Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Your Bookshelves Say About YOU


My Superromance series, Heartache, TN
You can’t deny that you occasionally judge a book by its cover. Not just in the bookstore either. Figuratively speaking, we draw conclusions about people and places based on visual clues. We can sum up certain things about a homeowner based on the coziness of their front porch or the neatness of the front yard. Are the gardens neat and orderly or cottage style? Are the colors vibrant and warm or cool and calming? We draw other conclusions based on clothing (bohemian versus sporty, elegant versus easygoing), occupation, choice of car, choice of neighborhood, or choice of pet. But for me, I don’t feel like I really know someone until I’ve seen what’s on their bookshelves.

It’s the most intriguing moment for me when I visit a new friend—better than seeing what dessert she’s made for lunch (although I’m easily won over by sweets, I will admit) or what personal photos are hanging on the living room wall. It’s such a fast snapshot of someone’s interests, from what books they choose to display (and how) to what books receive the most prominence and special positioning. Is there an obvious keeper shelf full of well worn reads? A shelf full of vintage finds with beautiful leather spines or illustrations? A coffee table of art books that look more for show (and to coordinate with a room) than for reading?

I will admit, I have all of the above. I have put books on a coffee table because the colors look nice with the furniture, although I’ve never purchased a book for beauty alone. I have enough titles that I can “shop my shelves” if I want to put out something pretty on my nightstand. Only in recent years have I decided that books should live outside the bookshelves for me to enjoy in other areas around my home. I like to see them, remember them, think about them more than I’d like to see random art objects. So why not decorate with books?

I have a friend who has literary quotes on her walls. That was as neat of a find as seeing her bookshelves. Her love of story was obvious! I am intrigued by the new trend of arranging bookshelves by color of the spines so that all the white titles might be in one room or the blue titles together to accent a room that’s otherwise gray. Pinterest has lots of ideas for bookish decorating from making the stair treads look like famous book spines to creating book nooks around a window or stair landing.

So far, I’m still a novice in literary decorating. For the most part, my books are very much on my shelves, and I tend to arrange them thematically—books about history are together. Feminist studies things are together. Divination and texts about myth and magic are all grouped close to one another. And then, down low, all the art and history books that are too heavy for the high shelves.
 My romance shelves are another bookcase all together. I have keeper shelf upon keeper shelf grouped according to subgenre and author. I even have a bookcase of my own books now that I’ve got over seventy titles to my name, each of which has spawned beautiful foreign editions. I like seeing them to remind myself I can do this.


Win a $10 Amazon gift card!
If I stopped by your house today—inquisitive soul that I am—what might I learn about you from a sneak peek at your shelves? Do you collect old cookbooks? Have as many MAD magazines as you do modern day romances? Do you keep only the non-fiction titles? Or are you a digital reader with shelves online? Share with me today on the blog and I’ll give one random poster a ten dollar Amazon gift card so you can add something fun and wonderful to your collection.

**Joanne Rock's fourth book in her Heartache, TN series releases in September 2016. Whispers Under a Southern Sky is available for pre-order now.

29 comments:

Mary Preston said...

My bookshelves will tell you that the whole family reads and that once a book enters it rarely leaves.

We have bookshelves of children's books, non-fiction and school texts, every genre of fiction you could name.

All of the many bookshelves now live in my room, the largest room in the house. My daughter thinks the bed needs to go so that we can put a couch into this 'library'.

Ali Williams said...

I always judge people by the books that they have in their houses...

But on my singular (*sob*) bookshelf - due to lack of space - you'd find a real mish-mash... I've everything from category romance, to classic lit, to fantasy, to academic volumes, to an ever-growing collection of comic books! And the collection on my tablet's even more eclectic!

Kirsten said...

I do have a lot of cookbooks, mostly vegetarian. Surprise surprise I am a vegetarian ;-) I also have an even bigger romance novel collection.

T Fordice said...

I have lots of cookbooks and lots of romance - all the Blaze books to date!! Most not on shelves but in totes under read and not read!! LOL

Natalija said...

When I moved to another country, I had to leave all of my books behind so I started my library from zero. All of the cookbooks belong to my partner. I don't buy any magazines, but we have a lot of computer related magazines/books which also belong to him. My part of the library consists of language learning books & some romance novels in Italan (like Virgin River series by Robyn Carr) because I love romance & it's a great way to learn a new language.

Anonymous said...

I have one book shelf filled top to bottom . one built into the computer desk that is over flowing, and one large one in our spare room that has a couple shelves filled. I have books in boxes, on the end table, coffee table, and piles at the edge of my couch. Everyone can tell someone in this house collects books! Even my daughter, Mandy, has her own collection of books rather it's old Full House books or Goosebumps! Pam H

Laney4 said...

For someone who has read over 250 books per year since 1973, you wouldn't know that by looking in my home.
My living room has a picture of our family every year since our first was born 30 years ago (all lined up in rows on one wall), plus numerous family/friend photos in frames on shelf tops and other walls.
My scrapbooks fill one shelf in the wall unit. My magazines aren't visible underneath.
My TBR romances are piled in boxes alphabetically by author in the guest room, only deduced by a post-it note on each saying something like "A-E" and "F-L". Once read, they go into our crawl space (out of sight), waiting to donate to my girlfriend's mom's retirement residence. My keeper books are piled in boxes stored on the top shelf of my office cabinet (again not discernable as books). My current book and my NEXT current book are stored in my purse when not being read.

Tammy Y said...

