On my bookshelf

October 28, 2014

Ah, there's nothing like a stack of books and a cup of tea, is there? Add a cozy fire as the temperatures fall, a lap cat, and an afghan, and it's a little bit of heaven.

My book club met last night, and I told them of our plans to add more bookshelves to our family room. It was either: 1) get rid of a bunch of books, 2) never buy another book for the rest of our lives, or 3) get some more bookshelves. 

No contest.

I'm all for minimalism in clothing and kitchen gadgets, etc., but walls of books surrounding me with their friendly and inviting faces are really a necessity.

I'm looking forward to using an app a friend told me about that scans ISBN numbers, so that you end up with a catalog of all your books with title, author, publication date, etc. I'm excited to reorganize all our books, many of which are stacked all over in chairs and on tables and on the floor.

We even have a family contest going as to how many books we have. The guesses range between 1000 to 2000, which I think is a modest collection. My friend has more than 3000. How many do you have?

Our book club recently finished The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. It is a fictional story of life in modern-day North Korea. Not for the faint-hearted. Graphic and disturbing. Several of our members couldn't finish it. I found it well-written and compelling despite the difficult subject matter.

Last night we discussed Mountain Rain by Eileen Fraser Crossman, a biography of the author's father, a missionary in inland China in the early 1900s. Well-written, with many of her father's letters and journal notes included, it emphasizes the importance of prayer. Very inspiring.

Next on the agenda is Still Alice by Lisa Genova, about a woman's descent into early-onset Alzheimer's. I have to admit I'm not really looking forward to reading it. Reviews call it "heartbreaking."

I get most of my books from the library, and love their interlibrary loan service, through which they borrow books from libraries all over Michigan.

One of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Goudge, is getting harder to find, even through interlibrary loan. Those hard-to-find, much-loved books are the ones we should add to our home libraries. I ended up ordering this trilogy from Amazon, new. Amazon is also my go-to source for hard-to-find used books.

My friends reminded me last night of the huge library book sale that is held three times a year. I had been staying clear, because we had no shelf space. But now . . . uh-oh.

Look what Marcia from marciapilar.net (formerly A Table Named Love) recently sent me from one of her giveaways . . . 

Aren't they gorgeous tags?  The colors and design are beautiful. I think I'll use at least a couple as bookmarks.

She also sent me this lovely bookmark.

Thank you, Marcia. I love them!

One of my all-time favorite authors is Wendell Berry. He has written a number of essays on the importance of maintaining the family farm and agrarian way of life, none of which I have read (but mean to someday). But I think I've read all of his novels, set in a fictional farming community in Kentucky.

If I ever write a book, Wendell Berry will be my muse. Such simple, powerful prose. (My sister thinks it's very funny to have an 80-year-old farmer as a "muse"!)

It's a rainy day, perfect for setting aside a little reading time (Ha. Do I even need an excuse?). I have several books to choose from. I think I'm going to read The Blue Hills by Goudge, as it is due back at the library on Friday. There's no way I'm going to get through Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye; that will have to be renewed.

What's on your bookshelf? Do you have a favorite author(s)?


  1. Hi Deborah, Right now I'm getting ready to read Still Alice - I read about it on another blog; it was recommended for persons dealing with family/friends who have Alzheimer's. I am currently reading October Song by Beverly Lewis. I'm enjoying it so far. Also on my couch-side table: Saving Simon - How a rescue donkey taught me the meaning of compassion by Jon Katz. Jon is a fantastic author and this is his 27th book. I've read many of his books and I eagerly follow his blog (bedlamfarm.com). Well, I was to comment about books, not write a book here...so I'll say bye and thanks for making me think! :)

  2. I love that first photo. It's so pretty! I agree. I love books. I've tried to do the reader, but I don't like it as much as a book. (Though readers are great for travel.) I'm afraid to count, at least as many as you.

  3. I agree with you about books, my friend. My bookshelves are completely full (we need more) and I have a pile of five books on my dresser waiting to be read. There is something comforting about being surrounded by books :)

    I have never read anything by Elizabeth Goudge, but will have to look into her books :) Also, your pretties from dear Marcia are simply lovely - she is one precious lady.

    Enjoy your evening! Hugs!

