21 January, 2017

Photo Post - My Life in Books

If you're reading this post, chances are you love books. And if you love books, I guess you might have a lot of them around your house?

I have mixed feelings about hoarding books. On the one hand, I grew up in a house full of books which meant I read widely (something I'm keen for my kids to experience too), and I love to have permanent reminders of all the literary journeys I've been on around me. On the other hand, I rarely re-read books and I don't like clutter. So we are not one of those households with books piled everywhere, but we certainly do have quite a few. Here is a sneaky peek at my life in books...

This is our fiction bookcase. On the top shelf we have some weighty classics on the left (Ulysses and War and Peace, the complete works of Jane Austen etc.) Most of the shelves are full of more modern novels. Towards the bottom we get more into genre: crime (including excessive numbers of Agatha Christies), thrillers, even the odd bit of horror or sci-fi. And we finish, bottom right, with short stories. Or we're meant to. The bottom shelves get rearranged by toddlers most days.

Our other two sets of shelves are mostly non-fiction. The shelves on the left of shot have children's fiction on the top and then mostly contain tonnes of OS Explorer maps, walking guides and photo albums. The shelves in the centre of shot contain all sorts of non-fiction: Christian books, travel books, books of knitting patterns, poetry, humour, books of quotations. We have a lot of CS Lewis books (including the Narnia series, which are of course ficiton but we wanted to keep all his work together). We also have a good whack of...

 ...Bill Bryson books. I adored his work as a teenager and his Short History of Nearly Everything remains one of the most fun and accessible pop science books I've read. Which brings us neatly on to...
...our science books! We have quite a lot of popular maths and science books. Here are a few. Anthropology is my specialist subject so a lot of books reflect that. Sapiens is our newest one and I haven't read it yet.

Once we get past the main bookshelves there are still more books scattered round our house.

In the living room I have a shelf of books that are "work" books - books I have written or contributed to, or that are about writing in some way, including the classic On Writing by Stephen King.

On my desk I always have a pile of books that are helping me with my latest project. In this case, my novel-in-progress involving Shakespeare and the language of flowers!

I have a big stack of recipe books inside one of our kitchen cupboards. These are the ones that stay out on the shelf at the moment as I use them most often. Every household should have a copy of the Good Housekeeping cookery book! The box on the left is full of recipes I've pulled from magazines. I love to cook!

Finally, there are the boys' books. I have a two year-old and a one year-old, both of whom LOVE books. The one year-old maybe loves them a little too much - a couple of times a week I usually have to get the sellotape out. We buy and get given new books all the time as well as always having a stack of library books. We must have getting on for 100 or so including all the collections. My favourites to read are Julia Donaldson, Quentin Blake, Jeanne Willis and Lynley Dodd, but the boys go through phases. Our two year-old will get fixated on Alfie or Apple Tree Farm for weeks at a time. At the moment our one year-old has an obsession with a book about a jellyfish running a rocket plane company. Within a few minutes of them finishing breakfast this is a bird's-eye view of what their bookshelves look like...

We are trying to teach them to be tidy but it might be a long process! For now I am just glad they are living in a house where books play a major part of every day. 

What does your life in books look like? Are you a horder or a pass-it-on-er?


  1. I admire your organisational skills, Chloe. Much easier to locate individual books. I use the 'this-ul-doo' system, which makes every book hunt an adventure. Any tips for the best way to clean old books, especially for dust on the edges?

    1. Nope! I have no idea about cleaning books. My organisational skills are mostly theoretical with the books - there are plenty of books that have ended up in the wrong place, but the intention is there!

    2. I have hundreds and no matter how many are read and sent back out into the world, there are always more taking their places. Moving will be a horror but liquor store cartons hold just enough not to hurt my back and come in all sizes so tht many books can stand up in the box as if on the shelf. Vacuum cleaner hose cleans good enough. Gently. Borax in the boxes prevents mildew.

  2. I love this post.I love my book shelevs :)


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