Every shelf is different and every bookshelf tells a different story. Writer and historian Lydia Pyne finds bookshelves to be holders not just of books but of so many other things: values, vibes, and verbs that can be contained and displayed in the buildings and rooms of contemporary human existence. To celebrate our 2/18 event with Lydia for her book Bookshelf, we asked our booksellers shared their own shelves.
Chapter 1: Demi
“Out of many bookshelves in the house I share with two literature PhD students, one cat, and one dog, this is the one that has most of our kids’ books. (All of our signed books are together on a shelf in our living room, so there are a handful of kids’ books there too.) And since I read the most kids’ books…most of these are mine. I’m most proud of my advance readers’ editions of THE THICKETY series by JA White and THE ELEMENTAL TRILOGY by Sherry Thomas, because they look so nice on my shelf!”
Chapter 2: Joe T.
“Over the last two years I’ve gone from zero graphic novels to enough to fill up a bookcase and still have books left over. #2016comicbookrenaissance in full effect! This altar to the four color fabulous is topped with a painting by Mallory Bass entitled “Doctor Strange In The dark Dimension.” CHEERS!”
Chapter 3: Griffin
“AND A BOOKMARK IN EVERY ONE! One day last summer, i collected every book i had a bookmark in. Some were first time reads, a few were rereads, but they were all marked. Here’s what’s left after the 13 i read that didn’t fit. I get a lot of teasing about the dry subject matter and convoluted texts i like; classic lit, holy texts, math and science, and encyclopedic novels. But, i ALWAYS find connections to daily life and interests even in the most obscure, esoteric or bizarre reading. You’ll see INFINITE JEST (DFW’s my new lit crush) waiting for a second read. There’s comics, too, to be read for story, then art, then letters to the editor so i can see my name in print: i demand full value for my comics.”
Chapter 4: Melissa
“When I first moved to Austin I decided to only take part of my book collection with me and leave the rest of it at my parents’ for the time being. This was only six months ago and I’m already to the point where I may need to buy another bookcase. Or find another place to put my boyfriend’s book (see top shelf) because he is the type of reader that never finishes a book. Harry Potter takes up almost a whole shelf himself, but I’m sure as heck not stuffing him in a closet. I guess I could stack any new additions in the small space between the bookcase and tv stand. But that’s tacky, right? On top of it? No. My penguins are up there. I can’t hide any in my storage, because they need to be displayed. Well, there’s no way around it, I need to just buy another bookcase. Now… where shall I put it?”
Chapter 5: Jason
“Here is part of my “permanent collection”, stuff I don’t give away as I do most of the stuff I read. As you can see, it’s very well organized…There is “And the Ass Saw The Angel” by Nick Cave; “Shibumi” by Trevanian (given to me by my Dad when I was a teenager, love this book); A couple of bios about The Clash; A couple of books about Johnny Cash; Terry Gilliams recent auto bio; A couple of books about vintage British motorcycles; “The Searchers ” (book about that movie being made intertwined with the real life story of Cynthia Parker) The Searchers is my favorite movie of all time; “Fight Club” (signed by Chuck Pahluniak); An old framed Herman comic strip about a guy getting a gorilla flavored ice cream cone when he asked for vanilla (my Dad passed this to me as well, it was his favorite strip);There is Leanord Cohen and Joe Strummer bio in there as well….”
Chapter 6: Consuelo
“My main bookshelf is a Tetris puzzle of different collections. Along most of the top are my mass markets arranged by color. The first two and a half cubes on the left house my James Agee and James Baldwin books. (I will buy the same title in different editions for these fellas.) Then comes bios of writers. Next is books about/set in New Orleans, followed by New York. And finally, the rest is all fiction that doesn’t fit in one of those groups. Whew!”
Chapter 7: Kathleen
“This bookshelf was built for me by my Uncle Herbie for my kindergarten classroom. After I retired I brought it home. Now it holds my favorite children’s books, family photo albums and vintage toys. And one really large and creepy Humpty Dumpty.”
Chapter 8: Sarah H.
“Books I am excited about or are on my to-read-asap list, end up on my piano. I end up bringing home a lot of advanced readers or publisher recommendations, way more than I can read in a reasonable amount of time. They all end up here so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of my other bookshelves. These are my READ ASAP books.”