Bookstr Shares Their Bookshelves

Do you also like looking at pictures of other people’s shelves trying to discern their reading taste or trying to spot your favorite books on them? Or is that just us?

Because we know you love doing this totally normal thing, a couple of people on the Bookstr team have shared pictures of their bookshelves and reading nooks, and answered some questions related to their contents.

 

Anna Borisova 

What book would you save from a fire?

Probably my grandma’s copy of translated Agatha Christie and that out-of-print copy of Haruhi Suzumiya I got as a thank-you from a library I volunteered at in high school. On a less sentimental note, let me just go full “basic business student” and say John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, as it’s an excellent account of the background to a fraud investigation that finance club was discussing every meeting.

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire? 

Well, I only physically buy the books I’m highly interested in, so this is hard. Although I struggled with Moby Dick, and it does look large enough to fuel quite a fire, so let’s go with that?

What is the prettiest book you own?

Can we include art books and comics here? If so, I would say the Tokyo Ghoul art book (biased as a series fan, but just look at Ishida’s improvement throughout it) and The Art of Prey (definitely an art book to buy if you like art deco). In the comics section, I would also say Snotgirl Vol 1 (I own the rest of the series digitally, and Leslie Hung is one of my favorite professional artists).  Outside those, I would say the early copy look of Sam J. Miller’s The Blade Between is neat in a minimalist way.

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

Can I admit to not finishing Les Miserables and Moby Dick here? I also might not have finished the classy Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn double-feature I was gifted and I feel bad to this day. Haven’t finished the Strugatskies collection either. Yes, I’m a cliche youngster, I’m aware.

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

One of my shelves is about 40% books, 60% video games. If we’re pulling from the tiny pool of literary video games, I’m just going to say Witcher 3 is my favorite.

What’s your organizational system? 

The closest I’ve gotten to one is clumping comics and art books together. But otherwise, it’s pure chaos. You also don’t want to know what my digital library looks like. At least my Libby borrows are organized in a last-read method!

 

Ashley Force

What book would you save from a fire?

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. It is a collection of myths from the Grishaverse that slightly resemble the fairytales we know but with slight dark twists. I love the rhetoric, the artwork, and it’s signed! … but I would also run back into the fire to grab The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book tells the story of America’s Great Migration through multiple true accounts. The stitching of stories makes it an incredibly thoughtful history of Race in America. I bought this book for a class so it has notes written throughout the pages that I would be devastated to lose. 

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire? 

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. it’s a classic, I know. I read it for class and didn’t really love it. I have it out of pure obligation for having some classics on my shelf as an English Literature graduate. I would never burn my classic Jane Austen or Little Women novels, they are much too important to me. 

What is the prettiest book you own?

This is a hard question for me because I live for aesthetics, therefore sometimes I buy books simply for how the cover looks. To narrow it down, books that are amazing on the outside and the inside, I would choose Circe by Madeline Miller and The Overstory by Richard Powers.

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

I might get shamed for this, but a lot of the books I have on the shelves are ones I still need to read. I put them on the shelf as a reminder to read them. The book that has been on my shelf the longest that I still haven’t read is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I have heard such good things and I bought it thrifting a few years back; I just haven’t been in the right headspace to read it since it is such a heartbreaking read. 

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

Besides the obvious cat and plant, I have a lot of hidden gems in my bookshelf. I have K-pop albums, a bowl I made, a Polaroid camera, some crystals, tarot cards, and a wand that chose me at Harry Potter world.

What’s your organizational system? 

Top shelf: favorite books, books I need to read

Middle shelf: poetry, lost generation novels, K-pop albums 

Bottom shelf: books I read for school,  favorite YA fantasy novels 

P.s. my cat’s name is Ginger :)

 

Camila Fagen

What book would you save from a fire?

