Today’s guest post comes from Rory at Fourth Street Review. I was randomly paired up with her for the Book Blogger Holiday Card Swap last year and have loved reading her blog ever since.
Julie is going on vacation and asked if I’d be willing to do a “personal library” guest post on her blog – to which I said yes, of course, I’d be happy to. Those of you who have gotten to know me (for better or for worse) know that not only am I verbose on my own blog, I also suffer from the tendency to leave long comments on other blogs as well – sorry about that. This is my way of saying that I’ll try to keep this reasonable, but let’s not expect miracles.
If you had asked me when I was 14 what I thought my most useful class was in school, I can assure you I would not have answered woodshop. I attended school in a district that believed students needed to be well-rounded. Not only was it required that students take French, Latin, and Spanish, it was also required that students take woodshop and home economics. Nearly 15 years later I still can’t sew a dress or cook a steak to save my life, but I am quite handy with a saw, a measuring tape, and a nail gun. I can also paint, strip wallpaper, and refinish furniture with the best of them. I’m just happy I live in a time where doing it yourself is considered completely reasonable (if not trendy – I should live it up, it might be the only time in my life when I’m actually on trend).
To give you a brief run down: This is the second house I’ve renovated. I bought it in October 2010 and it is very much still a work in progress. The home was built in 1965 and included all the highlights of that gaudy era (gold faucets, sparkly shower doors, and fabulous wallpaper). The great thing about the internet is that I don’t have to show you anything I don’t want you to see (which includes a basement straight out of Trainspotting).
For my guest post I thought I’d share some before, during, and after pictures with you. We all love a good before and after, right? Right. And I can’t be the only one curious about personal bookshelves. To be honest, I find owning physical copies to be very satisfying, though I don’t mind reading on my kindle or iPad. I think one of the easiest and most insightful ways to learn about people is to look at their libraries. So, after viewing my photos, speculate away. I saw a ‘game/challenge’ on twitter recently where you were supposed to guess gender based on the contents of a person’s library. I’m not sure that’s possible and I find my collection to be gender neutral (save all the Austen). However, my décor, despite the masculine colors, clearly says ‘girl’. I think it’s the throw pillows. Full disclosure: like any reasonable person I cleaned up my shelves and put away anything embarrassing before taking photos.
1. Before: Bedroom. Behind the charming floorboards that were both glued and nailed to the wall lived an infestation of spiders. That did not go over well with me. The first time I turned down my bed to discover spiders in my sheets I absolutely lost it. I also love when people leave photos on their walls for so long that there’s an outline.
2. During: It took me almost a full month to rip down the flooring and repair the extensive damage to the drywall. By me, I mean me AND a contractor. ‘Twas dusty.
3. Before/During: Just in case I needed an extra sink (already removed in photo) in my room. Although not seen, there is a sink two feet to the left in the bathroom – where I like my sinks. Also, do you know how hard it is to get plumbers take women seriously and not treat them like morons? Further illustrating this is a work in progress; I’m still stuck with those ugly, globe lights…
4. After: Nearly all of my blogging (and a large portion of my reading) is done from my bed. I even have one of those laptop stands for comfort. About half of my personal library is kept in my bedroom as well.
5. After: A (hand built) window seat is infinitely preferable to the hideous walls and superfluous sink. Yes, that’s a Bob Dylan print. Are you surprised? Thought not. And bookshelves are beautiful.
6. Before and During: I forgot to take a true before picture, which included wallpaper (already stripped here) on the ceiling, unprimed wood paneling, and shag carpeting.
7. After: Library right side.
8. After: Library left side, a vast improvement. Of course, I would think that. Of note, I took the two library photos months apart – mostly due to laziness (I wasn’t retaking any photos I didn’t have to), different books have relocated during that time frame – so a few book appear to be in multiple locations. A few I just have multiple copies of as I’m never quite sure what to do with ARC’s…
9. Stephen King. Not surprising.
10. More Stephen King/Richard Bachman and his sons. I recently discussed with another blogger (Kate, specifically) how my shelves have slowly evolved to having sections of books recommend by other people. Because Kate’s one of my most trusted book advisers, she has the largest section. A few others may be able to spot theirs as well. This has been a lovely side effect of blogging.
11. I even own books I don’t care for (i.e. Gone Girl). And I adore Elmore Leonard and Justified.
12. That charming sculpture was made by my brother. It was a Christmas gift. There are quite a few classics and some favorites in this set.
So there you have it, the evolution of a personal library and a few of the books I believe are worth owning (some were gifts, which I always keep as well). Questions, comments, concerns…? Obviously, I am fond of white and grey. And thanks to Julie for asking me to share images of my personal library. I suspect she got a bit more than she bargained for.