A home without books is a body with no soul

My home library wall
My home library wall
My home library wall

I always stare at people’s book cases, and honestly, I do judge a tiny bit if you don’t have books in your home. To me, they are what make a home along with the people. You can have all the hip designer furniture straight out of a interior decorating magazine but if there is no life, then what can possible make it a home? 

This is my living room with most of my books. I keep cookbooks in the kitchen (obviously?) and dictionaries in my bedroom mostly because they fit the shelf so wonderfully there and it means I wake up looking at books straight away. However, I am an avid library user (a bit on principle and a bit due to economic reality) so I almost always have a stack of library books to read along with my own unread books. Currently, there are four books in that stack. I try to find the books I really want at the library before buying them, because I would rather own books that I like than spending too much money on something I will regret.

I buy a lot of thrift and second hand books, from charity shops and online. My personal library here contains probably half and half new and used books. Living costs here in Denmark are quite high and books are not cheap from new, so besides the library, thrifted books make my introduction into many more new worlds and authors than I would otherwise. Lucky for me, but sad in general, people are shifting from books to e-readers (or Netflix) so I have made some great discoveries over the years, and I have my personal favourites among the charity shops selling books (and no, I will not tell which ones!).

Everytime I look at my books I smile and sigh happily with the knowledge of good friends, great foes, amazing adventures, breaking hearts, and nerve-shattering plots. Always there for whenever I am ready. Also just the sheer beauty of the craftmanship in bookbinding and design. I do like to own several copies of the same, if they have great covers. Which reminds me that now it will not be long before the first batch of the new Shakespeare editions will be released! I have already raved about the covers on Instagram but I think I will make a proper post about the designer and the covers. Ah, isn’t it also wonderful to know of all the future books to come?

How is it organized? My system or organization is not the very popular rainbow as often seem in internet land not the old-fashioned alphabetical. I go by topics. So children’s literature are seated together, poetry has a shelf, and my thesis books and other postcolonialist readings are on their own. This is at least the system which I am aiming for when there is still room for it. Once again, it starts to grow difficult…

In the image the first book case on the left has miscellaneous novels, childrens literature and YA, and fashion magazines. The second book case holds my Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Anaïs Nin, and Little Black Classics on the top shelf, with my Russian and Tolkien shelf below it. Beneath them are my art history and aesthetics books from my university days along with another shelf of fashion magazines. The tall case holds a lot of different things: the top is new and unsorted books along with copies I might sell or trade (yes, it happens from time to time!)

Then comes Hemingway and some other novels with my most pretentious shelf below: Russian and philosophy and absurdly abstract books! But since they are some of my absolute favourites, I keep them together. Poetry and postcolonialism follow underneath, and yet again followed with all my feminist books like Virginia Woolf, Suzanne Brøgger, Karen Blixen, and other friends in that category. Then two more miscellaneous novels and short story shelves. Last but not least is my big book case with my most treasured books; books I received as presents when I was a child as well as longer book series. My Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Nortons, and all my vintage fashion books are there. Heirloom travel books from my grandfather and crime fiction too.

As you can see, I read a lot of different genres but have an inclination towards the classics and fantasy. This year though, I know my Shakespeare shelf will grow and maybe my poetry shelf as well. I might soon need yet another book case…

Dansk: Jeg er én af dem, som nærstuderer andre menneskers bogreoler – og ja, jeg dømmer lidt folk alt efter hvor mange og hvilke bøger de har. Mine bøger udgør hjertet i min lejlighed og jeg kan ikke forestille mig hvordan et hus kan blive et hjem uden. Hver gang jeg ser mine bøger smiler jeg. Der er så mange gode venner, fantastiske fjender, eventyr og hjerteskærende historier i mellem.

Jeg har bøger i alle rum – bortset fra badeværelset på grund af fugt. Mine kogebøger er i køkkenet (pudsigt nok!) og mine ordbøger er i soveværelset. Det giver måske ikke så meget mening men de passer så perfekt på hylden og så kan jeg vågne og se bøger, som noget af det første hver morgen. Det kan kun være godt for sjælen. På trods af mine allerede mange bøger, så er jeg også en flittig biblioteksbruger. Både af princip og af økonomisk art. For jeg synes, at ting er lidt dyre herhjemme og så må man jo vælge og prioriterer. Jeg vælger så, at læse mange af de bøger, jeg er interesseret i fra biblioteker og hvis jeg så virkelig er vild med dem, så kommer de på min bogønskeseddel (pt er det ca 4 sider i et google-docs!).

Jeg indretter mine bøger efter emner i stedet for alfabetisk eller den populære regnbue. Det ser jo flot ud, men jeg ville blive irriteret over ikke at få et hurtigt overblik af hvad jeg har inden for et givent emne. Nogle emner er dog lidt delt op på grund af forskellige hyldehøjder og for at undgå pladsmangel, hvilket virkeligt kan komme hurtigt hos mig! Der er hylder for poesi/lyrik, mit speciale materiale har en hylde for sig, børne- og ungdomslitteratur for sig og mine store russiske og filosofiske har flere hylder for sig. Ind i mellem kommer så diverse romaner og ulæste bøger. Dog tror jeg, at der nemt kunne blive pladsmangel igen i år, specielt hvis jeg får købt de nye Shakespeare udgaver, som kommer her slut marts. Man kan jo håbe…


About Ann-Cathrine 39 Articles
Established 1987 in Aarhus, Denmark. MA degree in English and Art History from Aarhus University, Denmark. Loves books, art, writing, coffee, dandelions, paper dolls, and haute couture.

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