We’re getting to a point now where there aren’t a lot of nice neat and tidy shelves for me to show you before we get to what I think of as the Chaos Shelves. But then as I’ve been promising all year that I’m planning to reorganise some of the shelves and show you the results, then at least you’ll have seen the before and after when it happens. Anyway, I don’t imagine that this shelf will change much in any reorganisation. This is the bookshelf in the back spare bedroom. This has mostly been my office over the last nearly two years, but it’s also where any young people who might stay with us would sleep, so it made sense to use the shelves in there (left by the previous owners, who used it as their kids bedroom) for books suitable for any young people who might stay, and it also tends to be where the graphic novel end of my book collection ends up. And there are quite a few familiar books on here – recent BotW Piglettes, Bloodlust and Bonnet and The Unforgettable Guinevere St Clair and less recent BotWs The Good Thieves, Carry On and Pumpkinheads. There’s also various series that have come up at various points – like the Wells and Wong books that I own in paperback, the Lumberjanes and Fence graphic novels and the Tiffany Aching novels from the Discworld series. It’s starting to look a little full, but I’m not sure there’s anything here that I’m prepared to get rid of, so when it gets full it’s likely to be a case of moving stuff to other places rather than a rationalisation situation…
So. As you can probably tell, this is the shelf that has some of Him Indoors’ books on it. Apparently I can’t have all the bookshelves to myself, so I gave him a section of one of the downstairs bookshelves, which I personally thought was very nice of me – it means he can keep his books handy like I keep my favourites handy, even though what I don’t know that he actually rereads them! To be fair I’ve read the Bill Bryson, some of the Guy Martin, the Ben MacIntyre and the Ian Fleming’s Commandos. And at this point I can’t remember if Blitzed was originally mine or his, but we have both read it! Of the definitely mine there’s the Noirville Anthology that I helped judge, and The Color Purple was one of my A Level books – although this isn’t my copy from back then, it’s one I have acquired since. Then I’ve written about a lot of the others too – The Riviera Set, Kick, Queen Bees and Frannie Langton.
Like a lot of the shelves, this is probably due for a tidy and a reorganise, but when I will get around to that is anyone’s guess!
I mean this does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – although I hadn’t quite realised that that was what I had created until I started looking at it for this post. The Angela Thirkells I have already written about – and I’m still annoyed that the spines don’t all match, even if the covers do – and the Nancy Spains have had more than one mention too as Death Goes on Skis was a Book of the Week, Cinderella goes to the morgue was in last week’s recommendsday and Poison for Teacher was in the boarding schools post. There’s a little collection of plays at the far end, and then it’s what you could loosely term my A Level reading favourites. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was on my A Level summer reading list in the summer of sixth form and I thought it was so brilliant that I went out and brought all the other volumes – and carried on buying Maya Angelou’s new stuff as it came out. And then I also studied First World War Literature and read the whole extended reading list of novels – and these are the bits I kept because they spoke to me the most. Except that I’ve lost my copy of Goodbye to All That in one of my moves and I’m refusing to replace it until I find the edition I used to have or a prettier one. I can’t help myself like that. The only other things on there are Diary of a Provincial Lady and Frost in May, both of which are going to get bumped if many more Thirkells or Nancy Spains appear! It’s a classy shelf of excellent books that I don’t feel like I have to justify if people spot them. And yes, I know, I shouldn’t feel that I have to justify my reading but sometimes people make you feel like you do.
I struggled with what to call this shelf because, well, there’s no obvious theme. It’s mostly historical – fiction and non fiction – but with a sprinkling of romance, a couple of essay collections, some non fiction and translated fiction. But there’s a lot here that I have written about before. My love of Laurie Graham is well known – here you see one of my (three) copies of Gone with the Windsors, plus the rest of my hard copies of her books. I cannot tell you how much it annoys me that they’re many different sizes and formats. There’s a gaggle of previous BotWs too – Love Lettering, Evvie Drake Starts Over, and then stuff I’ve mentioned in other posts like The Editor, Flappers and the 1920s/Bright Young Things collection.
