What does your bookshelf say about you?

G’day friends!

Today, I kind of want to do a slightly different post. I was reading Tim Parks’ novel, Where Am I Reading From? for my thesis and I came across this little section where he talks about how he’s childhood bookshelf kind of prophesised where his interests would and/or wouldn’t lie in the future. And it got me thinking about how I read and what I read..the books that I tend to gravitate to, and why that’s the case. So it got me thinking even more and because of that, you get this post.

So, I went to my bookshelf and looked at it, really looked at it, like I was a stranger and what a stranger could discern from such a looking.

Here are my observations:

  1. Holy hell, she must love Nora Roberts a whole lot.
  2. Has she even read all those Classics?
  3. Romance and sex, okay, I approve.
  4. Wait, how old is she? Young Adult books are everywhere.
  5. A lot of poetry
  6. She’s a feminist, she must be.

I was having fun with it, sue me.

And I realised that the bookshelf which I have now is a kind of elaboration of the bookshelf that I had in my childhood home, the one that I shared with my parents.

What do I mean by all this, though? Well, let’s start with the bottom part of my fiction shelf. This is where the adult crime/thriller and classic supernatural/horror fiction can be found. Growing up, we had the typical Dan Brown shelf, with the mafioso-type thrillers like the Godfather, etc. We also had Anne Rice, who my mum was a super fan of, and of course, Jackie Collins. As I grew up, the shelves did too – I remember Nora Roberts making a consistent appearance as well as more True Crime novels concerning mafia-hitmen and the underbelly of Australia. And of course, the Bible. I don’t think any family with an Italian parent and Italian grandparents can escape having the Bible on their bookshelf.

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with mum reading Anne Rice books such as the Witching Hour; but the books that I remember reading with crystal-like clarity was more ‘supernatural-like’, and they were the Mediator series by Meg Cabot. I actually read them first before the Princess Diaries, I didn’t read them until the movie came out. But I fell in love with the Mediator series! I thought that the main female character, Suz, was everything I wanted to be; she was strong and independent as hell but also loved with everything in her. I fell in love with Jesse, the ghost and got so emotionally invested in their relationship throughout the entire series. I absolutely loved it. Suz, a ‘mediator’, basically sees dead people and her job, that she takes upon herself, is to ensure that these ghosts move on.

I loved them so much holy shit.

And then I stuck with Meg Cabot for a while, never really venturing into different genres, until Nora Roberts. Now, Meg Cabot’s the Mediator series was very Young Adult whereas Nora Roberts’ books were…not so much. The first actual sex scene I read I was LIKE WHAT OMG AM I ALLOWED TO READ THIS IN COMPANY?? Now, I’m a pro. I can read chapters of sex scenes without anyone knowing at all.

It’s a gift.

But my venturing into Nora Roberts was a direct result of my mum and the bookshelf we had at home.

Now I’m a Nora Roberts fiend, I literally have two shelves of her on my bookshelf and their double packed. Like, when I say I have a ridiculous amount of Nora Roberts books, I mean it.


Storytime: When we moved houses in 2014, my mum got rid of quite a lot of books (we donated them) because we literally couldn’t take them all with us. It was heartbreaking, so my mum and dad’s copies of all the Dan Brown books was given away.

Fast forward a few years later (like one) I was on an OBSESSION STREAK. I needed to read EVERY SINGLE ROBERT LANGDON BOOK THERE WAS. So I purchased them all. You’re welcome, Dan Brown.

But for me, when I began reading Adult Fiction, I only read Adult Fiction. I think the only exception was Harry Potter, and that wasn’t until I was in highschool. I do think now that this was because Adult Fiction was more accessible to me during the period when I began to be more heavily invested in reading – say when I was around 11 or 12 years of age? So I kind of forgot that Yound Adult fiction actually existed until Twilight and then eventually, Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

So, I had read Harry Potter when I was in Year 7, so I was 12 or 13 and I really fucking loved it. My mum, who was at this point fostering my love of reading, went to Angus and Robertson (before all their shops bloody closed down; on a side note, do yall remember Borders?) and got Twilight. That was then what spurred my love of all things paranormal romance. Again, I tended to go to the Adult Fiction section – so I read ALOT OF J.R. Ward, Gena Showalter, G. A. Aiken, just to name a few. WHICH I LOVED. I was and still am HERE FOR ALL THE ROMANCE.

