Back in early October blogging friend Miss Imogen Smith started a new tag, inviting her readers to share what's on their bookshelves. I've finally got round to showing you mine! Brace yourselves and please excuse some of the photos being slighty fuzzy - I've been having a few camera problems this week and this one wasn't my usual.
I think my book collection is getting near the six hundred mark now. Like many book collectors I didn't actually set out to collect them at all; I just love reading. As a child I owned only a few much-loved books, but used to borrow and devour six books from my local library each week. When I moved to Sheffield aged nine and joined a new library I couldn't believe I was only allowed to borrow three, and had to get more on my mum's ticket!
My book collection only started to really grow when I won a writing competition at the age of sixteen. Part of the prize was a £100 Waterstones voucher. That, followed by a growing fascination with literature gained while studying for a degree in English... and well, the collection just kept on growing...
Reading and writing have always been my 'things'. I love stories of all shapes and sizes and think this is reflected in the variety of genres I own. Everything from historical fiction to classics to children's books live on my shelves.
I'm not fussy about collecting certain editions, though the nicest editions I own have been birthday and Christmas gifts. I buy from second hand bookshops, Amazon, The Book People, charity shops, car boot sales and independent bookshops. Some books have been passed onto me by relatives.
I own a lot of fiction, but this is interspersed with non-fiction on all sorts of subjects, from social history to crafts, business to poetry. Although I hate the desperate term 'self-help books' I do own several and have always found them inspiring, especially because they allow me to look at life's problems and possible solutions from a different perspective. The only genre I own very little of is biographies - I'm not sure why but I'm irritated by the way celebrities start to churn them out around Christmas time!
As Anthony Powell said, 'books do a furnish a room' and I love how cosy mine make my living space look. I have two large bookcases - one in my sitting room and one in my office. They don't match, and I have plans to back at least one of them with vintage wallpaper at some stage.
These days my books have to live more or less in alphabetical order otherwise they'd be a mess. It's funny though, that even if I'm looking for a book and can't remember the author I can usually put my hand on it without thinking, which just shows how the colours and shapes of a book collection can settle in the subconscious so I know it better than I think. I don't think I've ever been in a bookshop and been unable to remember whether I already have a title - each book I own is treasured.
People tend to assume that I never get rid of a book, and though it's true that there are plenty of books I would like to keep forever, if I read a book and don't think I'll read it again I have no qualms about moving it on to a grateful new owner. I think books are for sharing and enjoying.
That said, I hope I've built a book collection that future generations of my family will love to explore, that I might inspire a young reader one day... and what a gift to pass on books are!
(And yes, they are hoovered regularly. It's a mammoth job each time!)
If you fancy taking part in the book tag please send a link to Imogen and me, and I hope you've enjoyed noseying around my collection.
Have a bookish Friday,