  4. I'll write down some of your favorite authors to look for when I go to book sales. We have hundreds of books...I'm not sure how many. But we have a lot of bookcases and dedicated a room as a library in our home. I love to read but don't read many 'heartbreaking' books any more. I like historical novels though and they have sad parts. I have my books and reviews on Goodreads. And tomorrow I'm showing the sweet tags Marcia sent me, too. She is a sweetheart! I love your bookmark! Sweet hugs, Diane

  5. Hmmm I've never read anything by Elizabeth Goudge, Deborah. I will have to check her books out. I do love trilogies, too. Have you ever read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See?
    I love your pretty tags from Marcia. I'd use them for bookmarks, too.

    1. I read another book by Lisa See entitled Shanghai Girls, and really liked that. I'll have to check out that book.

  6. The tags and bookmark are lovely! Wow, it really sounds like you are into collecting books, but what could be more educational and edifying? My family has at least 5 large bookcases full of books plus more in containers.

    Some of my favorite authors would be Corrie ten Boom, John Bunyan, Frederic Bastiat, Von Mises, and Hayek.

    1. ah, you are an Austrian economist Bethany. The best kind. Have you ever seen any of the Hayek v Keynes rap videos? Funny.

  7. Dearest Deborah,
    In our home there are LOTS and lots of books. Having published ourselves, scientific books and articles that is, was one thing but we got books in seven languages... Good question about how many books we got. That iPhone app would take us quite some time for scanning all our books.
    We got: {BOOKS in Our Living Room}
    Also books in: {Our Dining Room}
    And more books in: {Our Smaller Office} - You can copy and paste these titles in the search box at the top right on my blog...
    Sending you hugs,

  8. I love books. There are shelves of them, although I do try to weed them out from time to time. I really enjoy the mystery novels of Louise Penny. Other writers I enjoy are Dorothy Sayers and Rosamunde Pilcher. I'm reading an old book by Elizabeth Goudge right now, one I found at a book sale at a bank.

    1. Yes! Just discovered Louise Penny. Love Dorothy Sayers and Rosamunde Pilcher, but always get her confused with Maeve Binchy, who I also like.

  9. I love books, too. I probably have over 1000, maybe more. Lots of craft, gardening, cookbooks and collections of vintage classics and vintage children's books. I recently read 'Girl in Translation' by Jean Kwok and Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown. Both of these were excellent, although the latter was very graphic and disturbing about a woman in colonial Massachusetts taken into captivity by the Indians - based on a true narrative. My favorite books are autobiographies. Thank you for the book suggestions - they sound very interesting and I will add some to my reading list. xo Karen

  10. I'm a book lover as well. I don't think I could ever have too many books waiting for me to read. Adding bookshelves is always a good idea if you ask me :)

  11. loved your giveaway gifts the tags and bookmarks were exquisite. We are a family that loves books, so we have hundreds too.

  12. What a cozy getaway, tea, books, a roaring fire and warm covers, all in the comfort of your own home. Wendell Berry sounds like the perfect muse to me - fatherly, wise and talented! I cannot lie and say that I am a lover of books, especially since blogs take up so much of my free time, but I have been known to lose myself in anthologies of poetry.

    Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  13. I liked 'Still Alice' and it showed how this disease can even effect a highly intelligent woman. My late mother had Alzheimer's and it helped me understand how a person can seem normal one day and so different the next.
    Right now I'm reading Shunning Sarah and have read a number of books recommended by blogging friends on my Kobo ereader. The last great one was One Thousand White Women. I just checked my list and I see The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge.

  14. Hi Deborah, I love books around me too. My family room library is full and we were just thinking how and where we could add another case to hold the overflow!! Then there are dozens of my design and art books. The list goes on and on!! LOL Love the collection you are and have read. Currently I am reading the third novel by, Leila Meacham called Sommerset.

    Your win from dear Marcia is beautiful. She is such a talent and I have tags from a giveaway of hers several years ago that I love. I also collect bookmarkers of all kinds to use with our hundreds of books.

    Happy reading and a wonderful Wednesday!