But, if you look at my bookshelf now, paranormal adult fiction romance is not really the genre taking up my shelves. It’s YA lit. The only paranormal/supernatural adult books I have are those authored by Nalini Singh and Christine Feehan.

I got rid of a lot of those types of books, and I think its because I felt that I grew up? Which is funny because I grew up by broadening my reading and read Young Adult fiction, a genre typically catered to ‘younger’ audiences.

Am I the only one who sits and looks at my bookshelf and just stare and reminisce about various memories each book has? Let me know in the comments!

So, what would your bookshelf right now tell a stranger? Do you remember your childhood bookshelf? Have they changed in terms of genres, or do you see little patterns that come up when thinking about what you used to love as a child/teenager and now?

Until next time! Happy reading!

All the love,

Allie

xx


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37 thoughts on “What does your bookshelf say about you?

  1. I wonder what you’d be able to tell about me! Because my physical shelves only represent like 10% of my reading xD and it’s mostly stuff that I didn’t buy myself, but got given, or took from parents or grandparents. Most of the stuff I actually read is on my Kindle… but even then, a lot of that are some old freebies or review copies. So I guess it’s harder to just look at my bookshelf and see πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. very true!! we were talking about this on twitter actually…like, what our elibraries would tell about us and if they are a more ‘accurate’ representation! in your case, it’s an interesting one!!! i guess that bloggers have a an eclectic collection of books haha xx

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  2. Very interesting post. I just went through a lot of REALLY OLD books and donated them and let me say.. my younger reading totally led to the way I read now. I have always had an interest in fantasy, but back then it didn’t completely dominate my shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was cool to see what had interested me back then and how things were so similar now. I wanted to re-read a lot of the middle grade titles, but I had to donate them.

        It was also cool to see how my interest in fantasy started out as something that I would read every now and then and now is almost ALL I read. The progression was very slow.

        I recently wrote a post where I looked at all my 5 star reviews and saw what they had in common, and that was super fun because I saw my preferences in depth and really saw what makes me love a book. (The post is called What Makes a Great Book? Just in case you wanted to check it out.)

        I think it’s really interesting how our interests change over time and also how everyone’s preferences are so different. Some people didn’t become readers until later in life. I can’t imagine that, I’ve always been a huge reader.

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  3. I love this post! It’s true that our bookshelves say a lot about the kind of reader … or person we are!
    If I sit in front of my bookcase and let my eyes gloss over the titles, I’d say… I’m in the house of 1) a cop 2) a serial killer, hahaha! So much crime fiction! And crime non-fiction too…

    I have a separate bookcase for the novels I grew up with (except for HP, they are on the main shelves, because my love is forever!) You can find my first books, Little Brown Bear… Then primary school with Daniel Pennac. Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmes, Dark Angel, among the titles from my teen years, with lots of Patricia Cornwell and Stephen King!

    I loved rediscovering my books with new eyes! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG thank you so much for your kind words!!!!!! HAHAHAHHAHA that is hilarious!! our booksehlves can be a very strange place!!

      that is such a fantastic idea…i honestly never thought to put my childhood books in a separate bookshelf! i would have loved to keep all of the books that helped shaped me! so that is super cool to be able to see how you’ve grown and stuff! thank you again for the lovely comment! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love going to people’s houses and looking at their bookshelves and making assumptions about them. I do wonder what people think of my bookshelves when they see a row of Harry Potter books followed by a row of Russian history.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Things a random person would think after looking at my bookshelves:
    1. Damn, she reads a lot of classics
    2. Is she obsessed with Dickens?
    Yes, she is 😊
    3. She’s definitely obsessed with Harry Potter
    Yep. I have the whole series + 4 additional books in English in my flat, and in my parents house, my bookshelf is still intact, and you can find them all there in Serbian.
    4. Wow, a polyglot!
    Yeah, I do my best to, if possible, find books in the languages they were written in. Most of my books are in Serbian, Croatian or English, but there are also several in French and Spanish.
    5. A fantasy freak 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i love THIS OMG!! and also, im so jealous that you’re able to read in different languages that is such a powerful skill ! i wish i could various languages – but i only understand and slightly speak Greek…i think you’ve inspired to me to get my ish together and try to learn how to read it too! reading in the original language would provide the story with so much more depth! thank you so much for you comment, lovely! xx

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  6. Omg, I LOVED the Mediator series, too!!! I shipped them so much! I’ve been meaning to reread them but they’re over my budget at the moment. Lol, my bookshelf wouldn’t reflect my childhood one as much as yours did. I read a lot of Enid Blyton, mystery, fairytales and later on Twilight and other paranormal romances but nowadays sci-fi dominates my shelf and if I could I’d have YA, contemporary romance and some select fantasy fiction(bcuz I had to keep moving house so collecting books became cumbersome, so I sold some―and also lost some). It’s interesting to hear and reminisce about our reading journeys!

