I’ve done a lot of writing about what’s on my bookshelf. Now, I want to talk about what is on yours. 🙂
I’m very curious about what other people are reading. So much so that when it comes to other people’s bookshelves, I am not shy about walking over and taking a look as if I were in a bookstore or a library. I don’t give a second thought to selecting a book and reading the back cover. I may even sit down on the sofa and read a few lines of the first chapter to see if it interests me. If it does, I may ask to borrow it, and if not, I throw it on the nearest table and walk away. (Just kidding, I put it back where I found it. I’m not an animal!).
I think you can tell a lot about a person by what is on their bookshelf. For instance, what kind of stories do they like? Are they a history buff or a fan of graphic novels? Do they have the entire Harry Potter collection, or are they working their way through a lot of romance novels? If you are looking for a conversation starter, ask someone if they liked a book you saw on their shelf.
In my defense, no one has yelled at me (yet) for looking at their books. So I assume this is a perfectly acceptable practice. During the pandemic, there were photos in the New York Times of celebrity bookshelves. The most interesting reads were identified in the captions. FYI, Tom Hanks had several presidential biographies, while Gwyneth Paltrow owns a ton of art books. I took this entire series of photos as justification for my spying – I mean – browsing people’s bookshelves.
Another thing I notice is how people organize their books. Alphabetically by the title or by the author? Are they color-coded like a rainbow or grouped by genre? Do they separate the hardcovers from the paperbacks? Are they stacked like a high tower or lined up neatly? The possibilities are endless!
And in case you are wondering, my bookshelves are real, and they’re spectacular!
Now that I have totally blown your mind let me say that I would never judge anyone based on what they are reading. However, I might be a little put off by one thing – empty bookshelves. I would likely question if the shelves were there for decoration. Or did that person just move in and hadn’t had the chance to unpack their books yet? There could be a lot of reasons for empty shelves, but often not good ones.
But, I digress. As long as they don’t waste perfectly good shelf space and do something crazy like adorning them with trinkets and chachkis. And if that’s the case, let’s hang out at my house instead.