Monday, March 23, 2015

The Bookshelf Tag

Natalie at Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens started this tag a few days ago, and it's such fun I totally wanted to play.  There are zero rules about tagging -- if anyone wants to do this, then do it!  It would be nice of you to link back to Natalie's blog, though, if you decide to do the tag.

Some "rules":

The book(s) you answer with must be from your bookshelf.

And include a picture of your bookshelf if you'd like to and if possible (if not, no big deal. Include pictures of your dream bookshelf, if you wish!)

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:

We bought these three bookcases the first year we were married.  They're just cheapy $20 cases from Walmart, but they've lasted us 13 years and 4 major moves, so hooray for them!  This is where I have all my fiction and history books.

This pale shelf we bought after we moved here.  It has my Shakespeare stuff, books about writing, poetry, sheet music, and books about pop culture.

The shorter shelf holds all kinds of old Readers Digests from the '50s and '60s -- my husband got them the first year we were married, when he was working for our college.  He helped clean the library, and they were going to throw out all of these!  He asked if he could take them to our apartment instead of the dumpster, and then we randomly found the little shelf thingie by the dumpster that same week.  Serendipity at its finest!

And these two almost-black shelves have my homeschooling stuff, Cowboy's text books that he thinks he'll reference some time, all our books about religion and parenting, and his collection of comic strip books.

(Note:  I didn't take pictures of my children's books or most of my junior fiction and YA novels.  Those are in the living room, kitchen, and basement, and I'm not going to focus on them in this tag.)

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

I have all my fiction shelved alphabetically by author's last name, and multiple books by the same author are either in alphabetical order by title or in series order if it's a series.  My poetry, books on writing, Shakespeare and books involving Shakespeare, books about movies and TV shows, and music books are all grouped together.  History books are grouped by era -- WWII together, Civil War together, etc.  My teaching books are together, and one of these days I'll put all the nonfiction-but-written-like-a-novel books together (i.e. Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Herriot, and probably Thor Heyerdahl).  There are three shelves full of TBRs.

Sherlock Holmes gets his own shelf, for all my pastiches, literary analyses, etc.

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

The Unabridged William Shakespeare is 1421 pages counting notes and glossary and index, 1318 of actual text.

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

Not counting children's books on their shelves, but books on mine, it's The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, at a whopping 54 pages.

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

SO MANY!  I often write in them if they're gifts, when I got them and from whom.  For instance, my copy of A Room with a View by E. M. Forster says, "from Mom, birthday 2013" inside the front cover.

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

I have three teeeeeeeeeeeny books that are all the same size!  Jane Austen:  Her Complete Novels in One Sitting, William Shakespeare:  The Complete Plays in One Sitting, and Sherlock Holmes:  The Essential Mysteries in One Sitting.  These are each 2 3/4 inches wide, 3 1/4 inches tall, and the Austen and Holmes are each 19/20th of an inch thick, but Shakespeare is 1 and 1/20th of an inch thick.

Here they are, on top of my massive Unabridged Shakespeare to compare:

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

For height, it's D-DAY:  Operation Overlord:  From the Landing at Normandy to the Liberation of Paris, edited by Bernard C. Nalty, which is 13 1/2 inches tall and 10 1/4 wide.  Thickest, inch-wise, is The Complete History of World War II by Francis Trevelyan Miller, Litt.D., LL.D., which is 3 inches thick and superbly heavy.  It was copyrighted in 1945 and I love how first-hand an account it is.

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Again, so very many.  I have great friends :-)  My sister-in-law and friend gave me Peace Like a River by Leif Enger last fall, not for a birthday or Christmas, but just because.

Most expensive book?

As in, one I personally paid the most for?  Hmm.  I bought my copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows brand-new when they first came out, and they say "$29.99" inside their covers, so that's probably about what I paid for them.  I buy most of my books used or find them as cheap as I can because if I didn't... egad.  I'd either be deeply in debt or not have very many books.

The last book you read on your shelf?

Persuasion by Jane Austen.  Everything else I've finished lately has been from the library.

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

By myself?  On those shelves?  Those exact copies?  Probably Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

Do you have more than one copy of a book?

No.  What kind of weirdo would have more than one copy of a book?

Okay, you're right, I'm that kind of weirdo.  I have 5 copies of Jane Eyre, two of PersuasionNorthanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice, and more copies of Hamlet than  I care to admit to.  Also, I just bought a second copy of The Lord of the Rings exactly like the copy I already have so that, when they get old enough, my kids can read a copy that doesn't have all my notes in the margins.

Do you have the complete series of any book series?