My bookshelf is my pride and joy. I’ve been “working on it” for more than eight years now, and I would be devastated to lose any part of it. But if I were to save only one it would be, no question, my copy of Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi. It’s the last book of my absolute favorite series of all time, and while I have half of the series signed, that one is the only one I have with a dedication on it. I’ve been waiting for a chance to meet the author for years now and I hoped that 2020 would be my year, but because of Covid-19 basically all book tours were cancelled (but I still managed to place a special order to have it signed). Keep your fingers crossed for me so I can actually meet her one day.

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire? 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. It was one of those books I saw a bunch of booktubers and reviewers rave about, so I went ahead and bought it. But then I read it and oh my god I hated everything about it. The concept and the plot are really interesting, but the execution was terrible. I could not stand the writing and there were so many problematic things on the story that I could not get behind. The only reason it hasn’t burned at the stake is because I spent like $26 dollars on it and I’d hate to just throw that money away. Maybe someday I’ll find a better home for it.

What is the prettiest book you own?

I’m a sucker for a nice looking book so it’s hard to pick one, but I think probably my tiny edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales by the Grimm Brothers. It has golden sprayed edges, beautiful illustrations, and a little ribbon that serves as a bookmark, and the small size just makes it look cuter. Also, added sentimental value because of the Shakespeare and Co. Paris stamp on the inside.

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

Sooo many. But the one that has been there the longest is probably The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I meant to read it at some point but it just never happened. Maybe one day I will, but it’s really not a priority now so who knows.

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

I have a lot of random stuff lying there, especially on top, which is not pictured because it is a mess. But my favorite things on it are a little llama figurine a friend got me from one of her travels and my quartz collection which my friends have also contributed to.

What’s your organizational system? 

Because of the weird design of my shelf (which my mom build based off one she saw on the internet), I kind of just put books wherever they fit.I try to keep series and books by the same author on the same area, though. The top part is mostly Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and on the bottom I have literary fiction, historical fiction, thrillers, YA, art books, non-fiction, etc.

 

Chloe Sarrazin

What book would you save from a fire? 

Definitely my Warrior Cats books by Erin Hunter. This series was my pride and joy in middle school and to this day they bring back nostalgic memories of my friends and I creating our own clans and cat characters. These are the books that taught me how to write a compelling story (and to this day I occasionally catch myself using cat-like actions to describe my characters—AKA snarling, bristling, etc.)

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire?

Matched by Ally Condie. God, I hated this book! While I was very into dystopian novels at the time I read this, I hated the love triangle in the book. Xander was so perfect, yet the protagonist was only in love with Ky because her relationship with him was forbidden. The chemistry between them was lacking, leaving me rolling my eyes for a good 50% of the book.

What is the prettiest book you own?

I think I’m going to say Heartless by Marissa Meyer, simply because the bare book is beautifully checkered beneath the dust jacket. I love pretty dust jackets, but I tend to take them off while reading. I am a sucker for art on bare book covers, especially since it can be so rare to find books with it!

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. My copy is from my grandma, and has that nice, old book smell. My mom loved the book when she was younger and has been wanting me to read it since I was in middle school. I may have outgrown it by now, but I firmly believe the best stories can be enjoyed by people of any age, so I do intend to (eventually) pick this one up! (My TBR is an ever growing, long list though so who knows when I’ll get around to it!)

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

Fairy lights! They’ve been there since I put up the shelves in high school, though, so the batteries are long dead. As much as the lights give me cringy Tumblr-2012 vibes, I think they’re pretty! 

What’s your organizational system? 

I actually have three book areas. The shelves pictured are my “favorites”—the absolute best of the best, I-will-kill-you-if-you-damage-them books. These are always the first books I will recommend to people. The second book area (not pictured) is a bit of an overflowing mess of books, however, they’re loosely organized by genre. One cubby is for Sci-Fi Fantasy (this constitutes most of what I read), another is contemporary, and the last one is for my classics. The third book area is under my night table. This is where I keep my signed copies that aren’t on my favorites shelf. If you looked at my room, you might think my books were disorganized, but I swear there is a method to my madness!