In the next reorganisation – whenever that happens – I suspect I’ll try and create a non fiction shelf somewhere and get the Laurie Graham’s onto a shelf with fiction. The trouble there is that large old hardback of Grand Duchess of Nowhere, which limits the options for them somewhat…
Say hello to the Peter Wimsey collection and its current shelf mates. Fun fact: the Margery Allingham*, Gladys Mitchell and Edmund Crispin books used to live on this shelf too, but they got bumped down to the Ngaio Marsh shelf when the British Library crime classics collection got too big – the gap is because there are a couple of books out on loan – BLCCs with my dad and Miss Buncle’s Book with my sister. But as you can see we’re getting tight for space again – especially as I’m getting a new Persephone Book a month at the moment from Little Sis – so this is going to be in need of another reorganisation soon. I can already feel that it’s going to be complicated – it’s one of the narrower shelves in the book case so it looks nicer with shorter books, but I also like to keep similar books together and I’m getting to a point where that’s going to be tricky. Yes, deeply first world problems. I know. Wish me luck. I’ll show you a picture when it’s done…
* Margery Allingham may make an appearance in one of the Nicola Upson Josephine Tey books…
This is another corner that is prime for reorganisation because it’s a bit fragmented and could be split up. You can see the edge of the fancy Pratchetts here – with my very old copy of Sourcery – and next along from that are the Virago hardbacks which will soon need more space because of those IWD sale purchases that I haven’t read yet. And so when it does this is likely to be where the space comes from.
I’m trying to get a corner of Hollywood and acting books and memoirs together and you can see the start of that here with the Antony Sher, Anne Helen Petersen, Helen O’Hara and Trumbo. I have more actor memoirs waiting to be read (or in the process of being read in the case of the Harvey Fierstein) so this will need some more space. Where that space comes from I don’t know. The bottom shelf of this bookcase (along from the fancy hardback pile) is a bit of a mishmash of non series Girls Own books, not all of which I’m sure I want to keep, so it may be that I relocate them to somewhere else, maybe sell some of them and use that space to make it the hardback collection – with the fiction ones from the other week and the non fictions. Of course then you have the issue around separating authors where I have mixed hardbacks and paperbacks but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
Anyway, also on this shelf are the Kate Andersen Browers – which I’ve mentioned before in various posts – and I’m fairly sure I also have The Residence somewhere, so I probably need to check on that and keep them all together. My suspicion is that one of them got loaned out at some point and they got split up in that shuffle. Taking of books on loan, this is where my copy of Tom and Lorenzo’s Legendary Children should be (who did I lend that to? I must track it down!) and that’s why Fabulousa is here. The History of Drag is on the shelf below with the Art/coffee table books so it’s similar proximity if not together-together. The Anne de Courcy is the one that seems to not belong here – but again that’s here because Chanel’s Riviera used to be here before it got loaned out – and while it was gone the space got used up and that got filed under the fancy hardback shelf.
Loaning books out and then using their shelf space for other things is a common problem here – currently sitting in front of this cabinet are Vanderbilt and Dead Famous which have just returned from my parents and which should been in this bookcase, if only there was room for them…
This is the current fancy hardback pile in the corner of the fancy bookshelf. This is the bottom right of the shelves, top left is the Virago shelf and next to that are the Fancy Pratchetts. I mean I know I’ve had Bookshelfies featuring a lot of previous books of the week before, but this might be a new record for books I have previously written about! I think the only book on here I haven’t written about already is Theatre for Dreamers, and I’m not 100 percent sure that that one is a keeper tbh. But it’s here until I find a hardback that I want to replace it with – at which point it moves to the lower shelves in the back room until I do the next cull, at which point it will be reevaluated!