    P. S. Do you remember that scene in the Mediator series where a mom didn’t want her kid to eat sweet stuff for no legit reason and Suz, who was working at the place, pitied the kid and lied to the mom’s face, giving exactly what she didn’t want to give her child? πŸ˜‚ Also, did you hear that there’s another book coming out in the series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i agree it is super awesome to think back about our reading and what we’ve read and what we remember!! OMG IM SO HAPPY TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE WHO LOVES THE MEDIATOR SERIES AS MUCH AS ME!!! i really would love to re-read them and have them again on my shelf, but im the same..they’re out of my budget at the moment!!

      OMG YES Suz literally was who i wanted to be when i grew up SHE IS THE BEST AND HILARIOUS HAHAH ! OMG NO i did not know that there is another book coming out in the series??!! are you serious??? omg i need to find out more!!!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahaha, RIGHT??! I’m SO GLAD too! No one even talks about that series! Lolll, wow, you, too?? πŸ˜‚ Oh, I thought it was totally bad*ss, too! That scene got imprinted in my mind. Oooh, and when Jesse got jealous? 🀣

        Ikr?? I just saw and it’s been out since 2016!

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  7. I feel like my bookshelves wouldn’t tell the truth about me. Over the past 10 yrs I’ve only really bought books I’d read on Kindle and LOVED, coz that’s all I could afford. Over the past couple of yrs I’ve been able to expand on it thanks to birthday and Christmas presents. But it still doesn’t reflect what I actually read and enjoy.

    Also, did you ever go to the Borders at Chaddy? I loved that one! It was huge, had a Gloria Jeans in it and was the only book store I knew of that had arm chairs so you could just sit and read there. My parents and friends literally put a leash on me so they wouldn’t lose me if we went in there πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! this has been something that has come up in conversations…and honestly, i completely forgot about my eLibraries! because yes, i have heaps on my ipad because it was cheaper to get it online or even free from apple books or kindle! So maybe we should do a post about our kindle/applebooks libraries!!

      OMG I DON’T THINK I WENT TO THE ONE AT CHADSTONE!! i used to always go to the Borders at Highpoint..it was my first love ahah! it also had a Gloria Jeans and i thought it was so high class omg ! now i wish i went to the one at Chaddy coz that would have been massive!! OMG ME TOO! mum and dad would always lose me hahahaha or i could literally spend hours in there hahah!! xxx

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      1. Yeas I think an eLibrary version should definitely be done. The one at Chaddy was like 3 or 4 stories and each level was for different age groups. So bottom level was for the kids and young teens. Ground floor was for general stuff like travel books, self help books etc. First floor was YA/NA with the top level being for adults, they even had some areas that you had to show ID to get into lol!

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  8. I have no idea. Like you when I was younger I stuck to one genre. I reread The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice so much in my teens. I got older and started reading more different genres. Now I have my favourites but I read a bit of everything. It’s interesting thinking what my bookshelf says. When I was younger it’d say I had a vampire obsession now. ? Who knows? I have an entire shelf of horror novels by James Herbert but then the entire Poldark series on another shelf. And my classics. Food for thought I guess. Maybe we need to share pictures on twitter and see what people say. 🀣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i think sharing photos would be epic haha maybe we should do that sometime in the future??!! i have to agree…i go through periods where i kind of become obssessed with soemthing…like a genre…when i was younger it was definitely vampires and werewolves and paranormal romance…but now i get in these weird moods like only wanting to read crime fiction, or poetry, or philosophy! our bookshlelves can sometimes be such a strange little window to our souls hahah xx

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      1. Yes! I read more variety now but you do get in a particular mood for certain books I guess. I’d definitely love someone to interpretate my shelves πŸ˜‚ I might have to hide some though

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    1. omg really? that is the biggest compliment haha! if you want to start reading a Nora Roberts book, i recommend maybe starting with one of her most recent ones…a standalone first and then move to a series. So, Come Sundown or Shelter in Place or Black Hills! A more chill series by her is the Bride Quartet! if you want more supernatural/fantasy then her Guardians trilogy or her Key Trilogy are good too! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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