You'd like me to elaborate?  I have all the Harry Potter books, all the Anne of Green Gables books, all of Patrick O'Brian's naval novels, all the Narnia books, all the Eragon books, all the original Sherlock Holmes stories, all of Jan Karon's Mitford books except the newest one, and let's not get started on all the junior fiction series I have all of....

What's the newest addition to your shelf?

I bought a whole bunch of books at the thrift store yesterday, so my newest additions are:

  • Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
  • Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carre
  • Kate's Choice by Louisa May Alcott
  • Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
  • Night Without End by Alistair MacLean

What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

Not counting children's books and junior fiction... probably my Anne of Green Gables set, which my parents gave me when I was about ten.

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

Very likely John Wayne:  The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman, which was published in 2014.  I got it for Christmas from Dad and haven't started it yet.

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

Hmm.  I have a copy of Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore that's copyrighted 1909.  I also have a copy of Jane Eyre that I suspect is older, but it doesn't bear a copyright date.

A book you won?

I've won several, but the first one I ever won in a blog giveaway was Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress.

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

My first copy of Jane Eyre, which my friend Julie gave me long ago.

Most beat up book?

That really old copy of Lorna Doone I mentioned.  The front cover comes off, as do the first few pages.  In my defense, that book came to me in that condition.

Most pristine book?

Um, any one of several brand-new books I haven't read yet?

A book from your childhood?

A book?  A book?  I have boxes and boxes of books from my childhood.  My kids read them now, more and more all the time as they age.  I didn't take pictures of them for this, but we have two half-sized book cases full of books for them.

EDIT:  I just realized I do have a book from my childhood on "my" shelves.  It's my copy of A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is with my poetry books.

A book that's not actually your book?

There are quite a few of my husband's books on our non-fiction shelves, though only a few on the fiction shelves. Those are Roots by Alex Haley and a couple books by Larry Niven.

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

The Love Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning has a fabric cover with gold embellishments, and the edges of the pages are tinted purple.

A book that is your favorite color?

This is part of my favorite Christian historical fiction series, and my favorite book of the six.  I swear the fact that it's purple had no influence on my love it, though -- I read a totally different edition when I first read these.

(It looks much more purple in person.)

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

I bought The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower by C. Northcote Parkinson when I was in college and still haven't read it.  Sigh.  One of these days!  It's only been about 15 years....

Any signed books?

A couple.  I got my copy of Fahrenheit 451 signed by Ray Bradbury when I was in college, and I got my copy of The Beekeeper's Apprentice signed by Laurie R. King when I lived in Connecticut.  


  1. Isn't your biggest biggest book that one by Richard Scarry? I think that's the biggest book I've ever seen.

    Lol at multiple copies answer, way to keep the interview interesting.

    That's a fairly unique habit with your Lord of the Rings! I think your kids may want to read the "with recommendations from Mom" version, at least on their second reading, it would add a lot.

    1. Haha, well, yes, Richard Scarry's Biggest Pop-Up Book Ever is the biggest in my house... but I specifically said I was answering about MY books, not my kids' books :-)

      There are some movies I have multiple copies of too. Your brother definitely thinks I'm a weirdo. Too bad! He's stuck with me.

      I'll let my kids read my copy of LOTR if they want to, with all my little notations and cross-references -- I'd like to think they'd be interested. But I think those would be a little spoily for a first reading. Actually, my real plan for LOTR is, once all of them are old enough not to be scared by hearing the story, to read it out loud to them all, before I let any of them see the movies. I'm thinking a reeeeeeeeally long road-trip would be ideal for this, like out to California and back...

  2. I love this tag;)

    Those teeny books! 0.0 They're so adorable!

    Aren't old books that are falling apart wonderful? I love 'em;)

    1. This is such a great tag -- I love seeing it pop up on various blogs I read!

      The teeny books. So cute! They'd be the perfect size for like an American Girls doll. I love miniature things.

      I own a couple of books that are so old I keep them in Ziploc bags -- that undated copy of Jane Eyre is one of them. One, they smell funny, and two, a couple of them are almost a little crumbly, and I don't want them to get manhandled too much. I should take those to an appraiser some day, see what they're worth. But anyway, I love to rescue beautiful old books and give them a happy home. Like my Lorna Doone -- it belonged to my m-i-l, and she was going to throw it out because "no one will want it, it's falling apart." I was like, "NO! MINE!" and clasped it to my bosom, literally and figuratively.

  3. What a great tag! I might have to do it at some point. And I laughed out loud at your mention of the kind of weirdo who has multiple copies of the same book. Um. Yes, I fall under that category. 4 copies of Pride and Prejudice? Why yes!

    1. Isn't it fun? And yeah... some books just require having multiple colors. One to keep, one to loan, another to loan in case someone doesn't return the first one, one to gaze lovingly at once in a while....

