Wednesday, July 30th, 2014...9:47 pm

Book Shelf Stories

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Rooms filled with books feel the most like home to me. Many of my books are marked up, filled with sticky notes and marginal notes and underlined phrases. They tell the story of who I was and what I was thinking when I read it.

Ken finished the new shelves for our front room yesterday. He installed them and I started one of the only processes of organization that I love. I filled the shelves back up with books.

Some people organize books by color (that’s what Ken suggested), some by genre, some by author. I organize by the story they tell about me.

book shelf

I organize by Bread Loaf summer. The summers I spent studying and writing. The summer of the short story. The summer of poetry. The summer in the southwest. The summer of 19th century novels and philosophy. Those summers I spent on green mountains in Vermont, the stark mountains of Santa Fe, wandering the streets of Oxford, those summers are still so much a part of who I am. The books on my shelf remind me of that.

I first read Mrs. Dalloway during my last Bread Loaf summer.

I organize by what the books mean to me. The gifts friends have sent. The books I reference on days that the words stick and I want them to start flowing again. The books I read just for the sole pleasure of getting lost in stories.

I add photos and kid art and now all of the many many many kid books we own.

These shelves tell stories – the stories of the characters, yes – but also the story of me.

book shelves


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