical fiction, mysteries, and science fiction.

Though I have scatterings of a lot of other stuff, like chicklit and "testosterone trash."


Jennifer D (DawsonOakes) My bookshelf says I need another bookshelf! LOL! This is just one part of one shelf. Plus, since this picture was taken, the whole bookcase has gotten even more crowded!

Jennifer's Books

My preference is for literary fiction, classic fiction and some non-fiction. By nature I am curious and quirky. I don't know if that would be apparent from looking at my bookcase?


Karla (bookarita) | 33 comments Love the pic!! Your shelf looks colorful and organized! I have no idea how people get pictures on here, so nifty of you!!


KarenLee The first time a friend visited my house, she said of both my books and my music, "I can't decided if you're eclectic or schizophrenic." And I guess that says it all.


Liz (Consumed by Books) | 864 comments I think my bookshelves say that I like a mixture of fantasy, classics and fiction (and yes, I have read many of the classics on my bookcase and I definitely plan on reading those I haven't).
My bookshelves also say that I'll need to invest in some new ones soon. Mine are getting very crowded!


message 31: by Carol (last edited Sep 26, 2009 10:53AM) (new)

Carol Over the years I have parted with many books. Now I generally don't keep too many books . I pass them on to others to enjoy. So my shelves are a bit empty. I don't know what that says about me. Take your pick or give me a label


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) My bookshelves say a lot about me, I think. First, looking at them as they normally always are, my shelves make the picture Jennifer posted below look like brilliant space utilization and organization.

I'm constantly pulling books off the shelf and then not putting them back where they actually go, but rather sticking them on top or a stack of books that don't yet have homes. I just counted and between 2 bookcases, I have 81 books stacked haphazardly anywhere there is space. That's more books than some people own altogether! (And haphazardly stacked they may be, but they are all carefully stacked so as not to damage them -- I love my books!!)

So, aside from my organizational techniques, or the lack thereof, the first things that people would probably notice about my collection are:

1) I love Stephen King.
2) I love Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings (I have two full sets of each. HP in the US and UK editions.)
3) I love fantasy and horror and the classics
4) I don't read very much contemporary fiction at all.
5) I love paperbacks.
6) I have a TON OF BRICKS. (I love a good story, and when it's good, I don't want it to end!)


Jessi (infinite13) | 86 comments What? Contemporary fiction is the best! Well, not the best, but I do really love it.


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) I do like it, when its good, but too often I don't think it's that good. What are some of your favorites?


Jessi (infinite13) | 86 comments Off the top of my head.... The Kite Runner, Life of Pi, Fight Club, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I would also have to say most stuff by Vonnegut, as well as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, if you consider those contemporary.


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) I read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and loved them both. I haven't read any of the others you mention.

I have mixed experience with contemporary fiction - generally what everyone else LOVES, I either don't like at all or thought it was just OK. Like Water for Elephants. Everyone raved about that book, and I thought it was OK. *shrug*


Jessi (infinite13) | 86 comments Oh, I just got that book from paperbackswap, but I probably won't be reading it for several months because I am in the middle of a book challenge that doesn't include Water for Elephants.

That happens with me a lot, too, though. I can think of quite a few books that people I know loved, and I didn't like that much. For instance, I hated Fahrenheit 451 as well as The Alchemist, and I found The Catcher in the Rye to be highly overrated.


Michelle♥ | 129 comments Karen wrote: "The first time a friend visited my house, she said of both my books and my music, "I can't decided if you're eclectic or schizophrenic." And I guess that says it all."

Hahaha I love this post! That's awesome. I think I would be labeled as schizophrenic too! I have so many random choices and then some that just go on for series on end. There's definitely some that can be clumped into one genre, for sure, but I could debate until my last breath how or why it could totally be it's own genre.

I try my best not to stick to one genre all too often, and just go with my gut and see what I pick up next. I would like to broaden my horizons even more so I've been picking up some that I "normally" not choose at first. Sometimes it works out, other times I tend to want to just return the book.

