Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's On My Bookshelf?

Last week, Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy asked us if we snuck peeks of other people's bookshelves when we visited their houses. Of course we did! And so this week, we're linking up pictures of our bookshelves for others to ogle.

I have a lot of books, y'all. So here we go!

The first bookshelf you see when you enter the house is this one:

Until recently, it held very few books; I had only recently consolidated the APO memorabilia to one shelf instead of two. But then T-Rex started walking and pulling books off shelves, so I had to clear the lower shelves of another bookcase, and those books got jammed in here willy nilly.

Most obviously, the stack of German textbooks on the very top of the bookcase:

Then more German books, shoved in around the original contents of the shelf: parenting and baby books. That Having a Baby book is the one my mom read when pregnant with me in the eighties. You may recognize The Chronicles of Narnia in the middle there--but auf Deutsch. I wrote my senior thesis on Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, which is why I have that one in both English and German.

Next, the rest of the German books, my Latin stuff, and a few political/sociological books joined the original Gardening and Animals/Nature shelf.

A shelf in the cabinet at the bottom of this bookcase holds the rest of the rescued books: politics/sociology/finance, mostly, though you might spy a few more linguistics/language books--including Cat in the Hat in Latin.

Since Anne mentioned her own little yellow German books, I decided to gather all mine up and take a picture just of them, all two dozen of them:

I don't know why Goethe's Faust is green and not yellow. Because it's so special, I suppose.

The family room holds the majority of our books in five different bookcases.

First up, the little bookcase I had to clear to save from the toddler:

The top shelf is nothing but Bibles. Well, and a concordance:

Also? Not even all the Bibles we own.

The next shelf is about a third hymnals and songbooks, one third random religion/theology books, and one third the beginning of my German collection:

 Recognize this little volume, Anne? Jane Austen's Stolz und Vorurteil.

The two built-ins hold mostly Fancy Law Books and movies:


 But there are some random reference books, Spanish textbooks, and modern fiction scattered in:


Also some board games and middle school social studies textbooks:


The other built-in really is just Fancy Law Books:


The final two bookcases hold most of my history and English books from college:


From which you can clearly deduce that my history concentration was Asian history:

That Mao biography is heavy stuff. Anyway. Some random war histories, the Crusades, and one of my two books on the sinking of the Titanic--not sure what happened to the first.

Then, a bit of a mix:

Various nonfiction titles, classic fiction, Bullfinch's Mythology, the one volume of Harry Potter I own (the British edition of book seven. Wait, I also own book three auf Deutsch), some other Harry Potter stuff (Looking for God in Harry Potter is a good one for literary types) and, for some reason, two-thirds of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as a combo edition. Whatevs.

Next shelf: where English books go to die:

Can you tell my advisor was a Faulkner scholar? All those gold books in the middle are Faulkner. I think this shelf is arranged novels/short stories and then plays.

More, including the much-loved Norton anthologies:

The random Grisham novel is the DDH's; because he's a lawyer, people keep giving him Grisham books. The book on top of it, To Set Before a Queen is a tell-all cookbook written by a former chief chef to Queen Elizabeth II. I found it hidden away in a used bookstore while looking for something else, which is where all the best books come from.

Next up, the kitchen:

The three books on top are usually displayed elsewhere: Die echte deutsche Kueche, a Schwabisch cookbook, and the Lindt Book of Chocolate. Yum.

I refer most often to Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything, which is why they're on the end where they're less likely to set off a destructive domino chain of cookery books. The binders are Kitchen Stewardship eBooks that I printed out because I use them pretty often. There's a healthy collection of church cookbooks from around the country in the middle there.

Ok! On to the less public rooms and their books.

The children's/young adult books live in the guest room:

Oh, Animorphs. I still think you're awesome, even though I'm no longer in middle school:

The white books are the Billabong series, an Australian series of novels about a girl growing up on a sheep station in the Australian bush in the 1910s (spanning WWI). My aunt sent them to me two a time for every birthday and Christmas when she lived in Australia, where I guess they're a classic akin to Little House on the Prairie here. I love them so. much.