Anyway, there is no rhyme or reason to this pile – it’s just hardbacks that I have liked and which don’t fit in with any of the other collections of that makes sense. So we have Rodham, which was my first hardback Sittenfeld, the two Jasper Ffordes which are here because they don’t match the crime ones and The Starless Sea because I don’t really have a hardback fantasy and magical realism shelf. Then there are The Girls and the Vanishing Half because I don’t have a lot of literary fiction hardbacks and the Katie Racculia because I didn’t know where else to put it. The Andrew Lownie and the Anne de Courcy are here because I don’t have space on the history book shelf and so I need to have a reorganise, but I just haven’t yet. So basically this is a bit odds and endsy at the moment – but I fully intend to fix this at the next clearout. When that is going to be, I am not currently able to say!
Why is this post called Downstairs Pratchetts? Because the Tiffany Aching books live upstairs with the middle grade books so that’s the upstairs Pratchetts. And why aren’t there more of them? Well when I first read them I was a teenager, so there is the family set at my parents’ house. I’ve done most of my rereads via audiobook or ebook, so this is just the start of what I’m hoping will be a selection of my favourites in delightful hardback form. Because these really are very pretty.
And why did I pick this shelf today? Well it’s seven years today since Sir Terry died so it seemed fitting. I wrote at the time about how much he and his books meant to me. And I wrote again when I read the last book. So here’s another excuse to talk Sir Terry and his wonderful worlds. My first books in this collection are the ones that I revisit the most. And as we know I like sets and they’ve helpfully broken the Discworld down into strands, I’ll probably get the rest of the ones that are in these sets. Although there are some new paperbacks coming too. And a fresh set of audiobooks with new narrators, which I’m quite excited about because although I love Stephen Briggs he hasn’t done all of them and I don’t like the Nigel Planer version. I know. I’m sorry.
Anyway GNU Terry Pratchett.
In the last Bookshelfie post we were in the front of the house, with books in my fanciest set of shelves. Today, we’re at the back of the house and a much more crammed full shelf, where you will spot some old friends of mine – including a stack you may recognise from yesterday’s Series I Love post! And you can also see a couple of problems I have here too. Last time out, I mentioned my shelving issues with the Viragos, well here we have the shelving issue with the Gail Carriger. No, I don’t know why my Heartless is a different size to the rest of the set. Yes, I do know why the Custard Protocol changed size – the publishing deal changed and they have a different cover model to the US version as well as the difference in sizes.
Then there is the historical romance collection. And the eagle eyed will spot that I have a UK edition of Brazen and the Beast and a US one. The UK one is because I wanted Sarah MacLean to sign it when I went to her tea party. The US one is because I couldn’t bear the non matching set. Behind the front row of Sarah Macleans are the Eloisa James’s – mostly in US mass markets, but a few in UK paperback. Also hiding in the back row are my Julia Quinn books – which are a mix of my favourite Bridgertons and then a selection from the Bevelstoke and Smythe-Smith series.
Also hidden in the back row are a couple of old favourites – there are three Melissa Nathan novels (how is it fifteen years since she died?) and my favourite Sarah Mason Playing James (I hope she’s still writing somewhere out there under a different name that I don’t know about), an aged Carole Matthews, Welcome to the Real World which is both the first book of hers I read and still my enduring favourite – it’s about an aspiring singer who gets her big break on a tv singing competition the same week she lands a job as PA to an opera singer who, unbeknown to her is the newest judge on the very talent show she’s about to be a contestant on. To the far sides of the front we have crime – historical crime on the left with Frances Brody and cozy crime on the right with Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery series (as discussed yesterday). Further back are some of her library lovers books as well as some odds and ends of other cozy crime series. And finally, there’s also the baseball I caught at Nationals Park when I was in D.C. – although I still deny that I elbowed anyone out of the way to get to it though and credit my success to catching practice with my dad back in primary school cricket days!
It’s not the most obvious of stuff to put on a shelf together at first glance, but I promise there is reason there: it’s favourite authors and books at my eyeline in fairly logical order. They’re all books that I might want to lay my hands on in a hurry for a reread. Case in point I took the photo for this post after I’d already written half of the post and wrote the whole thing on the sofa, only going to the shelf right at the end to check that it was the Nathan, Matthews and Mason in the back row – the only book I had forgotten was there was Bridget Jones! I definitely can’t claim the same level of familiarity with the other shelves in this bookcase. But that’s a story for another day…