There have been nice surprises along the way though! :)


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) Mmm-hmm! I've only read one of Paolo Coelho's books, The Devil and Miss Prym, and I thought it was massively overrated. I won't be wasting my time on any more of his books.

I do happen to love F451 though. :)


Carol I am not into magic per say, so I don't know if I will read The Alchemist. I thought it was about the Spanish Inquisition. I am a history buff.


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) Well, I don't know about The Alchemist, but D&MP was awful. It was barely 200 pages and it took me days to read it. Ridiculously simplistic writing style that had nothing new to say but still managed to brow-beat me the idea of choice and right vs. wrong and good vs. evil, and justice vs. vengeance. Ugh. And all of that in the guise of a kind of... Long Forgotten Tale - Now with Extra Moral Lessons!™, like just telling the story would be insulting so it had to be framed as an allegory.


Marti (Marjay) | 985 comments My bookcase is presently clean and neat with lots of open spaces as I just cleaned out and got rid of six boxes of books!!!

Before that you would think that I never met a book I didn't like! Eclectic is a good descriptor.


Carol Becky wrote: "Well, I don't know about The Alchemist, but D&MP was awful. It was barely 200 pages and it took me days to read it. Ridiculously simplistic writing style that had nothing new to say but still manag..."

ok scatch him off my list. I don't think I would enjoy it.


message 44: by Brenda (last edited Sep 26, 2009 01:22PM) (new)

Brenda Jessi wrote: "Last time I counted, I was at almost 500, so I guess people would also assume (correctly) that I read a lot :)"

My collection is almost 500, but I have only about half of them on shelves, the rest are stored in totes in the closet. I love reading! I think my many diffrent types of books says that I am an open-minded person.




message 45: by Miss GP (last edited Sep 26, 2009 01:37PM) (new)

Miss GP (PDXReader) Becky wrote: "Mmm-hmm! I've only read one of Paolo Coelho's books, The Devil and Miss Prym, and I thought it was massively overrated. I won't be wasting my time on any more of his books.
..."


Amen to that! I read The Alchemist, & thought it was overly simplistic pop-psychology. "You can achieve anything if you just want it badly enough!" Sorry, but no. No, you can't. I've sworn off Coehlo entirely.




Miss GP (PDXReader) What my bookshelf says about me:

"Kim really has a problem..."
"Kim really should read more Nonfiction"
"Kim really should read some of the books stacked here before even thinking about adding one more!"


message 47: by Carol (last edited Sep 26, 2009 01:41PM) (new)

Carol Miss GP wrote: "What my bookshelf says about me:

"Kim really has a problem..."
"Kim really should read more Nonfiction"
"Kim really should read some of the books stacked here before even thinking about adding..."


aw Kim Join the rest of us addicts. I thought about going to library, changed my mind. I went on line to Amazon,To many to buy. I need to buy groceries first.


Grace (LovecraftLass) | 854 comments I think if you looked at mine you would probably say: "This girl needs more bookcases!" I have books everywhere in my house. They are especially taking over my bedroom. I would say I have a pretty good mix of Classics (some I've read, some I'll get to someday!) which are more buried than the ones I read a lot, I also have maybe 3 chck-lit books but not romance-y kinds. More of the friendship kind. Looking at them I notice that I keep my horror books prominently displayed because that's my favorite genre and I read them the most.


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) How does everyone organize their shelves (when they are organized at all? *pointed look at myself*)?

By author?
Genre?
Size?
Color?
Favorite status?
Series?
Or not at all?


Fiona (bookcoop) I have a read shelf and unread shelves. My unread books however are invading my read shelf... there isn't enough room to organise them that way.

Part of me wants to organise by genre but I know they'll still get taken out of order soon enough and I can't always be bothered to re-order - plus its kinda fun searching through books and finding long forgotten purchases.


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