Here's my Redwall collection; I was a little obsessed with those mice for awhile in elementary school:

Here you can see a bunch of the books left over from my childhood horse obsession, including a really beautiful edition of Black Beauty. Also, dinosaur books:

Some more random children's books, including a children's cookbook I got for my seventh birthday and a few German storybooks:

A few of the children's books live in the nursery:

Notably, our How Do Dinosaurs...? collection and some Bible storybooks, including one that is fuzzy like a lion. Also, The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter from my own childhood.

There are a few more children's books around the house. His Indestructible books (paperlike, but unrippable) and a few other board books were on the bottom of that shelf I cleared off for him in the living room. His current favorite is Die liebste Mama der Welt. He also has a German My First Dictionary that contains pictures of things very important to German children, like public transportation ticket vending machines, that do not translate well at all to the American Midwest.

Here are the books in the office:

They're mostly the DDH's law and psychology books.

Last but certainly not least, the books in our bedroom. First, the stack by my bed:


I haven't gotten around to putting What to Expect When You're Expecting away yet. The DDH gave me the first Game of Thrones book to read, but I haven't yet started it. I love the Then Sings My Soul devotional, which looks at the origins of hymns. The Lutheran Study Bible because Lutherans decided they needed their own Bible. Here I Stand, the excellent biography of Martin Luther that I have been two chapters away from finishing for more than a year now.

Then there's the built-in shelf, where I keep the sci-fi/fantasy novels:

Theoretically they're in alphabetical order by author. At one time they were, anyway. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starts us off. Watership Down is one of my absolute favorite books. The Ender books and some other Orson Scott Card novels, which I've loved since we first read Ender's Game in eighth grade. I Capture the Castle is a charming little novel, written by the author of 101 Dalmations. Stephen Gould, the author of Jumper, lives in Albuquerque and those are all signed.

Let's see. Some Wizard of Oz books that need to move downstairs to the guest room. L'Engle, of course. Jane Lindskold is another Albuquerque author and her books are also signed; we're apparently both Tigers in the Chinese zodiac. I was obsessed with Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern novels for the entirety of middle school.

And I stole that The Atlas of Pern from my dad--the other place all the best books come from. Robin McKinley--love her books. Deerskin is beautiful and sad.

More Lindskold because they wouldn't fit on the top shelf. More McKinley; more McCaffrey. A penguin ice cream scoop.

And there we go! Longest post ever, but I have a lot of books!

What do you think? Do you check out other people's bookshelves when you come to visit? What do your own bookshelves say about you? Be sure to check out the linkup to snoop on more awesome reading collections.


  1. I'm impressed with all the German! We would have some overlap for sure. In case you missed my follow-up comment, the Nancy Drew book is Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. I spy little yellow German books! Also, WHY do I not have Stolz und Vorurteil? I mean, seriously. (Also: Cat in the Hat, in Latin, is awesome.)

    LOVE all your shelves. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  3. Yes! All the best books are in hidden corners of used bookstores :) To Set Before the Queen sounds like a book right up my alley-I'm going to have to track it down!

  4. I ALWAYS check out other people's bookshelves. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman is my most-used cookbook. I'm always pulling it out to look up temperatures, times, etc.

  5. What a wonderful collection you have! I love seeing what is on other people's bookshelves - thank you for sharing! I love seeing all of your German books! Our house has quite a few Russian, Korean, and Hindi books. I used to speak Russian (I can stumble about now), but my husband speaks the other languages for his job. They are such treasures!

  6. Um. Wow!!! I love that you use every spare inch of space vertically, horizontally or however...because books really are that awesome. My husband's grandfather even had two layers of books on each of his shelves. My favorite shelves in our library are lined with the Harvard Classics that my brother and I found in a church dumpster years ago.