Shelf Esteem
July 3, 2013 6:38 PM   Subscribe

Shelf Esteem. Stories about people and their book collections.
posted by chunking express (9 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm kind of surprised to see only one Ikea Expedit, though I guess it's probably more of a record collection thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:59 PM on July 3, 2013

It should also be mentioned that the style is "as told to" i.e. the prose is first-person, as if the bookshelf-owner is standing in front of you, explaining their collection to you, and is really pleasurable to read.
posted by skwt at 8:49 PM on July 3, 2013

What about the MeFi's? I would assume that there are a few of us here with stories to tell about their own shelves full of books. The why's, the how's, the what's, and the usual IKEA references.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:52 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I lived in Japan for 10 years. For half of that time, I didn't read Japanese, and it was also pre-Internet, so I had to buy books, usually marked up by about 400 percent. And then I started reading Japanese, and I started buying books, usually very unique books about local history and folklore and natural history.

When we came back to Canada, I moved all of my expensive English books to my mother-in-law's house in Japan. There is an entire room filled with books. There's also my wife's books, and my sister-in-law's books from when she was an undergrad. We go back about once a year, and it's a real pleasure to rediscover those books.

I also have a giant stack of old New Yorkers waiting for me there.

I brought back my rare Japanese books to Canada, and they sit in a bookshelf next to my desk. I got rid of all of my books from high school and university when I came back, often a lot of canonical fiction, but also some really unique science fiction paperbacks that I bought from used bookstores as a high school student.

I pared it all down. So, besides the Japanese books, the only English books I own are plant guides, some hard-to-find local history books, Best American Essays, and the whole Aubreyad.

I hate hauling boxes of books around, and books for me now have to be very special things to have on hand. Each book I own means something to me.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:18 PM on July 3, 2013

I could tell this story. I even took pictures of the old collection* in a steel cupboard in the storeroom in a different country. Lets do a tumblr or some such for mefites to share their own stories rather than telling them in this thread?

*linked to that before in previous book porn and bookshelfporn threads, so wondering why we keep reinventing wheel and why not just share our books once and for all to be hauled up like a previously henceforward?
posted by infini at 10:32 PM on July 3, 2013

Thanks, I am really enjoying these.

I would assume that there are a few of us here with stories to tell about their own shelves full of books.

Yes, but most of us are saving them for the next post about e-books.
posted by Lorin at 11:13 PM on July 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's funny. Since the wife and I moved to Florida we have been trying to move all of the many boxes of books that I have into the house. We have most of them safe (thanks for asking), but several are still in the humid garage and I have been worried about them. So, recently I found out that the lovely and thoughtful wife has decided to have a carpenter build one whole wall of our bedroom full of book shelves. I honestly had to stop her from having a rolling ladder installed as well. It hasn't happened yet, but it will.

And I will purchase a simple ladder myself. I mean, it's a carpeted bedroom. Right? Right? Mahogany stain would look wonderful on a rolling ladder, wouldn't it?
posted by Splunge at 12:29 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's Nice That occasionally features the book collections of artists, illustrators, photographers, and designers.
posted by Kabanos at 6:43 AM on July 4, 2013

Hey, this is my column! Thanks for reading, and posting!

It's my favourite part of my work week, going to people's houses and poking around their books with questions and a camera. Professionalizing one of the most pleasurable parts of any good party, standing around, snooping a little. So much fun.
posted by emilycardigan at 9:44 AM on July 18, 2013

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