My Ideal Bookshelf

First of all, I just wanted to wish all of you a

I hope that you have all had a relaxing and joyous-filled holiday today! =)

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Recently, a really interesting and very bookish nonfiction book was published that I believe that any booklover should take a peak at.  Have you ever wondered which books have made your favorite people who they are today?  The Ideal Bookshelf is a compilation project of art and description of about 100 authors, chefs, journalists, designers, musicians, and artists and the books that they would put on their ideal bookshelf. 

I have always been interested in the idea and philosophy behind bibliotherapy, that books have the ability to heal you.  The written word is a powerful tool, one that each of us connects to and cherishes.  The things we read, they are things we hold on to, things we learn and grow from.  I don’t know about you, but reading is not just an entertainment thing for me, but also an expression of who I am.  Some books have become such a part of me as much as my family and friends have.  So when I stumbled across this book that showcases other people’s shelves of inspiration.

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“We hope that at the end of this–after you’ve thumbed through these pages and examined the bookshelves of everyone in here and looked at the index in the back–you’ll begin to think about what it might mean to create your own ideal bookshelf.  What are the books that have made you who you are?

So much depends on where you, the reader, are–physically and metaphorically–when you decide to pick up a book and give it a chance…We’re all still hunting, still hoping to discover one more book that we’ll love and treasure for the rest of our lives.”

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After flipping through this book, I found myself thinking about what books I would showcase if I, in fact, got a painting done of my ideal bookshelf.  (They do that, you know.  It’s so cool!  You can check it out at the website here!)  I was thinking about which books have resonated with me, which books made me grow, and which books represent who I am, both as an individual and as a reader.  And I think I have put together a very representative bookshelf, quite like the shelves in this book.  As I am not an artist, I have spared you my attempt to draw my shelf, so I have instead taken a picture of the books that I have in my home that I feel suit my shelf perfectly.

You can’t really read all of the titles too easily, so I am going to list the books from left to right and tell you why I chose them/what they each represent:

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma:  This book represents the meaning behind my existence, practically. It is the promise to share my passion of reading with others for the rest of my life, and to keep my passion alive.  I want to be a Children’s librarian one day, whether in a public library setting or a school library setting.  I just feel like it is so important to instill a love of reading at a young age or kids will grow up not liking to read, which is just a shame (ex: both of my brothers).  But even more than that, I want to read out loud with my future family.  I want us all to take adventures across the pages of a good story.  That is what this book represents in my life:  a promise to share a love of reading.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini:  To me, this book represents everything that is beautiful in modern literature.  A beautiful story of desperation and hope.  Beautiful characters that show great strength through meekness.  This is a story about the beauty that can come out of destruction and desperation.  So this book also represents the dichotomies of life, the waves that come and move through us and how we grow and learn from every experience, good and bad.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes:  This book represents everything that novels can teach you about life.  I have learned so much about the world through reading different books.  It’s how I see people more clearly.  I can understand life a lot more through reading it.

Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls:  My first book cry.  This is the book where I realized that books have their own personalities and their own emotions, and I feel them and know them!  This was the first time I can remember truly experiencing a novel for everything that it is.  Literature became real for me.  I think everyone has that book, that reading moment when reading turns from something you do to something that is a part of who you are.  This book represents that moment.

Sixth Grade Secrets by Louis Sachar:  Quite simply, this book represents every book I read and loved when I was a child.

Matilda by Roald Dahl:  This is a novel that promotes a love of reading and a life of asking questions and seeking the answers.  Isn’t that what life is all about? =)

Partials by Dan Wells:  There may not be any deeper meaning behind my choosing this novel simply for its awesomeness.  It represents the part of me that loves the YA scene and all of it’s creativity and insight into society.  And just really great stories and heroes/heroines!

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman:  This poem is beautiful.  It is beautiful and philosophical and cryptic and obvious and insightful and filled with wonderment.  This collection makes me think on a higher level, analyze things in different ways, challenges me.  This book represents everything that makes you re-evaluate yourself and challenges you to think deeper.

Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens:  Honestly, I put this book on my shelf because A) I simply love A Christmas Carol, and B) I just really love the cover.  And I think that you can totally love an edition of a book for it’s cover.  This book represents all that is aesthetically pleasing about a book, from the outside cover to what’s written on the inside.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dosteyevsky:  This book represents every challenging book that I want to read at some point in my life.  Those book that have defined literature for one reason or another.  This was also the favorite book of a favorite professor in college, and I want to read it because I want to know why he loved it so much…I want to know what he saw in it.  So I guess, in a way, this also reminds/pushes me to keep exploring and being curious and inquisitive.

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy:  First of all, this book is a first edition, so I guess this represents my side hobby of collecting books.  I love the look of old books, and there are some that I would like to find specific editions of for my personal library.  But this book in particular holds a lot of meaning to me.  This was the book that I read in a seminar class and immediately fell in love.  I then chose this book for my huge semester paper assignment, and this was the first time that I really got pulled in to research and analysis of literature.  This was the first paper I was truly proud of (both because of my topic and because it was just an awesome book). 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling:  This series represents a major part of my childhood.  I grew up anxiously awaiting the next book to be published.  The Deathly Hallows also marked my transition between adolescence and adulthood, as it came out a month before I went to college.  In some way, the publication of this final book allowed my “childhood” to end and my “adult life” to begin.  But I haven’t forgotten my child self by any means (I re-read HP once a year, after all 😉  ).

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown:  This book represents the beauty of children’s literature, especially picture books.  There is something so magical about reading a picture book–you just get whisked into a story that you can see! 

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss:  This represents the silliness and absurdities of life.  I am generally a fun-loving, silly person.  I am quirky and perfectly okay with that.  And that is how Dr. Seuss made his living, writing silly rhyming lines that children love!

You know, if you asked me to do this tomorrow, I might actually pick up different books.  And maybe they would represent other little pieces of my life.  This just goes to show that each and every book that I read becomes a part of me in some way.  I find a little bit more of myself in [most]everything I read.  I guess that is what defines a life-reader.

I encourage you all to think about which books you would choose.  Which books have impacted your life in a huge way?  Which books represent certain special moments in your life?  Which books do you just love above all else?  Maybe make your own Ideal Bookshelf post.  If you do, please come back and share it with me.  I just love looking at them!  And definitely see if your library has a copy of this book, because it just really cool to flip through!

And I know that this is not a real “Top Ten Tuesday” per say, but I thought it was fitting enough.  Call it my top ten books that represent me in some way.  If you did a top ten post this week, leave me a link and I’ll try and stop by later!

And don’t forget to enter my giveaway! And earn all the extra entries you can!

Love and MERRY CHRISTMAS,
Jennifer

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7 thoughts on “My Ideal Bookshelf

  1. bookblogbake says:

    The ideal book shelf is so cool! the Deathly Hallows would definitely be on mine for a similar reason, as it actually came out right before my last year of high school and life transitions and such, so it's one of those points I can definitely put down as a definite bookish life transition for me.

  2. Jim Crigler says:

    Re: Reading aloud to your family: One of the greatest memories I have is reading the Lord Of The Rings to my kids. Great moments included- the forest suddenly appearing outside Helm's Deep- when Eowyn reveals herself on the Pelennor Fields (totally botched in the movie, BTW)- Michael sitting up with his mouth hung open as Frodo stood at the Cracks Of Doom and declared … well, you know what he said.

  3. Angela says:

    I think I would have to my ideal bookshelf by decade of my life (or have a very giant bookshelf). Like you said, your ideal maybe entirely different in a short time. Terrific idea for Top Ten.

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