  4. Oh, Hamlette, what fun it always is to read your blog! It feels like I'm sitting in your living room chatting with you. It gives me a warm feeling inside, and I feel all nice and comfy. I'm sooo glad you love books so much!

    1. Hee, thanks :-) I just posted a giant review of Silverado on my other blog that will make you feel like you're sitting in my living room watching a movie with me.

  5. Five copies of Jane Eyre? Wow! That's pretty cool! I see so many of my favorites on this list! :)

    1. Well, yes. You see, there's the paperback copy my friend gave me back in high school that I also used for a college lit class, a big hardcover copy I got long ago that has awesome notes in it, that really old copy I mentioned, a beautiful hardcover I got just because it's so pretty (same edition as the Persuasion I pictured here, but with purple instead of teal), and my mom also gave me her old copy that was the first one I ever read. So yeah... it's my favorite novel, what can I say?

  6. Cool! It's been so much fun to see everyone's bookcases. It's like I'm actually at your house, standing there looking at them. {That would be a scary thought for you..} ;-P

    You have so many book! Golly. Oh, you have those books by Kristin Heitzman! Are they good?

    I LOVE your book of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Burns. Madly. ;-)

    This was fun, as always!


    1. I agree! It's been a lot of fun seeing this pop up everywhere. I'm slowly trying to catch up on reading all the posts about it (like yours). And hey, that would only be a scary thought if you proceeded to, I don't know, steal all my books or something ;-)

      Um, yes, I have a LOT of books. And a loving husband who doesn't mind me buying them as long as I don't go *too* crazy :-) Helps that I buy most of them used, often for only a dollar or two.

      I really like Kristin Heitzmann's "Diamond of the Rockies" books -- I've read them once so far, but they were very enjoyable and I liked the characters a lot. Also, there's a lot about cooking in them, and I love cooking. You have a really good eye to have picked them out, considering they're half covered up by other books!

  7. I'm already in love your house! All of those books would also make me feel as if I were in heaven!
    It's truly amazing what you can find at thrift stores. It's like treasure hunting, and the nice thing is that you can spend a couple of dollars on a gem that you know that it's worth so much more. Then you can tell people where all the best deals for nice books are. :-)

    1. Hee, thanks! I'm very fond of this house and all its bookfulness :-) I have had friends come over and just spend some time browsing the shelves, and I do that at friends' houses too -- always a fun pastime.

      And yes, thrift stores are like treasure hunts. So are the used book sales my library has 3 or 4 times a year :-D Delightful!

  8. Oh wow! I love how many shelves and books you have! And, haha, I love all the Legos in front of the first shelf. :)
    Awww!!! Your books for the "smallest book" answer are SO cute.
    Oh. My. Your copy of Persuasion is sooooooo beautiful!!!!! I don't have a copy of Persuasion, but I'd love to get one of those copies! Could you tell me what publisher and such it is?
    Haha, only A book from your childhood?? I'm glad I'm not the only one who saves books for their (hopefully someday) kids! :)
    Thanks SO much for doing the tag! I really enjoyed reading your answers! :)

    1. Yeeeeeeees, we have approximately 7 million Legos :-D

      I got that copy of Persuasion at Books-a-Million, which seems to be the only place selling it. You can buy it on their website here.

      I saved books AND toys from my childhood for my kids, which has been such fun -- as they get older, I can bring out some "new" cool toy or book and watch them enjoy it... or enjoy it myself again, with them.

    2. Haha, I used to play Legos for HOURS with my brother.....we still have them in giant tubs down in the basement. Legos are the best! (Unless you step on them...or try to organize them....)
      Oh, thanks so much! Hopefully I can get it sometime.
      Aww, wow, that's so cool. I have some toys saved too...I'm glad you say how much you enjoy it-it encourages me to continue saving them!

    3. My brother and I played with Legos for hours too! Now I play with them with my kids :-D They are truly awesome. (Unless someone has lost a particular piece and you have to search for it. Ugh.)

    4. How fun! I've missed playing Legos with my I can look forward to one day playing them with my kids-hopefully! :)
      Haha, yes, piece searching is horrible....then by the time you finally find it no one wants to play anymore!

  9. Wow. That's a very cool post. I enjoyed reading all your answers. I'd love to do the tag along, especially since my husband has made wall length book shelves for my book habit. I just know I don't have the time. I'm going to look at everyone else's posts thought. Glad I found your blog.

    1. Hi! I'm glad you're glad you found my blog :-) And yes, this took me almost a week to finish because it's a loooooooong one. Your wall-length bookshelves sound awesome! I've considered building shelves along one wall in our basement for all my junior fiction, but so far have contented me with finding random shelves for down there at yard sales and such.


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