19 June 2015

Bookshelf Tour

I've noticed that bookshelf tours are a fairly popular video topic for book vloggers, and I thought that it would be fun to do a little bookshelf tour of my own in blog form. Fun fact: "A Tour of My Bookshelf" was actually the topic of my Common Application essay when I first applied for college way back in 2008.

I only have one bookshelf in my room, and it's not all that big--there are four shelves total and the entire piece is about five and a half feet tall by two and a half feet wide. It's a very pretty piece from Target's old Simply Shabby Chic furniture collection, but my book collection has outgrown it so only about half of the books I own are on display. I tried to put as many of my favorites and my prettiest editions as could fit, and every time my birthday or Christmas comes around I have to make the difficult decision of which books to leave on the shelf and which to swap out for new ones!

My top shelf is devoted to children's books, since many of the ones I own are oversized and heavy and the top shelf has a bit of extra support under it. Even so, you can sort of see in this picture that the center of the shelf has bowed under the weight of the books--I'm hoping that it doesn't get any worse than this! Each shelf has a somewhat unique organization system, and in this case the books are sorted into big and small sizes and within each of those categories are arranged alphabetically by author's last name.

The little doll in the middle-right is Hitty, modeled after the heroine in Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, which sits behind her. I read the book when I was around ten years old and loved it, and my mother bought me my own Hitty doll for Christmas shortly after. The doll is quite authentic and really made of wood, just like the original Hitty!

My second shelf contains light fiction. Here, I've organized the books alphabetically by author's last name, and put books of a series in chronological order. It's been harder and harder to fit all of the series books I have on this shelf as I acquire further volumes, and I've already had to leave some off--for instance, I've left Beverley Nichols' Allways, Merry Hall, and Garden Open books on display but have stashed his Green Grows the City, Down the Kitchen Sink, and Cats ABC with my other books.

The doll on the left was also a gift from my mother and is fashioned after dolls from the English Regency. She used to sit in front of my complete Jane Austen omnibus, but I had to move the book when rearranging. I left the doll in place because she looks nice there anyway!

The elephants on the right are a new addition to my bookshelf display, and were a birthday gift this year from my sister Maureen. They're vintage celluloid toys from the 1930's, and they're connected in a myriad of ways to some of my favorite books. Celluloid was originally used as an ivory substitute, so the pair calls to mind the ivory elephants from The Secret Garden. Being from the 1930's, they're also from one of my favorite time periods--I've placed them in front of my Overlook Press Collector's Wodehouse editions since the setting is right and Overlook's logo is a winged elephant.

My third shelf is a mix of adult and children's mystery and fantasy fiction. There's a small section of mystery books arranged alphabetically by author's last name on the far left, but most of my mysteries are mass market paperbacks and are stored out of sight. The rest of the shelf is fantasy, arranged mostly alphabetically by author's last name. The exceptions are my New York Review Children's Collection books, whose red cloth spines look so nice together that I put them all in one group.

My bottom shelf houses my nonfiction and classic fiction books, since they're pretty hefty and this shelf has the most support. The arrangement here is the most eccentric: nonfiction books are on the left and arranged by size and subject, while classic fiction is on the right and is arranged somewhat by size and somewhat by author's last name. The outlier from this group is my edition of The Arabian Nights, which is huge and gorgeous but so much bigger than the rest of my classic fiction that I stuck it at the beginning of nonfiction. Examples of my nonfiction subject groupings, in case you were wondering, include book illustration, Jane Austen, and cats.

And that's that! I love looking at my bookshelf and seeing all of these beautiful books, and adding just the right decorative accents to complement the collection. Perhaps one day I'll upgrade to a larger shelf and can put more books and knick-knacks out, but until then I'm satisfied with my pretty little library display.

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