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 There is even a rock and roll encyclopedia that was out of date before it hit the store shelves -- that's the hazard of any reference book, especially dealing with pop culture.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?