Author Topic: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!  (Read 4903 times)

zolotiyeruki

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The "Overheard at Work 2" thread got a bit sidetracked on the subject of personal book collections, so I'm starting a separate thread.

Here's ours from a couple years ago.  Sorry for the potato-quality photo:



Shelves are populated with easy books on the bottom and advanced ones on the top.  Board books and little kids' stuff on the bottom, Magic Treehouse and Boxcar Children on the third shelf, Harry Potter, Septimus Heap, Fablehaven, etc on the 5th shelf, Dickens, Tolkien, Rand, etc on the top shelf.

What little empty space there was is now well-filled.

Travis

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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2019, 03:56:58 PM »
I don't have a photo to share as we're in the middle of a move, but our personal library looks like the OP's (similar book cases too) if you add two more.  We reduced our library by about 10% four years ago during that move and donated another 20 books for this move.  I recycled (as in the trash bin) an entire shelf of old military manuals since they're a decade old and it finally occurred to me the updates are all digital now.

My in laws on the other hand are prolific keepers of books. Their library is shown below with a couple smaller bookcases omitted.

GuitarStv

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2019, 05:03:14 PM »
I had quite an extensive one.  Thousands of dollars (tens of thousands?) worth, and a huge amount of space.  I've since sold or given away all of it.  Turns out there are free public libraries, and I was being foolish.

Kris

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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2019, 05:09:14 PM »
I don't have a photo to share as we're in the middle of a move, but our personal library looks like the OP's (similar book cases too) if you add two more.  We reduced our library by about 10% four years ago during that move and donated another 20 books for this move.  I recycled (as in the trash bin) an entire shelf of old military manuals since they're a decade old and it finally occurred to me the updates are all digital now.

My in laws on the other hand are prolific keepers of books. Their library is shown below with a couple smaller bookcases omitted.

My library used to look pretty much like this. A literature Ph.D., a deep and abiding love of reading, and two decades as a college professor will do that to you.

Like GuitarStv, though, I got rid of all of it a few years ago. Feels good, surprisingly.

MasterStache

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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2019, 05:42:12 PM »
I had quite an extensive one.  Thousands of dollars (tens of thousands?) worth, and a huge amount of space.  I've since sold or given away all of it.  Turns out there are free public libraries, and I was being foolish.

+1

I used to have an extensive movie collection as well until I realized I really only watched the movies once. I've gotten rid of most of the kids books as well. The library is great!

Travis

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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2019, 06:20:34 PM »
I don't have a photo to share as we're in the middle of a move, but our personal library looks like the OP's (similar book cases too) if you add two more.  We reduced our library by about 10% four years ago during that move and donated another 20 books for this move.  I recycled (as in the trash bin) an entire shelf of old military manuals since they're a decade old and it finally occurred to me the updates are all digital now.

My in laws on the other hand are prolific keepers of books. Their library is shown below with a couple smaller bookcases omitted.

My library used to look pretty much like this. A literature Ph.D., a deep and abiding love of reading, and two decades as a college professor will do that to you.

Like GuitarStv, though, I got rid of all of it a few years ago. Feels good, surprisingly.

My FIL was a lawyer, MIL was a teacher, SILs are lawyers and shrinks. The whole family is very well-read.  I have degrees in poly sci and history and the majority of my pleasure reading is non-fiction.  I'm trying not to add any more to the pile.

chaskavitch

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 07:51:40 PM »
I don't have a photo to share as we're in the middle of a move, but our personal library looks like the OP's (similar book cases too) if you add two more.  We reduced our library by about 10% four years ago during that move and donated another 20 books for this move.  I recycled (as in the trash bin) an entire shelf of old military manuals since they're a decade old and it finally occurred to me the updates are all digital now.

My in laws on the other hand are prolific keepers of books. Their library is shown below with a couple smaller bookcases omitted.

Wow, so many nat geos!  I wonder if they ever read them.

