Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Your Own Personal Library

Books are a big deal to the ladies of Stellar Four. Between the four of us, we read hundreds of books a year and chat about them extensively. We ping each other on Twitter when we find an exciting new title and we're happy to make suggestions and cajole each other into reading a new series. We're book people, that's who we are.

Since this week is library week, I wanted to do a piece on our personal libraries. I was even going to straighten up my shelves for pictures. I reached out to the other girls to see if they wanted to share their own libraries and the answers I got back shocked me. Megan S, my good twin, doesn't keep her books! She reads them or borrowers them, then releases them into the wild. Sara N was the same, preferring to keep a few favorites and rotate the others out. Kathy F is my compatriot in book hoarding and has a lot of children's books as well as her own all over the place. For my part, I think I've kept every book I've ever read in my entire life. I have hundreds in multiple rooms in the house.

I can't imagine a house without books everywhere. Sure, part of me thinks they're out to get me because I trip over them all the time, but that's just life with books. They're piled high in corners, stacked on tables, shoved into shelves. My personal library spans many rooms and many surfaces. I couldn't imagine parting with them, even if they are trying to kill me (what do they want? Insurance money? Revenge?).

But, I must say, there is something alluring about the way Megan and Sara do it. They probably have houses much more organized than mine and they have space to walk around without their ankles being attacked by paperbacks. That must be nice. I bet they have all their dust under control too. They probably have chairs you can actually sit in that aren't seating books instead.

They've inspired me (and they're going to find this hilarious) to try and maybe... whittle my own personal library down a little. Do I need both the paperback and the hardcover of the same book? Can't I donate or sell some of the books I haven't read in many years? We'll see how it goes.

Personal libraries are such an interesting subject. We all can't be like Victorian lords who have vast libraries in their castles but some of us book lovers try their hardest to bring their favorite place in the world into their home. We share pictures of our book shelves (they started calling that "shelfies" but if I ever use the term, just put me out of my misery) as if displaying our personal library is somehow displaying a deeper part of our soul than a picture of our face. Sometimes there is no more beautiful a library than the one you cultivated personally.

So we want to know what YOUR personal library looks like. Do you go minimalist like Megan and Sara? Or do you hoard books like your life depends on it like I do? Or, maybe, you're like Kathy and you straddle the line between "only a few books" and "ALL OF THE BOOKS". Tell us! Show us pictures!
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  1. Every room in my house has a bookcase, and I'm always trying to squeeze a few more in. One of the delights of finally buying a house was the knowledge that I would no longer have to pack up my books and move them (that was a delight for the spouse as well -- those boxes are HEAVY).

    That said, I do try to keep the collection to what can fit on the shelf, and I've gone through a few purges in the last years to do so. These days I try to be a little more picky about what I keep after I read it -- if I don't see myself really wanting to pick it up again, I donate it to my local library, or (in the case of more heavily used books) put it up on

  2. HA!

    Like nature, I abhor a vacuum.* I am a collector; weird coins, eyeshadows, earrings, shiny things, handbags, the macabre, the list goes on. So, it's not that I don't have piles on chairs, it's just that it's not books. I have to do something to keep the stacks from collapsing and trapping me underneath. I manage it all by being extremely picky about what stays.

    And for the record, I trip over something on the floor at least three times a day. It's just that it's usually Paisley, Lilly, or a cat toy.

    *If she were commenting on this post, my mother would be quick to note that this is a double entendre as I'm not the most tidiest of people.

  3. I collect books but I don't have a lot of space in my apartment so I tend hoard ebooks like a dragon does gold. I have a lot of books but my collection has been culled several times due to several moves and living in small apartments. So I'm kind of in between you and Megan S. at the moment. I will say that if I had to space and the money, I'd totally be more on the book hoarding side of the spectrum.

  4. Actually, I DO keep all of my books; I just rarely re-read them. My library is a thing of sprawling, overstuffed beauty! :)

  5. I am more likely to buy a physical book these days if it is a kids book or has a cover that I absolutely love. I guess I'm a hybrid - one foot in the real and digital library.

  6. I love my books and have a hard time getting rid of them. I'm also a bit obsessive when it comes to authors I love. I try and find their entire collection. I also have the hard covers (and soft covers to actually read) of my favorite series Wheel of Time.
    My book shelves are all doubled up on paperbacks, but I wish there were more shelves, like floor to ceiling all around the room ;)


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