Hello and welcome to the latest in Other People’s Bookshelves, a regular series of posts where you get to have a nosey at other book lovers bookshelves. This week we are off to Virginia to meet the lovely Shannon of River City Reading. Now I should warn you that this post may contain pictures of a shelving system so pristine it puts us all to shame, and may make some of us slightly jealous. First though let’s learn a bit more about Shannon…
I’m Shannon from River City Reading, which is based on the nickname for Richmond, Virginia, the place my books and I call home. Though I’ve had my nose in a book for as long as I can remember, I’ve only been serious about keeping and collecting the books I read for a few years, now that I have a house of my own with more space. Or so I thought. Somehow, these bookshelves never seem to be big enough.
Do you keep all the books you read on your shelves or only your favourites, does a book have to be REALLY good to end up on your shelves or is there a system like one in one out, etc?
For a long time, I was borrowing more books than I was buying, so keeping all the books I owned was a possibility. Once I started blogging, the number of books that came into the house (both from publishers and my own purchases based on the great recommendations I was getting) made it almost impossible to keep everything. I would say I keep maybe 75% of what I read and the rest go to friends or my neighbourhood Little Free Library.
Do you organise your shelves in a certain way? For example do you have them in alphabetical order of author, or colour coded? Do you have different bookshelves for different books (for example, I have all my read books on one shelf, crime on another and my TBR on even more shelves) or systems of separating them/spreading them out? Do you cull your bookshelves ever?
I have two shelves in my living room and a larger library in my office upstairs. I am a serial organizer, alphabetizer and occasional culler. One of the downstairs shelves is favourites, signed books and “serious TBR” (I can’t believe I even need to have this category). The other living room shelf is non-fiction, including a book for every special exhibit the art museum my husband works for has had in his time there. Upstairs is all fiction, except for a small row of essays, biographies and autobiographies that spilled over when the non-fiction shelf filled up. I also have a basket for ARCs for the next few months, which I label with the publication date in an effort to stop them from landing in random piles around the house. It’s only somewhat effective.
What was the first book you ever bought with your own money and does it reside on your shelves now?
Though I’m not sure it was the first purchase, I have a distinct memory of buying the first Babysitter’s Club book at a Scholastic Book Fair in elementary school with my (parent’s) own money. That was the start of an incredible friendship that I hung on to until I was “too cool” for them in middle school. I still regret letting those books go.
Are there any guilty pleasures on your bookshelves you would be embarrassed people might see, or like me do you have a hidden shelf for those somewhere else in the house?
Did you notice the movie tie-in edition of Atonement? In any other case, I would banish a movie tie-in from my bookshelves, but I adore that movie and I have no shame. I blame it on Keira Knightley’s green dress.
Which book on the shelves is your most prized, mine would be a collection of Conan Doyle stories my Great Uncle Derrick memorised and retold me on long walks and then gave me when I was older? Which books would you try and save if (heaven forbid) there was a fire?
My husband found a gorgeous, old leather bound copy of Thoreau’s Walden at one of the used bookstores here in Virginia not too long ago and, though it’s not worth much, I just love the way it looks. I’m also partial to my copy of The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom, which was the first time an author left a really lovely little message about my blog in the inscription.
What is the first ‘grown up’, and I don’t mean in a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ way, that you remember on your parent’s shelves or at the library, you really wanted to read? Did you ever get around to it and are they on your shelves now?
I just had to read The Exorcist after seeing my Dad carry it around for a few weeks, even though I was way too young. I don’t know if it was better or worse that I hadn’t seen the movie yet, but I was traumatized regardless.
If you love a book but have borrowed the copy do you find you have to then buy the book and have it on your bookshelves or do you just buy every book you want to read?
I have a terrible habit of this, but not just with books I’ve borrowed! I also tend to do it with books I’ve read and loved in e-book or ARC format.
What was the last book that you added to your bookshelves?
The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Keirnan, which I’m looking forward to reading before Booktopia Asheville! (Simon interrupts to shout ‘Guess who might just be there?!!!!!!’)
Are there any books that you wish you had on your bookshelves that you don’t currently?
There are tons of books I wish were on my shelves, but they are the ones I love to hunt for at used stores and library sales. I have to keep up hope that I’ll stumble upon them eventually.
What do you think someone perusing your shelves would think of your reading taste, or what would you like them to think?
They would probably think I own too many new books and wonder where the classics are, which is a valid criticism. Other than that, I think I have a pretty diverse reading taste that ranges from non-fiction and graphic novels to literary and historical fiction.
A huge thanks to Shannon for taking part in Other People’s Bookshelves, who else feels slightly envious for the neatness, why is it everyone else’s bookshelves can make us feel jealous of our own lovely ones? Anyway… Don’t forgot if you would like to participate (and I would love you to – hint, hint, hint) in the series then drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Other People’s Bookshelves, thanks in advance. In the meantime… what do you think of Shannon’s responses and/or any of the books and authors that she mentions?