My enjoyment of reading takes me to the internet quite often, but I simply cannot walk past a bookshop without ducking in for a quick scan of the shelves to see what is on offer. I rarely make a purchase (unless it is a specialised bookshop) because I have a technical taste that is not shared widely. However, this also means that sometimes a technical book, which may be hard to sell, is very much discounted and a bargain is to be had!
But I digress :-)
I believe that one can tell a lot about someone by scanning their bookshelves. Firstly, if there are no bookshelves, then reading is probably not something they enjoy! But assuming there are rows of books to peruse…
Do they enjoy fiction or non-fiction? Autobiographical stories about the life and times of many people are very popular. Some of these have a political slant, others focus on working in diverse and perhaps disadvantaged communities. Others are just stories about the life of, well, someone who wanted to write a book about themselves!
Does the bookshelf owner enjoy mystery adventure stories, or creepy tales of ghoulish suspense? Are there numerous books about adventure in far off lands, suggesting a desire to escape to another more exciting space? Popular magazines may feature perhaps; or lots of children’s books – favourites from way back? Big ‘coffee-table’ books filled with stunning photos which required the author to stand in mosquito infested waters for weeks before the perfect shot was obtained?
Romantic novels where hero meets heroine and they ride off into the sunset could provide light relief from the daily chores or a responsibility-laden reality. Art and craft, or woodworking books may indicate that the owner is creative and enjoys these activities.
Keen gardeners will almost certainly have a selection of ‘How to grow’ books, or ‘cultivating the perfect lawn’! Birdwatchers will have dog-eared identification references casually left under the binoculars for easy location and reference. And model train enthusiasts will have every copy of the magazine ‘Model trains’ from when it was first published!
Some bookshelves will be systematically sorted with novels together, books on archaeology in their own section and all the ‘Gardener’s Digest’ volumes lined up according to publication date. Less organised individuals may have everything higgledy-piggledy, but still be able to put their hands on a specific book without needing to search too far to find it!
My bookshelf certainly has many different types of books and shows a wide variety of tastes (thanks to contributions by the whole family). A whole section exists on drawing and painting, and another on cycling and travelling. Throw a few fictitious novels, children’s favourites and many books on plants and gardening into the mix as well.
Most books have been read at least once, many have been read numerous times. Through the years I have also accumulated many reference books, which get consulted from time to time. I really enjoy computing and multimedia and have many books waiting to be read, practised and skills honed. All I need now is another lifetime to get through all I have planned :-)
I like being as organised as I can be with my books, otherwise I can never find what I am looking for. So I do try to keep all the same sorts of books together.
I think that all the titles on my shelves together do define the interests, skills and likes of my family rather well. And I could not find any books that were not worth keeping!
How well does your bookshelf define your interests and personality?