 

 

Kali Norris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What book would you save from a fire?

Our Lady of the Ruins, by Traci Brimhall. Not only is it a work of genius, but it’s basically the only thing holding my life together. 

“No, the abyss isn’t infinite. A half-light lurks even there.” 

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire? 

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater. Not because it isn’t a fantastic book (it is), but I feel like it’s the right energy. 

What is the prettiest book you own? 

In a Dream You Saw a Way to Survive, by Clementine von Radics. The illustration is beautiful, and the embossing is shining and lovely. Plus it’s signed, and she was the sweetest person in the world when I saw her at Strand a few years ago. 

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

My worst book sin is never finishing The Return of the King. I read through the first two and most of the third when I was about fourteen, right after The Hobbit, but they were marching for so long, and I ran out of steam. Now I have to start from the beginning, and it’s daunting. I love Tolkien, though. I studied linguistics as well as writing, and can confirm the man was a genius. 

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

A bronze goddess. A rosewater candle I was gifted at a job interview. My great grandmother’s cut Czech glass dish. Growing things. 

What’s your organizational system? 

The TBR and things I’ve read are on different shelves. Then by genre: Fiction, graphic novels, poetry, nonfiction. Then alphabetically by author’s surname. Then by series or by book title. It’s a bit of a mess at the moment because I’m planning a move, but usually, the system is sacrosanct. 

 

Saoirse Hanley

What book would you save from a fire?

Dark Sun by Robert Muchamore. I always loved reading as a kid, but my mother came back from work (in a school) after World Book Day 2008, with a copy of this teeeeeny CHERUB novella, and once I had read that, I devoured the OG series, along with its prequel series. It was my first foray into the world of literary obsession, and when I met the author (during a signing at which I was by far the oldest person – and second in the queue) I was starstruck. As I got older, the CHERUB books were the first ones I would reach for if I was sick or woke up sweaty from a bad dream, so this little 100 pager kind of encapsulates that whole experience for me. 

(If you needed to) what book would you use to fuel a fire? 

Isla and the Happily Ever After. Okay, so I actually unashamedly LOVE Stephanie Perkin’s series. Anna and the French Kiss is so wonderfully… bad? I read the third installment on my first holiday without my family, right after school with some of my best friends. I used to read the cheesy lines out loud around the pool, and before we knew it I was reading the whole thing out loud. We would be sunning by the water, I’d give a reading. Getting ready for a party? I’d give a quick reading. I felt like a cheesy priest giving a sermon. It was great. And I have some fun memories attached to the book itself. But objectively, it’s kind of bad, and probably won’t warrant another reading from me. Even if I do live and breathe for that proposal in Paris. 

What is the prettiest book you own?

Oooh, I’d say my copy of Dante’s Inferno. It’s one of those stunning hardback copies that has an embossed cover. 

A book that has been on your shelf for a long time but haven’t read?

This one is embarrassing, given its size, and the fact that I once assigned it to a book club I helped run. Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I don’t even know why I haven’t read it. 

What’s something on your bookshelves that isn’t a book?

I don’t have this shelf up anymore because I redecorated my room, but I had two fabric owl Christmas tree decorations on one of the shelves for approximately 3 years, still in their packaging?

What’s your organizational system? 

I used to have boxes under my bed, and then 3 main shelves in my beloved ‘book nook’. 

The order was:

 Shelf #1 – Wonderful YA; Harry Potter, City of Bones, TFIOS, etc. 

 Shelf #2 – I called this one Yes I Did Study English in College. Featuring Norton Anthologies, classics, theoretical books on writing, etc. 

 Shelf #3 – Reeeeally random collection. Journals and thrifted books, interspersed with books I borrowed from friends and forgot to give back. Oops. 

 

Did you spot any of your favorite books? What do your bookshelves look like?

Featured image via books library