You would know I should open a library. I have all kinds of books, cook books. Westerns, mysteries, biographies, non-fiction and mainly romance books. I have so many Harlequin books. Last count I think I have close to 6000 books. (I am a pack rat)

Nicole Laverdure said...

We have 2 bookshelves, one, in the living room, that flows, because, when it becomes too packed of romance books, I give some to my granddaughter who's in her twenty's and one very special unit, in my creative cave, where I pile all my favorites books, that I wish to keep. Like my Outlander collection, that's a keeper for me! I organize my books by authors, makes it easier, to find a reference!

Jen Craig said...

My bookshelf will tell you that we are a family of readers. Between us, we cover everything from history to anime, sci fi to romance. Personally, I cover mostly romance, mysteries, political thrillers, classic English literature, etc.

Jen Craig said...

My bookshelf will tell you that we are a family of readers. Between us, we cover everything from history to anime, sci fi to romance. Personally, I cover mostly romance, mysteries, political thrillers, classic English literature, etc.

Colleen C. said...

I have books shelves full and bursting... have piles in front of them, LOL! Romances of all types all over the place... tried to keep them organized but it gets away from me! You would see some nick knacks among them too!

Kristina Knight said...

that our tastes are eclectic! You'd find sports biographies right next to A to Z Mysteries next to the new Nora Roberts next to a well-worn copy of Once Upon A Town (a story about the North Platte Canteen in the WWII days, with a special inscription from RadioMan's grandfather, who traveled through a couple of times)...you'd find stacks of journaling/Q&A type books and Mad Libs and probably a coloring book or two...I've tried to arrange, but the hodgepodge of it all just makes me smile.

penney said...

I love collecting old cookbooks I have one from the 1800's
Penney

Siran Toukhanian said...

My family bookself would say, "There's a lot of different kinds of books".

riet_media said...

My bookshelves would say: There are a lot of different books, some non-fiction, some fiction, some children's "literature", some young adult, about the study of language and learning. my digital bookshelves are filled with (hot) fiction and an occasionally non-fiction book. And then there's the Kindle library and the Kobo library, both on my surface... books, books everywhere, not to mention my husband still has stored in the attic (in boxes, from when we moved house in 2004.

vmaisie said...

Ahhhh... My bookshelves... I have one tall shelf that has a series of books ... Hard copy and paperback... Complete sets... Of the same book... There are two authors I've been able to do that for... I have one shorter 4 shelf bookshelf full of all the books written by Catherine Mann... The bookshelf next to that is the start of my collection of Joanne Rock books... And I've started in Karen Rock shelf too!!
I have a section dedicated to Nora Roberts...
And one for Susan Mallory.... And then starts the bookshelf of various others...
On top I have momentos ... And antique sewing machine... A set of big jail house skeleton keys
(Real... Not replicas).... And a few other favorite keys (I have a box full of keys, as I've collected them since 9th grade... I'm almost 60 now... So that's a long time)
I have bookmarks and post cards from authors decorating the shelves too...
They shelves look awesome.. Cute... Beautiful...
The rest of the room, however, is a disaster .. Seriously! On the opposite wall is a grooming table where I groom my 3 Shih-Tzu and my Maltese... When I'm not lazy and take them to the groomers...
And in the middle of the floor is boxes.. Junk... And .... Heaven knows what else...
Yeah, I'm in the process of re-doing that room...
My bookshelves are the only pretty things in the room... One day I will get the room finished (have I mentioned I'm a procrastinator?) I visualize it in my head... So the room may be a wreck.. But my books are beautiful....

holdenj said...

I love old cookbooks, always trying to find ones my mom owned. And the shelves are all alphabetized by room.

Di said...

I have shelves with cookbooks, books about history, books about places to travel, and many romantic fiction books (tho I need more shelf space for all of them). I'd love to have a full wall of bookshelves - maybe with one of those fun library ladders.

Linda Herold said...

I plan on buying 2 new book shelves! I have one full and a huge pile of books next to it! I like cozy mysteries and all types of chick lit romance!!

dstoutholcomb said...

my house is overflowing with books, not quite hoarding stage

denise

bn100 said...

lots of print books

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Jo's Daughter said...

I have a ton of romance novels, a few craft books, some garden and childrensbooks. A lot of cookbooks cake and pie recipes which are my favorite. And more romance novels :D

Joanne Rock said...

You could always go with a daybed, Mary.... it could serve double duty!! It's a happy feeling for a parent to know they've raised a reader.

Joanne Rock said...

Ali, I'm so curious about the comic books! Are they tricky do display? Wondering if you need to handle them more carefully. It's fun seeing the romance novels come out in manga form... so imaginative!

Joanne Rock said...

Denise... lol... as long as you haven't crossed into hoarding, what can one more book hurt, right?? Love it.

Joanne Rock said...

How neat! I've heard that about romance, Natalija, that it can be a good way to learn a language. I believe reading romance in English taught Desire author Olivia Gates the language, too!

Joanne Rock said...

I have a winner!! The thread prize goes to Jo's Daughter... I will be contacting you privately, but all you need to do is send an email addy to me at jrock008@gmail.com and I'll send you the gift card asap!Thank you all so much for visiting and see you next month!

Linda May said...

If you looked at my shelves you would see a lot of Contemporary Romance books & some Mystery books. I have a lot of books to read yet, but a girl can never have enough books. Thanks for your generous giveaway, I can think of a few books I'd love to buy if I won this card.

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