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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Soul of My Office

A room without books is like a body without a soul.

           Last week I took you on a tour of my office.  But you really didn't have the opportunity to peruse through some of the books that are there.  If you're anything like me, when you visit somebody you like to check out what kind of books they have.  It's not so much that I'm nosy, it's more like I want to know what their interests are.  It's a conversation starter or stimulator.  As soon as I see books, CDs, or DVDs I check them out to see if they have anything like I have at home or what it is they like.  You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read, the music they listen to, or the movies they enjoy.  It's not a perfect indicator, but it's usually a pretty good indicator of a person's nature.

         This week I thought I'd give you a closer look at my primary office book shelf.  These are the books that I've put closest at hand as books to which I might refer or might inspire me as a writer.  We have many other books in other rooms and many of those are also highly treasured by me, but the books on this shelf are my writer's office library.  On the top of the bookcase you can see some family pictures.  I have many family pictures throughout my office.  I like to stay reminded of the family that I love so much.

           My top shelf contains my books about writing.  These are at my eye level and though I have read or plan to read these, they are not books to which I refer on a regular basis.  These are my trade books to remind me who I am and to inspire me on my journeys.  Many of them I have purchased through Writer's Digest and contain much of the same helpful information I get on many writing blogs.  The way I see it is you can never read this information too many times--it's always good to be reminded.  The main book on this shelf is probably the WRITER'S MARKET.  I'm sure most of us have this or some other similar book to help guide us when it comes to moving our works out into the marketplace.

         The next shelf has my reference books.  These are kept the most easily accessable because these are the books I use more than any others.  These are the word books and encyclopedic style reference books.  There is even a rock and roll encyclopedia that was out of date before it hit the store shelves -- that's the hazard of any reference book, especially dealing with pop culture.  I love these kinds of books though--always have.  I used to read the encyclopedia and dictionary for fun when I was a kid and I still do every once in a while.  We've got reference books throughout our house which to me is a very good thing.                              The next shelf has Bibles and religious books.  Since I lead a Bible study class at church, write about religion, and like to study religion I tend to have many religious related texts.  They are not just about the Christian religion.  In other places in our home we have texts for other religions and books about those other religions.  In another larger office we have a great many religious books,  but these are the ones I might use with greater frequency.  Some of these belonged to my father.   He used to study the Bible and write about the Bible.  I take after him in many ways.
                          Further down I have some books that have special meaning to me.  These are mainly short story books.  Most of these I started buying back in the 1960's when I was in middle school and high school.  My first real reading passion was science fiction, but it quickly expanded to other genres.  Sometimes I go back a reread some of the stories in these books.  Good stories are worth rereading.

          On the bottom shelf are some other miscellaneous books with various purposes. Some are other types of reference like finance.  Others are novels that I have enjoyed.  There are even some of my old high school yearbooks--I pick these up every once in a while.  These are all books with special meaning to me, but books that others would enjoy seeing as well.

          This is one of two bookshelves in my office.  We have many other bookshelves in other rooms.  I am vitalized by the presence of books in the home.  Sometimes it is comforting just to go to part of my home library and pull down books from the shelf to just thumb through.  In our guest room I keep a nice selection of books in case a guest would want to read.  It's something I enjoy when I visit someone-- I always bring my own book, but if a place I'm visiting has books I'll give those preference.  There's that strange thing about how books can make you feel at home while they take you away at the same time.

         Do you have special places for books in your home?  What kinds of books are the keepers for you as opposed to the ones that you sell at your yard sales?   Do you have a special book memory that illustrates how books can breathe life into a home or some other place?


  1. My special places for books are all over the house in book shelves. I even have them in my bedroom, because I love looking at them on the shelves.

    I like seeing your Bible there too.


  2. Love that quote!

    My husband was just teasing the other day, asking if I wanted to make a drop to Half Price books- the nerve!

    You have a great selection- I see a few that I have at home.

  3. My, you do have a varied selection of books. I have a book shelf and apart from poetry books and books written by my favourite singer Daniel, the rest consist of books by Paul Mckenna PHD who have written how to gain self confidence, Lose weight and all sorts of self help subjects.

    I enjoyed your post immensely.


  4. >>[You can tell a lot about a person by the books they read, the music they listen to, or the movies they enjoy.]<<

    True, true. Especially the books.

    I remember one time when my Pa came to visit me and he looked at all the books in bookcases and asked, "Have you really read all of these?" I told him, "Yeah, most of them." I think that kind of boggled his mind a bit, particularly since he himself wasn't a big reader and always had trouble finishing any book he started.

