"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf

In February my daughter gave me a copy of a book, My Ideal Bookshelf  with a note that she knew I would love it.  She was right, I do! The moment I opened the book I not only dived right in but started organizing my own ideal bookshelf.

Visit the Ideal Bookshelf Website to get all the information about this fabulous project, look at the art by Jane Mount, and learn how you can get a picture painted of your ideal bookshelf from popular groupings or create a custom page.  That would be an awesome gift. Since I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, I considered the possibility of getting one with all her books until I remembered that I'm not actually sure I've read all the books.  Then I found the Chronicles of Narnia and was tempted especially since Mount painted the books in the right order!

The book highlights the ideal bookshelves of 100 famous (semi-famous) people: authors, editors, cooks, designers, artists,  etc. I immediately turned to Nancy Pearl's page. She is a retired Seattle Public librarian who now has a spot on Public Radio talking about books. I confess I haven't even heard of one of the books on her shelf. Many of the other bookshelves were stuffed with classic books or large tomes. I wondered if anyone's bookshelf would be more down-to-earth like mine. Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame, had several books on her shelf that I'd read and like. Gina Trapani, an app designer, has two of the same books as on my shelf.  After perusing the whole book I certainly had a few more books to add to my TBR pile, too.

In lieu of a painting or print of my Ideal Bookshelf, here is a photograph. I had a hard time limiting myself to just ten books. My current choices are:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (represented by the first book in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)--- it is a sentimental favorite since I read it as a young girl and then reread it to my daughters when they were young.
  • Pride and Prejudice/Persuasion by Jane Austen---when people ask, I usually say that my favorite book is P & P, but I actually like Persuasion just as much. My husband paid me the ultimate compliment this year when he said he likes it that I am an Austenphile. How'd I luck out?
  • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns---this is not only a fabulous story, it is also the book that brought me back to reading after a very long hiatus.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green---this book represents both excellent and ethical YA literature. When I started as a teen librarian eight years ago I wasn't a YA reader and wondered if I would be able to relate to any of it.  After reading Looking for Alaska, Green's first novel,  I became a huge YA lit fan.
  • Peace Like a River by Leif Enger---something about this story, a family in crisis and the miracles that happen, really speaks to my heart. 
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver---My parents were missionaries in Africa, this novel is about just that. I ate it up! Quite a few of Kingsolver's books could be on my bookshelf.
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling---so many good things have happened because of these books in my life and the lives of my children and students.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle---the first book I remember loving. The memory of what this book meant to me has remained vivid.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--- (on my iPod)---I've never "read" this book, just listened to it on an audiobook and I've listened to it more than once.
  • The Bible---so important to my life!

What books are on your ideal bookshelf?


  1. I feel like we have a lot of overlap, but I also feel like it is cheating to have three series, maybe if you have the Chronicles of Narnia in one book it would work. Okay here is my list.

    1. Harry Potter (I am always reading them)
    2. Chronicles of Narnia (Hold a special place in my heart)
    3. Poisonwood Bible (My favorite highschool book)
    4. Papertowns (My first and therefore favorite John Green)
    5. Peace Like a River (The perfect vision of heaven)
    6. Beatrix Potter (Any of her books, or maybe all of them if we are cheating)
    7. Pride and Prejudice (I am a Miss Bennet(t) waiting for her Mr Darcy)
    8. Going Bovine (Who doesn't love Balder?)
    9. TKAM (I have read and listened to it multiple times and I can still hear the reader's distinctive voice)
    10. Handmaid's Tale (There something so great about the scandal of Scrabble)

    1. Thanks for sharing your list publically, Carly. I have enjoyed sharing reading experiences with you over the years. Because of our love of audiobooks we could consume the same book at the same time together. I often think about the funny book Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and how the three of us (with Rita) sat in the dark car at our camping spot so we could listen to the story together.

  2. Ok here goes, I feel like the ideal bookshelf should be an evolving and ever changing thing, but for now here are the books I think have defined or define my life.
    1) Bible
    2) Chronicles of Narnia (further up, and further in!)
    2) Little House on the Prairie (This book fed my obsession with all things Pioneer for a good 2 years)
    3) Ella Enchanted (or any other Cinderella spin-off feeds my princess fantasy)
    4) Harry Potter (the 3rd is the best)
    5) Heaven is for Real (this book makes me feel a peace about what comes after life)
    6) A Great and Terrible Beauty (the perfect book/series for me a mix of Victorian history and mythological mystery)
    7) The Princess Diaries (more fuel for my inner-Princess)
    8) Meet Felicity (American Girl Doll's history)
    9) Hello, Cupcake (the start of my cupcake obsession)
    10) Meet the Composers and what their neighbors thought (the artwork and information in this book will stay with me forever and made me a classical music composer fan girl for life.)

    1. I love it, Rita, that your shelf is such a surprise to me and contains so many books that you read and we all read when you were growing up. I, too, often think about the Composers books or say the lines inside my head ("noodle soup in a can".)The time that we spent in Colonial Williamsburg with you toting your Felicity doll around was all because of that wonderful American Dolls book series. The power of books to transform our lives is phenomenal. Thanks for the gift of The Ideal Bookshelf and for the gentle nudge you gave me to "Get with it and read it."

  3. I dont have a list on the spot -- but just wanted to say that your pick of Cold Sassy Tree -- interests me, and I think I should go back and read it. Thanks for the tip. cheers.


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