A meme borrowed from A Box of Books.
I’m a Virago Geek
One bookcase. Five shelves. All double banked, full and over-flowing. Around 360 wonderful green books. What can I say? I fell in love young and that love has never died. I do question some of the recent book choices, but that’s a question to consider on another day.
I tend to shop by imprint these days
The VMCs are the largest grouping. Then there are the lovely dove grey Persephone Books. Slim volumes from the Hesperus Press. Gothic and Victorian gems from Valancourt Books. Honno Classics from Wales. The new Bloomsbury Group. Multi-coloured spines of NYRB Classics. Grey Ladies …. I’ve always loved a list, and it seems such a natural way to move from book to book, from author to author.
I’m a child of the 20th century
A large proportion of my books were written by the few generations before mine. Daphne Du Maurier, Somerset Maugham, Mary Wesley, Rumer Godden, Elizabeth Taylor, Evelyn Waugh, Margery Sharp, Muriel Spark, Barbara Pym, Angela Carter, Elizabeth Jane Howard …. And yes, mainly women writers. I never knew my mother’s mother and I am so curious about the world that she knew. And when I was twelve my mother told me that my grandmother had kept a record of all the books she read, and encouraged me to do the same. I progressed from notebooks to index cards to a database and finally to this blog. I still wonder which of my books might have been in my grandmother’s notebook.
I have criminal tendencies
It all started with Mrs Christie. And then there was Dorothy L Sayers. Ngaio Marsh. Michael Innes. Edmund Crispin. P D James. Sarah Caudwell. Louise Penny. Jacqueline Winspear. Louise Penny. And a few more. I think the love of logic and patterns that drew me first to mathematics and then to accountancy also drew me to crime and mystery. But I am squeamish – a book has to promise something very special for me to deal with gore or forensics.
I love to escape into the past
George Eliot, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte, Anne and Emily, Mary Elizabeth Braddon …. so many old friends. Mr Dickens is there too. I have only come to love him recently. Mr Trollope has arrived latterly, to keep him company. A number of their less famous contemporaries have homes on my shelves too, courtesy largely of those specialist imprints. Historical novels occupy a fair bit of space too. I’ve always been an escapist reader,and past suits me very nicely.
I am not as organised as I might be
There are some logical groupings, but most of my shelves are fairly random. Books fitted in spaces that other vacated. Books that happened to arrive together. Books arranged because they look right together. I like the odd juxtapositions. Let’s pick a run of ten authors: Charles Dickens, Sarah Dunant, Dorothy Dunnett, Sarah Caudwell, Beatrice Colin, Sarah Bower, Jonathan Smith, Jude Morgan, Djuna Barnes, Susan Cooper. A strange mix of people, but I’m sure they would find something to talk about…
So tell me – what do your bookshelves say about you?