Belle at Belle, Book, and Candle has been writing her on-line book journal (she detests the word 'blogger') since January 1, 2012. She likes her mysteries spiced with humor not violence; adores P.G. Wodehouse, Beverley Nichols, and E.B. White; and, is developing a real fondness for Angela Thirkell, Barbara Pym, and Elizabeth Bowen. She cherishes her real books but also owns both a Kindle Fire and a Nook for their convenience. Her first job was as a 'page' shelving books in the public library. She also worked for some years at a large, independent bookstore which has now gone the way of many. When it sold to Borders, its death knell sounded.
Do make sure you click on over to Belle, Book and Candle for a few more photos--you can see a few details and see her shelves in situ! She and I share quite an overlap of bookish favorites as I love or am interested in a number of authors she mentions and I do enjoy a good cozy mystery, too.
1. Describe your library/bookshelves. Are the books randomly placed or do you have them organized in a special way?
I have three bookshelves that hold the majority of my books. Two are Ikea's Billy shelves and one was made by my uncle and resided in my bedroom when I was growing up. I cannot bear to part with it. I recently remodeled my house and opened up two connecting rooms. Now I have all my books around me which I love. Eventually, I had an interior designer come in and, among other things, she 'designed' my bookshelves. The books are in no particular order--maybe by size? That was about two years ago and I have added to my library since then. I try to follow her pattern but the shelves have gotten a bit overgrown.
2. Do you like to weed and recycle as you read or do you prefer to hold on to all your books?
I have a difficult time of letting go of my books! I did a major, major weeding right before the remodel. I gave away boxes and boxes to friends who wanted them--mostly paperbacks. I do use the library a lot. I prefer to buy older, used books. I usually pass books on to friends or donate them to the library for its book sale.
I try and keep my collection corralled in the three bookcases. But, there are maverick stacks--bedside table reading, a pile of watercolor instruction books that live on a footstool, a couple of books I dip into now and again by my reading chair, a few located on the top shelf of my secretary desk . . . you know how it goes. There is never really enough space.
4. How long has your oldest unread book sat on your shelves?
Oh dear. I have books that belonged to my grandmother that I have not read. There is a small set of Eclectic English Classics inscribed with her maiden name which must be from her school days. She was married sometime during World War I. The copyright dates range from 1892 to 1894 and include Silas Marner by George Eliot The Life and Writings of Addison, The Roger de Coverley Papers from The Spectator, a volume of poems by Milton, and The Life of Samuel Johnson by Lord Macaulay.
5. What is your most treasured book?
I have three. One is Laird & Lee's Vest Pocket Webster Dictionary for Constant Use that was my grandfather's and has his name written in it in his hand; copyright 1906. Another is a small New Testament that was my father's and has his name written by his hand in it. It was printed in England by the Oxford University Press. No date; perhaps the late 1920s. The last one is a copy of Little Women that was my mother's and is inscribed to her by her mother on 'Christmas 1932'. It has illustrations by Frances Brundage and a copyright date of MCMXXIX.
6. If you could pick one "lost in the stacks/on your bookshelves" book to rediscover and share with other readers, which would it be?
The Once and Future King by T.H. White; copyright 1939. This is a book I have had since I read it in high school. It was the basis for the play and movie Camelot. I loved the story of King Arthur, Merlin, Guenever and Lancelot. I have seen both the play and the movie many times. The copy I have is a mass market paperback and the print is too small for a woman-of-a-certain-age eyes. I really must either find a hardcover copy of this and hope that the print is larger or else I will buy the Kindle version so I can adjust the font size.
I actually met Richard Harris backstage at the theater when he was here playing King Arthur in the stage play of Camelot. One of my best memories ever!
Many thanks to Belle for sharing photos of her bookshelves with us. Check back next Friday for a peek into another reader's library.