    I went through a period in my life when I was moving almost constantly, and I jettisoned a lot of my books at that time because they are a pain to pack and unpack. A few of them I have repurchased since then.

    I have my irreplaceable books in one smallish bookshelf where I'd be able to get to them all during a fire or some other major disaster. I'd want to be able to just scoop them all at once into a canvas bag or something. There would be no time to hunt for special titles scattered throughout various bookcases. (I sure hope this turns out to have been an unnecessary precaution.)

    This special, smaller bookcase contains things like my school yearbooks; three old Seckatary Hawkins books; "Works Of Henry David Thoreau" given to me by a now-deceased friend; first edition copies of Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" and Mark Twain's "Roughing It"; and my favorite Bible.

    The first editions are not really worth much because of their condition, but they were gifts from my parents and are my two favorite novels. The Bible itself could be replaced, but all of my personal notes carefully written in the margins of the pages? Not so easily.

    Thanks, rLEE-b - I enjoyed the tour!

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  5. Teresa-- We have books in just about every room (or at least nearby). I believe I have 7 different Bibles, plus numerous commentaries and books about the Bible. I think my wife has at least 3 Bibles, including her original Spanish Bible, although now she usually reads her English translations. It's so cool to be bilingual (and I'm too lazy to do it I guess).

    Tamika-- My wife is always wanting to get rid of a lot of our books and I don't think she's teasing.

    Yvonne -- I love self help books. I also have several of them.

    Stephen ---I'm guessing I've only read about half of my books. I'm such a slow reader. I got rid of most of my Doubleday Book Club books that I got as a teenager at yard sales for about fifty cents each -- they were mostly schlock though -- I kept the best ones.
    Notes in the Bible would be hard to replace.

  6. Going along with Cicero's remark, if a room with bokks has a soul-then my office is Legion.

    I took a rough count awhile back-about 2,000 in the office and another 2,000 throughout the rest of the house. I can't bring myself to throw away any book that might be useful for my kids someday-and they are still very young.

  7. We have about eight bookshelves in our home! (really need a library)
    The big one in the living room has hardbacks of our favorite authors and coffee-table sized books. The two in my office have marketing books and self-help & success books. (Yes, they occupy two whole bookshelves!)

  8. Lee! Love your selection my friend. Especially the Bible. I love taking a peak into your world. How nice. I know more about you just by your books. I might have to take pics like this and post them sometime. Thanks! (^_^)

  9. I enjoyed looking over your blog
    God bless you

  10. I really liked this post and the quotation at the beginning. I completely agree that books and metabooks (i.e. learning about a person through their books--a word I just completely made up) is fascinating. When I took classes that I absolutely hated, I ended up violently throwing the books away at the dumpster instead of just donating them as I should have. Now, you might think that I am completely crazy, but books carry much more than the words they contain. They carry memories and other meanings too.

    Now that I am spending more and more money on my books, I no longer throw them away like I did with that one terrible, terrible semester. However, I do understand how books represent who we are. I feel a little anxious when people see my books because they don't always reflect "me," but the classes I have taken.

    Lastly, I just want to say that how we order our books might also say who we are. What is most important? Where does that item get placed?

  11. I have a beautiful bookcase a family friend made me for my wedding. It's gorgeous.

    It's in the entry & has all the "pretty" books in it - my boxed editions, gilded hard covers and many of my dad's books.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Most of the books we have in our home are Christian books.

    Maybe you've put a bug in head to branch out and start reading a little more.

    Sad to say, most of my reading now days is done on my computer.

    Do you think an Old Geezer can learn a new trick?

    God bless you, Ron

  13. That quote is spot on. Books are the eys of that soul too. :)

    I loved the chance to look through your books. I might post on this soon too. Great idea. :)

  14. Thanks so much for following my blog :) I look forward to following yours :) Thanks for the tips :)

  15. David -- That's a lot of books, but I do know what you are saying-- I mean you just never know.

    L. Diane -- I too have a lot of those books which I might deem of a practical nature.

    Robyn -- yeah, I'd seen this elsewhere. Hope you do post something like it because it's fun to get to know about other peoples' lives.

    Old Geezer -- thanks for following and I look forward to hearing more from a geographical neighbor.

    Diana -- I usually tried to sell the textbooks that I no longer wanted. But I still have some of them.

    Jemi -- My wife does have some "show" books in our living room.

    Tabitha -- I'll look forward to your post as well.

    Missy - I like trying to help new bloggers. Good luck!


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