Posts Tagged ‘annotated bookshelves’

Next Shelf

September 26, 2008 @ 8:35 am | Filed under:

The kids will be awake soon, so I won’t have time to do a whole shelf, but Scott (of all people! he sees these shelves every day) has been clamoring for another bookshelf post, so here goes.

Same bookcase, third shelf down:

My Charlotte Mason series: her six books, shelved here for easy access. I return to these over and over again.

A boxed set of Edward Eager novels: Half Magic, Knight’s Castle, Magic by the Lake, The Time Garden.

Not that I can actually see any of the above right now, since Scott has a bunch of music CDs stacked in front of them. But I know they’re there.

Then comes one of the several Lord of the Rings sets we own. Scott and I both brought copies into the marriage, but I think this set is much newer, a Christmas gift to one of the girls a couple of years ago.

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott.

And then my favorite Alcott, Little Men.

Mystery Train by Greil Marcus, “generally considered the first truly scholarly exploration of rock and roll, its history, its importance, and its uniquely American properties,” says my husband. I haven’t read this one, can you tell?

A biography of Richard Wagner by Robert W. Gutman. Scott’s read it, I haven’t.

Elvissey by Jack Womack. Has a library sticker on the spine so must be something Scott picked up on the discard pile. He reads a lot about music, as you can see.

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda, the first book in a favorite series of my girls.

The Brownie and the Princess, a collection of stories by Louisa May Alcott. I’ve not read it yet. Jane enjoyed it. She says a couple of the stories are set during the Revolutionary War. The title story, she says, is very sweet.

Exile on Main Street and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, two books in a series called 33 1/3, which is a collection of small books, each by a different author and about a single record album. Scott has really been enjoying these lately. I’m seeing them all over the house.

Latin for Children DVDs.

And then a sideways stack of craft and home arts books:

Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Festivals, Family, and Food

Crafts Through the Year by Thomas and Petra Berger.

Knitted Animals

Magical Window Stars

The Nature Corner

Rose Windows

Of the craft books, Rose Windows and Magical Window Stars are the ones we’ve used the most. We made a ton of the stars last year for Advent decorations. As I mentioned in the comments below (I am adding this later), these days I am more likely to turn to the internet than to books for seasonal and liturgical craft and recipe ideas.

I’ll try to come back later and add authors and Goodreads links and maybe some commentary to these titles, but morning has broken* and I need to get a move on.

*Whoops, glanced at this hours later and see that I never hit ‘publish.’

The Next Shelf Down

September 23, 2008 @ 7:33 pm | Filed under: ,

This is another easy one, a kind of warm-up for the overloaded shelves to come. As I mentioned yesterday, I am short, so I tend not to crowd too much onto the higher shelves. So here again, one of the living-room bookcases, second shelf from the top.

First we have a stack of books lying flat on their sides. Working from the bottom up:

Our nice big family Bible, a beautiful wedding gift from one of Scott’s cousins.

The Mary Frances Housekeeper in hardcover. Why is that way up there where no child can possibly see it, much less use it to learn to keep house? Must remedy this.

Uh-oh, an overdue sign language instructional DVD from the Deaf Missions Video Library. Must get that packaged up for tomorrow’s post-office run.

Next to this stack, filling the remaining two thirds of the shelf:

A bunch of Math-U-See DVDs.

Our Maud Hart Lovelace collection, or most of it anyway. When the Betsy-Tacy books began to go out of print, sob, I rounded up our copies and shelved them here, up high, on purpose, to ensure that they will not be lost or scattered. This explains why the children’s bathroom stepstool is very often on the floor in front of this bookcase. These are some of our most beloved books, and it seems someone around here is nearly always in the middle of one of them. What’s on the shelf right now:


Betsy-Tacy and Tib

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill

Winona’s Pony Cart

Heaven to Betsy

Betsy in Spite of Herself

Betsy and Joe

Betsy and the Great World

Betsy’s Wedding

Emily of Deep Valley (my favorite; I posted about it here)

Carney’s House Party

Winona’s Pony Cart (yes, a second copy, this one in hardcover—my editor at Harper knew what a fangirl I am and sent me some extra copies she had lying around)

(So it looks like Betsy Was a Junior is in circulation somewhere.)

The first four are the “young Betsy” books—she starts out five years old and is, I think, about ten in the fourth book. (Isn’t Big Hill the one where they sing “O Betsy’s ten tomorrow and then all of us are ten! We will all be ten tomorrow; we will all be ladies then…” to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic?) The Winona book belongs in that time frame; the girls are around eight years old, I think; but it’s a stand-alone story and I like it better after Big Hill.)

Then come the four high-school books, which are a deep delight, and then Great World and Betsy’s Wedding. The books about Carney and Emily come before Betsy’s wedding in the Deep Valley chronology, but they were written later and once again I think it’s best not to break up the flow of Betsy’s own narrative. Carney is a fun treat afterward (especially the brief glimpse of her college life), because you get to go back in time a few years and see a summer of the gang’s life that wasn’t portrayed in detail in Betsy’s books, and then, well, there’s Emily of Deep Valley to put a soul-satisfying coda on the whole series.

