Our bookshelves don’t just contain the stories we like to read, they also tell a story about us.
I have two very large bookcases in my home and they are crowded with books of all sorts. When strangers visit I can often see their eyes roving over some of the titles, and instantly find myself apologising and explaining myself. The reason for this is because I have a whole shelf full of books on true crime, unsolved murders, forensics, and so on. They probably think I’m planning to do away with someone, but the truth is that I write crime and thriller stories and the books are purely for research (honest!)
If you move along a little further you will also find books on art, poetry, home décor and fishing. What does this say about me? It says that I’m a writer who appreciates a bit of culture, takes pride in her home and enjoys fishing, of course. My bookshelves are a reflection of my life. They describe my character.
I have a sister whose shelves are filled with books about Italy. What do they say about her? They accurately portray a woman who is obsessed with Italy; the food, the people, the music and the culture. I also have a friend whose shelves contain nothing but recipe books and instructional manuals for all kinds of crafts. I have none of these, so I guess that says something else about me – that I’m not interested in Italy, I don’t like cooking and don’t have the time or patience for crafts. Does this mean that the books we don’t own say as much about us as the ones we do?
Whenever I visit a bookstore, I always look for the same things. I've tried reading other genres like romance, political or period stories, but they leave me cold. Give me a creepy horror story or a serial killer profile any day. Show me a book about Impressionist art or the great composers and I’m sold, and once I have bought a book it stays. Try as I might I can’t part with any of them. They give me great pleasure, even when I’m not reading them. I like having them around me.
Courtesy of Gracey / Morguefile.com
So what does your bookcase say about you? Does it contain hints about the person you are?
If I were to look through your bookshelf I wonder what story it would tell me.
A few years ago my bookcases contained all sorts of books. Many were on topics such as ancient history, pottery and crafts, topics I was once interested in but no longer had time for. Then I discovered de-cluttering. As a result I only have a few books now. I borrow quite a lot of books from the library.