Where growing, making & good living come together

We *heart* books too (warning: picture heavy post!)

Posted by on Wednesday 4 May 2011 in meta | 18 comments

Last week, Swirly Arts’ Lynsey wrote a blog post called “we *heart* books” and included photos of the many, many books around her house. Well, we *heart* books too so I thought I should do a similar post ;)

It’s a very picture heavy post so people on slow/expensive-per-MB connections may want to skip it! People who like perusing other people’s bookshelves though should probably settle in for a long session (all the pics, except for that first one, can be expanded if you want to nose properly ;) )

(And probably much to the annoyance of my mum, I didn’t tidy or dust at all before taking these pictures ;) )

So let’s start in the dining room. One of the first jobs we did when we moved in was have the above fitted shelves installed either side of the fireplace. They’re one of my favourite things about the house (and they do match, even if they don’t look like they do in the above pic!).

Bottom: random oversized books and graphic novels/comics. Top: some of my fiction, grouped by genre, author or publisher. (I love the colours of the TC Boyle ones!)

Bottom: more novels – the Coupland collection (yes, I have six copies of Microserfs…), Palahniuk, and misc. Above that, misc non-fiction (mostly John’s).

More misc non-fiction, both of ours, and some empty space – gasp!

The other alcove is divided into two as one part is behind a door. Simple living type books, history non-fiction and misc (mostly mine).

Above that, mostly sociology (typically mine), philosophy, politics and hippy Buddhist stuff (mostly John’s).

On the other side, lots and lots of SF – science & speculative fiction, with some wilderness-living books at the bottom (mine). The lowest SF shelf is mostly Wyndham, and they get trashier as they go up ;)

See what I mean? ;)

In the dining room, there was also a small pile of books on the table – two library, two not library:

In the living room, there was a similar pile of some library, some not — we don’t really have any shelves in there though so that’s it for the living room.

Up to the bedroom, we both have sizeable piles on our bedside tables. Mine:

And John’s. (He’d hidden the bigger pile in a drawer rather than putting them away properly, the pesk ;) )

In the bedroom, we’ve got a whole wall of bookshelves — pretty much all the shelf space the last people had. As we’ve got the dining room space, it’s not as full as it might have been – lots of room for expansion ;) I didn’t take a picture of the whole wall as it would have shown what a mess our bedroom is (with all the bathroom stuff still in there) and it might have made my mum cry. The bedroom shelves are pretty much all fiction of one sort or another, and not really organised at all:

(The eagle-eyed will notice that there is a World of Warcraft players guide in with the travel books – a coincidental placing when we unpacked but we liked the idea so left it there ;) )

The turn of the landing is a small room in its own right – the last people had it as a mini office and we’re going to have it as a quite reading space when we get around to thinking about that. At the moment, it’s home to techie books and some of my old uni books.

I’ve got a couple of boxes of old uni books on the top floor (our spare room) still to unpack too.

Running back downstairs, we’ve got a box of cook books in the kitchen. (It lives under our root veg wire tray in the pantry, hence all the onion skins.)

And finally, I’ve got a stash of books in my office desk drawer – which shows what I’m thinking about when I should be working ;)

Looking at it like that, we do have quite a few books! I’d say more than half are from charity shops/second hand but still…

I’m like Lynsey – I don’t see having a house full of books as a problem but know that some people (hi mum!) disagree. I am trying to slow the expansion though and try to get rid of one book for every two books brought in. The amount of books we buy has certainly slowed over the last 18 months – we go charity shopping less and Borders closed down (our prime random browsing shops) so we tend to only buy things we really want to read. The trouble is we like lots of different subject areas!

Are you a bookaholic too?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Maria

    Mmmm, books, so many books! I don’t have as many as you, as I have only recently had space to expand (after years of having to restrain myself while living in shared houses), but I like the idea of a house with books everywhere :o)

    PS I’ve acquired Joy Larkom’s ‘Grow your own vegetables’ recently, at the suggestion of the people at Real Seeds, who I got my seeds off – and love it! It’s like a perfectly clear and concise vegetable encyclopaedia.

  2. Albedo

    Yes, I love reading, and real books are much better than virtual ones. However, to save on clutter, BH & I regularly sort our books out and get rid of them to interested parties, charity shops and the like. We’re probably down to under 300 now having got rid of an even greater number in the last 3 years or so.
    I tend to read anything up to 5 books a week from the library as well as a couple of monthly magazines I have on subscription plus whatever I fancy on the Kindle (which doesn’t have much on it yet) – and of course I read plenty of blogs.
    How on earth do I find time for anything else I wonder? Perhaps I’m just a fast reader…

  3. Aurora

    Ooh, your brave. Letting people look at your books is like letting them look into your soul :) . We have scaled down our book shelf by about half this year, mostly getting rid of fiction books. No doubt I will fill the space up again quickly enough.I don’t actually have a book shelf at the moment, so they are all stacked up in various corners of the house.

    I am most jealous of Fred – is he one of the ones that comes apart into lots of separate kitchen utensils? I had many hours of fun trying to figure that one out as a kid.

  4. Lynsey aka Swirlyarts

    Mmmmmmmmmmmm Books!!!!!! Just out of interest what graphic novels do you read? We have some Buffy ones (sad I know) and I really like them.

  5. Lizzie

    Perfect house, I cant fault it in any way! Just beautiful

  6. Cherie

    My hubbie always asks me if I really need another book and why can’t I get it out of the library, but I say I have to own the book. I like to reread some and lend them to friends so they can share the fun!I will never tire of the smell and feel and delight of a new book.

