Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Salon: New Bookshelf, New Horizons

The Sunday
This Sunday I'm thinking about a quotation by Anna Quindlen, from a 1991 New York Times article entitled "Enough Bookshelves". I've never had the opportunity to read the whole article, but this quotation has always resonated with me:

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."

I don't know if that was a particular desire that my mother had for me, but she certainly sought to foster a lifelong love of reading in me at an early age. Why is this on my mind? Well, a much-needed new bookcase came into the house this afternoon. Tonight will most likely be spent watching Foyle's War while I rearrange my shelves, and I honestly can't think of a more enjoyable way to spend an evening. My classics were beginning to encroach on my science fiction, mysteries were interspersed with general fiction, and young adult fiction and fantasy has just been shelved wherever there was room. And there's also the pile of 50+ books on my desk that don't yet have a home on a shelf. It's going to be nice to have my books properly organized again, and to be able to give everything a bit of breathing room. I hope that this shelf will get me through the rest of the year.

Last week I checked my statistics on LibraryThing and realized that my library has more than doubled in the past year. One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2008 was to work harder towards building my "ultimate library" -- classics I never got to read during school, books that I enjoyed in my childhood but no longer have copies of, and books that I read during the days the I frequented the local library three times a week. I realized last year that many of my favorite books were ones that I'd never owned, and I wanted to rectify that. I also wanted to broaden my reading horizons. I'm reading more general fiction than I ever have before. It's an exciting time in my reading; I'm branching out from the my more familiar genres (mysteries and classics) to embrace new stories and experience new authors. Is there anything better for a lover of books? (Except, perhaps, a new bookshelf?)


  1. I've been trying to focus on missed classics lately, too. Each time I've read a classic, I've been very pleased.

  2. That quote is great. Now if only my parents would think so. ;) No, there really isn't anything better than branching out into new genres with which you're unfamiliar - except, like you said, a new bookshelf. I'm always trying to stretch my reading too beyond its normal boundaries: primarily mysteries.

  3. That is a great quote!

    Though my parents encouraged my love of reading, they have never been big believers in decorating with bookshelves, and they have steadfastly refused my pleas to put a book case in the front room (I have too little room for them in my room; I think one day they'll finally win, and I'll be forced to sleep on the couch).

    I also know what you mean about reading more general fiction. Library Thing has opened me up to quite a few authors I probably never would have read before. And there are some really good books out there that I've been missing, and wished I'd read before.

  4. It's a great feeling to organize and review your bookshelf! I love to rediscover books that I've forgotten about.

    Especially when the kids and I run through their shelves - we find all kinds of book treasures we had neglected.

  5. great quote! I always read to my kids since they were babies, and both of them enjoy reading now.

    I love the classics too, especially Jane Austen.

    Have a good week :)

  6. Hey Ruth! I like to organize my books too. Also, I wish I had more shelves and space to store my precious books! It's quite a problem for bookworms actually. :)

  7. Deb: I really enjoy reading classics that I never got around to during school. (I still can't believe Jane Austen never made assigned reading!)

    Justareadingfool: Thank you! Mysteries are addictive, aren't they? As much as I'm enjoying reading more general fiction, I usually have a mystery going as well. It's definitely my "go-to" genre. I blame my mother and all the episodes of Columbo, Perry Mason, and Murder, She Wrote that she watched during my formative years.

    Shootingstarr7: Ooh, I've just now realized that a bookcase would fit rather nicely in my front room. My library is in my bedroom, but I'm going to have to branch out to other parts of the house now. My bedroom has three bookcases that are about a foot taller than I am, and then there's a smaller bookcase beside my bed that I also use as a nightstand. I have no more room for bookcases unless I start hanging them from the ceiling!

    Sheistoofondofbooks: Ah, I completely agree. It's a double-edged sword, though, I found a few books that I'd forgotten about and now the TBR pile is a bit bigger!