Yikes! I read a couple of blog posts about what bookshelves say about a person. Laura Lippman may have been the one to start this. I also read about Patti's bookshelves - or bookshelf - and then decided it would be a great topic to post on for Book Blogger Appreciation Week.
Laura Lippman was discussing her purging activities. I've done that. I had the "big purge" when I stopped teaching high school English. I went through and took out all duplicate copies of books and books I hadn't read in ages and had no desire to read again. Each year my sister and I hold a garage sale. I usually thin a few out then as well, but for the most part now when I read a book, if I think I won't read it again it is donated or passed on or sold or whatnot.
My bookshelves were made by my dad - they aren't anything fancy, he's not a woodworker. I've always dreamed of having a whole room with lavish bookshelves from floor to ceiling...but alas, it is just a dream. For now I have my two bookshelves, which aren't enough, so some books take up residence in the living room on the entertainment center - all my Shel Silversteins are there. Most of the books that are in the TBR pile are packed in four large boxes in my bedroom - some are in the shelves because the boxes are overflowing. And child/adolescent books are stored in the attic - I give those to my niece a little at a time.
Because my present book love is crime fiction and other mystery, the majority of one bookshelf is just that. The top shelf is the Shelf of Honor I discussed before. The next shelf holds my hard-cover, prized books that aren't signed: Lehane, Crais, both Burkes, Holland, Reichs. That shelf is at capacity right now. RC is going to have to get a shelf for himself soon, I believe. The next shelf holds Robert Parker and Harlan Coben. Most of these I have not read yet. The remainder of that bookshelf is a hodgepodge of books - a mix of things I have read and ones I haven't. There is a lot of mystery and crime fiction, but not all of it. About the only rhyme or reason I have in this section is that I try to keep books by the same author all together.
The second bookshelf is the shelf that kind of reflects my past...my education...what brought me to my love of reading. The majority of things in this bookshelf I've read, and a lot of it falls under the category of "classics": Twain, Poe, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hughes, Dante, Kesey, Dickens, Austen, Eliot. I also have some more modern "classics" like Toni Morrison and Ray Bradbury. These books are mostly softcover books, whereas the other bookshelf is mostly hardcover. At one time this bookshelf was sorted by American Lit/British Lit/World Lit. Somehow that system has corroded a bit. You can still see a semblance of it, but it isn't perfectly so. My anthologies from college courses that I refuse to part with make up the bottom shelf.
At one time I would never loan out any of my books. I've loosened up on that a bit. I'm not a library, though, I don't loan to just anyone. I loan to people I know I will safely get my books back from. I freely offer recommendations, though! :)
So, I'm not sure what exactly my bookshelves say about me. What do you think? What I KNOW is that having my books around comforts me; it's like having friends close by all the time. Very reassuring.