Welcome to My Bookshelf

B's Bookshelf

I’ve long since given up on the idea of my bookshelves nearing perfection; every few months it seems like I’m rearranging the contents obsessively, albeit lovingly.

I used to think that books were just things to be amassed and collected but as my interests have waxed and waned over the years my library has shrunk and grown as well.

Which books do I choose to populate my bookshelves? Just about everything. As evidenced here, here, here and here (and one more time here) I have fairly eclectic tastes. And that’s just a small sampling. A few years back my sister introduced me to Goodreads as a way of tracking all the hundreds of books I’ve read throughout the years and to amass all of the titles on my impossibly long to-read lists. I still use it to track my reading activity religiously.

I’m fascinated with other people’s bookshelves, too. It’s not unusual to find me hiding out a party snooping other people’s collections. I can’t help it; I think one’s choice of reading material reflects highly on the type of person one is. By this logic my crowded bookshelf would suggest a person who’s kind of all over the place- and this representation wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

In the meantime, I’ve come to except my bookshelves as kind of a living, breathing organism that needs attention and care. They may seem cluttered and confusing to some people, but for me- for now- they’re just right.

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I’d love to take a sneak peek at some of your bookshelves. What changes have you made to it recently? Which changes do you refuse to make? Comment below or shoot me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. Looking for more book musings? Look no further than here.

Fall 2015 Reading List

KBB_fall2015ReadingListI often get so many book recommendations from so many people that it’s sometimes hard to pursue my own literary interests- which range in pretty much everything to neuroscience to young adult fiction (guilty as charged). For the past few months I’ve concentrated on making sure that all of the books that I’ve borrowed have returned to their rightful owners and now that the weather is cooler, I’m looking forward to trying out some new flavors of looseleaf tea from the shop down the street and digging into some of the books that have been waiting for me on my bookshelf for probably a year or more.

1) Adultery by Paulo Coelho. Although I’ve never read his most famous work, The Alchemist, a friend of mine automatically assumed (seeing as I’m such a prolific reader, haha) that I read it and that I’d be interested in reading this one as well. Here’s hoping that this one lives up to the author’s reputation although I think I might have picked this one up for the title alone- it promises to be a juicy read.

2) Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. I read The Glass Castle way back when I was on a cruise in 2007 (shows you often I go on vacation) and the sequel, Half Broke Horses, has been sitting on my shelf virtually ever since then. Shame on me!

3) Songs Without Words by Ann Packer. My sister recently returned this book to me with many thanks for recommending it. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it too has been one of the many volumes that has sat lonely and unread on my shelves for over a year. Fortunately, she enjoyed it but lesson learned: you never know what you may be stealing when you steal something off someone else’s bookshelves.

4) Juliet by Ann Fortier. I’m a sucker for anything Shakespeare-related and I have a particular soft spot for the story of Romeo and Juliet, maybe because it was my first-ever major role in a school play. I’m also a sucker for any kind of epic love story across time so I’m holding out for a dreary afternoon where I can curl up with this one and a box of tissues.

5) And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Normally when I find a particular author I like I tend to grab everything they’ve ever written and read it voraciously, so I’m a little curious as to where I found the patience to hold off on reading Khaled Hosseini’s latest novel. Although The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns are not exactly the type of book that I’d reread over and over again (mostly because I felt so devastated after reading each one), both of his previous novels have been so powerful and captivating that I have to read this one as well. My sister promises it lives up to its predecessors.

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Psst- wanna see which books have previously graced my bookshelves? Click here. Want even more fun reading recommendations? I’ve got some for you here. Don’t forget to find me on Goodreads so we can snoop each other’s bookshelves and dish about our favourites.

The Literary Snoop

KBB_stack_of_booksThere is one hard truth about people and that is this: people like to snoop.

I think there’s nothing more than people like to do than hear about other people. It doesn’t have to be in a malicious way. We’re just interested in what’s going on in people’s lives- and in their medicine cabinets.

Some people get their fix watching reality shows, or just being a plain gossip, but I get my jollies in a slightly different way.

I snoop bookshelves.

Part of my excuse is that it’s very hard for me to see words anywhere without automatically reading them, which is why you’ll catch me reading over your shoulder on the bus or on the subway. I don’t mean to pry. I just can’t be near a written word without reading it.

You may have guessed this already, but here’s my official confession anyways: I am a literary snoop.

Case in point: two of my good friends moved a while back and in a gesture of good-friendliness I volunteered to help out. By the time I had gotten off of work they had moved all the furniture and boxes into the rooms and now all that was left to do was unpack.

I stood with my friend in his room, surveying the garbage bags full of clothes, the mattress still leaning against the wall and the general clutter that comes with moving all of your belongings willy-nilly into one room. We looked at all the boxes. We looked at each other. I asked, “Do you want to unpack your books?”

And we did- all twenty-three boxes of them. My friend is also a self-confessed bibliophile and as it turns out, has a collection that’s much bigger and much more varied than my own. You can imagine the fun that we had that afternoon, the kind of sick pleasure we took from realizing that all of his books would have to be double-stacked on his shelves. Even though we were both excited about decorating his new apartment and had endlessly discussed paint colors and the like up until moving day, we just couldn’t stop the conversations that would ensue every time we commented on the books we were pulling out of the boxes, one at a time.

Inevitably, I walked away with a big stack of books that I had borrowed, which is usually the end result of this particular friend and I spending an afternoon together. It is the one benefit to being a literary snoop- I am constantly adding to the growing pile of books stacked next to my bed to read.

And believe me, that stack is ever growing.

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You’ve heard about my dirty secret- maybe you have the same one? Feel free to browse my virtual bookshelves to see what I’ve read and what I’m looking forward to reading on my Goodreads profile. My username is- you guessed it- B. More reading inspiration, click here, or check out my Pinterest Book Board.