Back to the shelf. Next to the Lovelace treasures there are some DVDs. Chris Rock, Monty Python collection, two Bruce Springsteen concerts (detect a trend?), The Office, Bob Newhart, Schoolhouse Rock. So that’s where Schoolhouse Rock is. I was looking for it.

That’s it for shelf #2. And now I’m in the mood to go read some Betsy-Tacy.

One Shelf at a Time

September 22, 2008 @ 3:37 pm | Filed under:

In the comments of this post, Patience mentioned that she’d like to know what books were on the shelf behind Her Majesty. I have often thought it would be fun to do a whole series of posts that went shelf by shelf through the house, talking about the books on each one. Of course, an awful lot of migrating goes on, so that what’s on certain shelves in high-traffic areas of the house changes day by day.

Still, it strikes me as a fun (long-term) project. One of my favorite things about visiting a friend’s house is getting to explore her shelves. I don’t think you really know a person until you know her taste in books, do you?

I’m sitting on the living-room couch right now. There are three bookcases in this room (two big and one small), plus two more in the adjoining dining area. And a stack on the piano, but those are not supposed to be there. :::glares sternly at husband:::

Beyond the piano is the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. There are three more bookcases lining the wall there, making for a somewhat narrow squeeze when you need to take the vacuum cleaner out of the hall closet, opposite the bookshelves. There really isn’t any spare wall space at all in this house: we’ve got bookcases crammed everywhere one will fit, and sometimes where they don’t fit.

So this “one shelf at a time” project could take me a while.

But it’ll be fun. (And maybe I’ll finally get my Library Thing catalog finished while I’m at it.)

I’ll start at the top: there are seven shelves on the tall bookcase directly opposite me. The top one is easiest to catalog because only half of its contents are books. The rest of the shelf is taken up by cloth cases full of Signing Time DVDs, some Bruce Springsteen concert DVDs, and our Star Trek and Star Wars DVD collections. Important stuff, is what I’m saying. Also a funny little statue of a mandolin player (well, it looks like a mandolin, at least, but I bet it’s called something else) from Thailand, a gift from our world-traveling friend Keri; a bowl of rosaries; and Scott’s electric guitar tuner, which I stick up on that shelf because I am too short to see it lying there, so it’s handy for him but I don’t get grumpy about clutter. I suppose there are advantages to having a short wife.

Anyway, the books on that shelf:

The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, because you never know when you might need a dose of Eliot or Auden, and also because that was the textbook for one of Scott’s very best college courses, and I know firsthand how great it was because I sat in on it a few times even though I had graduated the previous spring. It was taught by the great Dr. Susan J. Hanna, whose booming voice and infectious enthusiasm for poetry made her one of our favorite professors ever. As a matter of fact, Rilla’s (real, not blog) middle name is Susanna in her honor. (Sue Hanna, get it?)

Home Comforts, the giant tome that compiles everything anybody ever needed to know about the practical art of housekeeping. This was a housewarming present from my friend Elizabeth when we moved to Virginia seven years ago. It taught me how to fold a fitted sheet nicely, which is a grand thing.

A threadbare copy of That’s Good, That’s Bad, a picture book by Joan M. Lexau, illustrated by Aliki. Long since out of print (it was published in 1963), this was Scott’s favorite book as a little boy. We keep it on this high shelf because it’s too rickety to stand up to everyday use and must be saved for special daddy-read-aloud occasions. It’s a charming little formula story: Tiger happens upon exhausted Boy slumped on a rock in the jungle. Tiger is puzzled because Boy does not spring up and run away. “I have no more run in me,” says Boy—a phrase which has become an integral part of our family lexicon, as in: “I should really put that laundry away, but I have no more run in me.” “That’s bad,” says Tiger, and so the back and forth begins. Boy recounts a tale of narrow escapes (“That’s good!”) and harrowing dangers (“That’s bad!) as he finds himself scrambling to stay a step ahead of a very cranky Rhino. And now he’s too tuckered out to run away from Tiger, who plans to eat him. That’s bad. Very, very bad. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it’s Good.

A fancy leatherbound edition of Douglas Adams’s The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide: Five Complete Novels and One Story, which I believe was a graduation present to Scott from a brother and sister-in-law. It is a thing of beauty.

And finally, the rest of the shelf is taken up by a boxed set of four mammoth leatherbound volumes: collections of the work of Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Dickens (not his complete works, of course—that would take up the whole shelf), and The Complete Sherlock Holmes. That is, there’s a hole where the Holmes is supposed to go. Jane laid claim to Mr. Holmes two years ago and the book hasn’t been back in the box since.

So that was the easy shelf. Only eight books. It’s when I get to the picture book shelves that this becomes challenging. And I’m not even going to attempt the shelves full of comic books in the garage. Too skinny: too many.