  7. bookstorebabe

    Heh, with a user name like mine? Books everywhere, mine, his, and kiddos. And although there’s a fair amount of overlap, we do read different things. I could match your pictures easy! I’m trying to get rid of 2 books for each one brought in-it isn’t easy!

  8. Su

    I had a mass clearout of books earlier this year, I was ruthless! I realised that I needed to be when I found a book entitled ‘How to cut your car use’, a very good, worthy book, but I got rid of my car 5 years ago! So I don’t think I could cut my car use much more.
    I sent masses of books to charity, mostly novels, that I would never read again. I now try to use the library, but that is not without its pitfalls, as I’ve bought several books that I got out on loan, but NEEDED at home!
    I usually have a least half a dozen books on the side of the bed that I don’t sleep in, when partner stays I have to move them! How unconsiderate.
    I do still have a fairly large book collection, especially for the size of my house, but at least it’s now manageable.

  9. Laura

    This makes me wish I still had my books!

  10. kaye

    At last someone who has a house like mine !!! i thought i was the only person who didnt live in a beige palace without books…but somethings missing a picture of the reading material in the loo, this should be really strange ,ours is a pile of scootering magazines , whatever short stories im currently consuming and i recently added The Book Of Mormon just to see who we got funny looks off

  11. louisa

    Hi guys, loving all the book love :)

    Maria – I got the Larkom book as a present a few years ago and found it a bit dense compared to the picture-tastic Hessayon (the red one in the office pic) – but then picked the Larkom up again this year and have appreciated the extra depth. I heart Real Seeds too :)

    Albedo – I actually read less now that I don’t work out of the home full time — I used to get through three or four books a week on public transport/lunchtimes alone :) How do you find the experience of reading on the Kindle compares to real proper books?

    Aurora – hehe, I did worry about the soul thing especially as we have an awful lot of trashy books up there ;)

    No, my Fred is a flour shaker underneath his hat not a utensil Fred – I’ve never used him for that though, he’s always been a guardian of the bookshelves :)

    Lynsey – John used to like superhero comics but they’ve never really appealed to me. I like slice of life graphic novels (eg, the semi/autobiographical stuff by Liz Prince, Jeffrey Brown, Chester Brown & Ed Brubaker). We recently borrowed Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson from the library and loved it – excellently drawn characters in both senses of the phrase. John’s got a lot of the Transmetropolitan books, which are dark but he rates highly.

    Lizzie – thanks :)

    Cherie – oh they do smell good new, don’t they? I do try to borrow stuff from the library and pick up stuff second hand when possible but I *need* to re-read some of them so often it makes more sense to buy them than keep taking them out from the library.

    bookstorebabe – it’s so hard to part with them! Like you, I think I should be grateful that at least John and I do have a considerable overlap – if we liked completely different subjects, we’d need even more shelves around the place!

    Su – we got rid of a lot of books before we moved house but I suspect we weren’t quite ruthless enough :) Yes, not sure how you can cut down your car use further…! I do that with the library too but I figure at least I know I definitely want them now — there are a lot I’ve had from the library which I’ve rejected after a few pages, imagine if I’d spent £6 on them new…

    Laura – do you use an e-book reader or the library these days?

    kaye – hehe, no I didn’t miss out it – we just don’t have a loobrary these days as the bathroom is still a mid-decoration wasteland. Until we started on the bathroom though, there were a couple of Far Side collections in there, a book called something like “50 things you can do to change the world” (for inspiration – inspooiration?), some Saturday supplement magazines and a Media Lens essay John had printed out. We should probably add something weightier for those less fibre-tastic days :)

    • Albedo

      Hi Louisa, the Kindle experience is really quite book-like, but of course every ‘book’ weighs exactly the same – not much! Easy if you like to read in bed, and I do, but it needs a slightly better light than an ordinary page as the e-ink plus background is ever-so-slightly grey compared to a white paper page. Might be just my older eyes, they need more contrast the older I get as my glasses prescription hasn’t changed in forty years. Anyway, it will store hundreds (did I read 1500?) of books, so a lot of shelf space saved. The illustrations (if any) are all B&W and rather dull, so probably best for text-only stuff, and if a friend likes one of your books you can’t lend it to them. :-(
      It’s early days for us, though, as only a handful of books on it yet compared to the hundreds of normal ones around the house. Roll on the day when the local library ‘lends’ you an e-book!

  12. Carl Craven

    Love the blog, love the lifestyle love books. I probably have twice the amount of books you own, and that is about a quarter of what I used to own as I migrated countries and had to give a lot away.

    I have flirted with growing more and have always lived a frugal life, but it’s tough when only one in a couple has that way of thinking.

    I did however pick up one book that started my self suffiency rush. The NEW complete book of Self Suffieciency by John Seymour, Alas no longer with us. It’s packed with goodies such as how to raise pigs how to make raised beds how to make jam beer wine soup grow vegetables, even how to make a toilet. Of course it’s not the definitive word and any of those subjects but it’s a great starting point for further research.

    I admire your lifestyle approach. We just need to convince another billion people and we might just save the planet.

    • louisa

      Hi Carl, I’ve got that Seymour book and do very much like it. (And not just because he’s randomly topless in the illustrations…!) I agree it’s only a starting point (and almost inaccurately/meaninglessly general in some areas) but I like reading it because it makes all those things feel possible now.

  13. 5olly

    you should have a look at http://www.readitswapit.co.uk. it’s a great way to trade unwanted books for ones you actually want. I’ve done about 200 swaps in the last 2 years or so and probably only had to buy about 10 new ones! well worth a look.


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