Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bookcase, or Hat. But that's really of a boy's name.

I met some girls on Mockingjay Eve of a little blog called First Novels Club. They were awesome, and cool, and let me take a picture of their t-shirts.

They recently posted the question, what your dream bookcase would look like.

The thing is, mine isn't a dream bookcase, it's a dream library. A room just for books. It's basically the nursery of Melissa and JD Taylor's Brooklyn apartment. It's a room that sits in the center of the apartment (or the 2nd floor of my brownstone, as long as I'm dreaming), with doors opening on either side. It has hardwood floors and is filled with light. The walls are lined with built-in shelves filled with books organized according to genre. There is a Persian rug on the floor that has faded with time and use, and two broken-in leather club chairs. During the summer the light that filters in is golden, and in the winter, the sun warms patches of the rug that I curl up in, like a cat. Dust particles appear in the shafts of late afternoon sun, but, miraculously, the books never get dusty.

The collection is well used. All of the books, even the first editions have been read and loaned out and read again. There is a bench with an ever-present stack of books to donate, as we read and glean and acquire more.

In absence of this dream, I documented my actual, totally respectable, bookcase.

This is the poetry section. In real life the books are organized by genre. That part wasn't a dream. This section is prolific, and ever growing.

These lower shelves are all children's literature. Can you tell that The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are not in their book jackets? They are on loan. On the right is the Anne of Green Gables set I got as a tween (before that was even a word). On the far left is a collection of stories by Maurice Sendak.

The pop-up books. The little green one is from Germany, and not the one I really loved from the shop. This one is adorable, but, also a reminder that you don't go to Germany every day. Buy what you like.

I bought this dictionary for myself just after I graduated from high school. I mark the words I look up. Which sounds interesting and intellectual until I look up immutable for the 8th time (unchanging, by the way) and I see it already marked and feel like a chump.

The fiction section. There's a lot of this section.

This is the end of non-fiction (you can see Bill Bryson on the end) and the start of more fiction. I have mentioned that I think I'm Thursday Next, haven't I?

A stack of James's full moleskines. There was a brief period when we first moved to New York and he used the little ones, but, that didn't last.

There's a section on the bottom row, starting from the Mary Gordon short stories (the yellow book near the center) going until Corpus Christie that are signed books. That's the Mary Gordon, Female Trouble, Lucky, The Lovely Bones, The Armies of the Night, Carter Beats the Devil, and Corpus Christie. Oh, and The Bell Jar.

Just kidding.

That's the collection. For now.


  1. Very respectable. When Jacob and I first got married (like a whole 2 months ago) and combined our libraries, I had all sorts of visions of how to organize it. The Dewey Decimal System was the winning choice, but then I started trying to understand its nuances and remembered that people get MASTER'S DEGREES to understand it, and our own genre system was reinstated. Fiction, series, short stories, poetry, drama, acting books, books on writing, biographies/autobiographies, philosophy, religion, and a small stack of "I don't know where the hell this should go."

    But your bookcase is, undeniably, a lot more visually pleasing.

  2. By genre is the way to go. I also alphabetize by author within the genre. I love the way a bookshelf can be in perfect order but look like it's not. With books of all different sizes and colors jumbled together. I have a friend who organizes her books by color and size. It makes me cringe a little.

    What were your thoughts on Housekeeping? It made me want to whisper and tiptoe.

    Dream library: not unlike that in My Fair Lady. Different decor, but two stories with a spiral staircase. It will also have a window seat on the second floor, facing south. The most common refrain in the house will be, "Oh, you're looking for Rachel? She's in the library."

  3. Scott had no books when we got married besides a whole lot of random trivia and guitar chords. We are currently in search for a new bookshelf so that we can expand our library.

    Also, I started making a list on Friday of my "dream library" so, we're currently dreaming alike.

  4. That's quite the massive collection! So excited that my post inspired you -- your dream library sounds amazing! I definitely want a reading room/library one day, and if that room could have a cozy window seat, I'd be ecstatic.

    And my copy of Hunger Games is lent out too, and I have the cover on my bookshelf. I just don't lend out hardback covers, because I hate it when they get all chewed up looking, even when they're not abused!

  5. Liz, I'm amazed you attempted the decimal system at all. You can't see it, but, the top most shelf is full of books whose only qualification is being short enough to fit on that tiny shelf.

    Rachel, she's in the library. Le sigh.

  6. Carrie, no books? Really? What DID he bring to the marriage? The answer better be a superior ability to balance a checkbook, or some sort of aged, wealthy uncle.

    Donna, I love that your book is also loaned out. Was it a wrench? It was for me. It always is, just at first.