Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Your Bookshelf Reveals About You

Currently, there are painters in our condo, working to cover our patched and splotchy ceilings with a nice, clean white hue. After going DIY for the walls, we weren't about to take on the ceiling project. It's awkward to have strangers in your home, whether you stick around or not.

This is all a long way of saying that I've become acutely aware of my belongings lately. Sure, it's just stuff, but the things within your home reflect who you are and what you enjoy. They indicate where you've been and where you're going, what matters most to you.

And that's perhaps most apparent in viewing the contents of someone's bookshelf. Or in my case, our one set of bookshelves as well as the countless books scattered throughout our condo.

I'm working from my friends' house around the corner while the painters paint away. S. and R. have an amazing collection of books (S. is a fellow English major!). They have their bookshelves set up like a mini library, but it also serves as a little glimpse of the two of themit feels personal and familiar and interesting. (Bonus: they have a lovely Christmas tree to admire, something we are lacking due to the condo improvements recently.)

I recently read A Cup of Jo's post on the new book My Ideal Bookshelf, a illustrated collection of the favorite reads of one hundred creative thinkers. What a fascinating way to get to know people better. (I also adore the story of her sister and brother-in-law that she shares in the post!)


My own bookshelf is overflowing, books stacked on top of the rows. I have books in every roomwriting-related ones in my "office," cookbooks in the kitchen, little stacks on the coffee table, on my nightstand, in the shelves of the media center, here and there. I own classics, modern-day novels, chick lit, books on style, design, food, entertaining, faith, relationships. Books from college and grad school. Books from various book clubs I've belonged to. Books I've been given as gifts and ones I've picked up for myself along the way.

As I thought about those booksand what they say about meI realized that what I read is very closely aligned with what I write, here on the blog and elsewhere. Those books reflect what I enjoy, my passions and my aspirations. Perhaps bookshelves are much more intimate than they seem.

What's on your ideal bookshelf? What do your books say about you?


  1. My library is currently split by 900 miles because my house doesn't have the space for a proper bookshelf so my parents are housing them for me. Naturally, I always seem to want the ones that are not here. My library (altogether) says I love reading. And that I'd be a F-451 outlaw.

    1. Yeah, I feel like I still have some books back at my parents' house too. I definitely have a few boxes of childhood "stuff" housed there!

  2. i love this... our book shelves are currently hidden in our 2nd bedroom but i can't wait to have a bigger living area to display them! although i don't think i'll ever have a truly styled shelf, we are always pulling them out and looking at them so styling seems useless!

    i think book shelves are so indicative of the people. a friend's books are right next to his dining table (ohhh apartment living!) and they always lead to such interesting conversations during dinner.

    1. Mine is sorta-kinda styled... jam-packed with a few photo frames and trinkets displayed in front of the rows. Gotta fit them in where I can!


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