  15. Lovely blog post and lovely blog! We have hundreds of books if not thousands. Book shelves everywhere. I am getting that app! I've always had my books categorized, but I love the idea of scanning the ISBN s. :-)

  16. Beautiful photos, Deborah. I don't think a home could ever have too many books. I worry that one day they will be obsolete for our grandchildren. Although if I have grandchildren, they will definitely be reading some books the "old fashioned" way ;) We read "Still Alice" in our book club a couple of years ago. Difficult, yes, but a good read. We are currently doing "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki, which is a very compelling read!

  17. Hello...Love this! just today I shared my love of books as well....some here I definitely want to read.must try Elizabeth Gouge again...read Still Alice in the summer time..found it a rather absorbing read!
    I actually picked up a few books on the discard table at my library today...so fun!

  18. So many books Deborah. They all look very interesting. I need to start reading more. I love bookshelves. They add a certain warmth and coziness in a home. But you are going to have to build lots of them to store your very large collection. How many do you read a week??? The tags are very beautiful.

    Happy Reading,


  19. Hello Deborah-Thank You for Your visit :) I'm glad,otherwise I might have missed this interesting post.You sound as if maybe You've been in the same mood as I have been in.Only one huge difference... this computer somehow became My main means of reading.This has frustrated Me and I keep on intending to read books once again.I keep buying them and never reading them.You have inspired Me to get going with that.

  20. Melted my heart to see this. Thank you, Deborah.
    May the prayers and blessings that traveled with those tags fill every crevice of your home and the hearts you choose to share them with.
    Save me a classic or non-fiction, a little honey in my tea, and I'm there.

  21. I'm new here. I found you through Spot on Cedar Pond. I do so enjoy stumbling on a post about books and gleaning suggestions for books and authors I've never read.

    The first Goudge I read was "The Dean's Watch" about a quaint little genius of a clockmaker, Isaac Peabody. It was given to me by my friend, the horologist's wife.

    I have been trying to get through Frankenstein by Halloween, but I think it is one of those books you have to be in a particular mood for, and I don't know that I am ever in that kind of mood. Always in the mood for No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency though. I've read them all!

    For thoughtful reading I often turn to Charles Dickens and the ever so quotable, George Eliot.

  22. I love Wendell Berry and when I see any of his books at the library sales I snatch them up ! I do need to be able to sit for awhile without distraction when I read his writing because I always need to think awhile on what he says.

    Our home is chock full of books too and I love it that way. my husband loves books and we re-read quite a few. There are a few authors I love to read who don't have their books published anymore , so of course we take any opportunity to add some of their books to our already overflowing book shelves.
    I see Nib's End commented. I was thinking about her and how much she'd enjoy this post the whole time I was reading !

  23. I adore books and of course, reading! I am so lucky, though. My best friend who is from NJ and lives here 34 years cause she married hubby's good friend, travels a lot to Flo. because of her aging mom; therefore, I always get the NY Best sellers or books she's heard are good, etc...what I mean is she shares with me or I get them for C'mas or B'days. We have books exchange at an American Library, where American ex-pats drop off their books and at the same token, they get ones they haven't read, so yes, it's wonderful to get good reads! Loved your post sweetie. EG books sound pretty nice...and along with a pretty teacup and lovely tea, nothing can top that!
    Loved your visit.
    Happy Halloween.

  24. Yes, add more book shelves, you are a very wise woman and maybe a bookworm also :o)
    Hugs, Roxy

  25. I see that I could browse your shelves for a long time. Lots of fun that would be. You mention many of my own favourites. But I see authors and book titles new to me which is exciting.

    I like that ISBN app idea... will have to check that out.

    Wishing you happy reading....

  26. There never needs to be an excuse for reading Deborah-it is always time well spent! You have some diverse and interesting reads on the go. For me It has always been about the family saga-especially those which offer lots of historical interest as well, usually 20th Century and from the wartime. I like the look of the Elizabeth Goudge trilogy-I shall be seeking those out on Amazon as well! My daughters attend a book club-the younger one studies English and creative writing at Falmouth university-she just loves to read! Hope you are having a lovely weekend
    Alison xx

  27. Hi Deborah, I love books, a warm cat in my lap and a fire in the fireplace too. I've been buying up books at the thrift store for this winter. This is Mildred, formerly of Blackberry Lane. Hope you are enjoying the weekend and staying warm. It is even cool and windy in Georgia!


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