We have 4-ish bookshelves worth of books, but we're in the process of packing to move, and books were first in the boxes.  I don't have a lot of time to read right now with an early-rising 3 year old and a 3 month old.  I'll post a picture when we're all moved in to the new place :)

markbike528CBX

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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 11:37:06 PM »
PTF
MY library is much smaller.
The book selection is concentrated with books that are really deep ideas and/or hard to acquire.
Ex Collected Papers of Robert H. Goddard (rocket)
US Nuclear Weapons; The Secret History.

The National Geographic collections above reminds me of my grandfather's 1930's-1980's that was stacked 20 deep and still covered a lot of attic floor.

RetiredAt63

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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2019, 05:05:30 AM »
My bookshelves used to look like that.  My office used to look like that.

I retired and over time have shed 95% of my work texts.  Another move and I have shed about 1/3 of my fiction.  The moving van was some furniture and boxes and boxes and boxes of books.  And the other hobby stuff.



Raenia

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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2019, 06:04:08 AM »
I don't think having a large private library and making use of the public libraries are mutually exclusive - local libraries can't have everything.  I have access to four different library systems currently (public library in my old county, public library in my new county, alumni access at my alma matter, and DH works for a university), and I still have books on my TBR list that I can't find, and will have to buy if I want to read them.  My rule these days is I'm not allowed to buy a book unless it's not available from any of these systems (at least until they realize I moved and take away my old county access), but even with that I've bought 2 books this year.  DH also is allowed to buy reference books for home repair and hobbies that he will use frequently, though we usually try to get those as gifts.

No pictures yet, as my library is still half-assembled.  Not nearly as impressive as some of these, anyway.

Spiffy

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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2019, 12:25:04 PM »
Here is part of mine. I also have books shelves in most rooms of the house and many (hundreds) at the office at work.

Steeze

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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2019, 12:31:34 PM »
I have felt guilty about having 1 storage tote of books in the basement. This is making me feel better about not selling them or giving them away by now.

FIRE Artist

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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2019, 12:54:43 PM »
I used to have a decent personal fiction and non fiction library, but working internationally resulted in my giving it all away.  Currently I read only ebooks for pleasure.  I have developed an art book problem over the last few years, which I need to cull eventually, probably after FIRE when I have the time to really consider each book's merit - make them earn their continued existence on my limited book shelves. 

Travis

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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2019, 03:33:08 PM »
I don't think having a large private library and making use of the public libraries are mutually exclusive - local libraries can't have everything.  I have access to four different library systems currently (public library in my old county, public library in my new county, alumni access at my alma matter, and DH works for a university), and I still have books on my TBR list that I can't find, and will have to buy if I want to read them.  My rule these days is I'm not allowed to buy a book unless it's not available from any of these systems (at least until they realize I moved and take away my old county access), but even with that I've bought 2 books this year.  DH also is allowed to buy reference books for home repair and hobbies that he will use frequently, though we usually try to get those as gifts.

No pictures yet, as my library is still half-assembled.  Not nearly as impressive as some of these, anyway.

A number of my books are grad school textbooks or hard to find books that I've used for academic or professional reasons.  I don't read them cover to cover very often, but I'm dipping into them for a few key pages often enough.  The only rule I've given myself is "no more hardbacks."  I have a few books in pdf, but they have to be text-only.  If there's charts, tables, or pictures I have to have it in paper.

zolotiyeruki

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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2019, 07:34:12 AM »
Wow, so many nat geos!  I wonder if they ever read them.
Heh, my parents had a similar collection going back to 1964.  Say what you will, but the quality of content and composition in those was amazing.

former player

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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2019, 08:29:43 AM »
Yes, that is a library ladder in the corner.

The straw bag under the little table contains the hammock that is hung on the terrace outside, overlooking the coast.

(Non-fiction in a different room, no library ladder required.)

FIREd life is good.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 08:49:54 AM by former player »

zolotiyeruki

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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2019, 09:08:37 AM »
Last weekend, some friends from our church gifted us their Harvard Classics, a.k.a. "The Five Foot Shelf".  Our problem is that 1) our bookshelves are already pretty full, and 2) our shelves are 3 feet wide, and the total length of those books is about 7 feet, so they don't fit nicely on complete shelves.

former player

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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2019, 09:19:32 AM »
Last weekend, some friends from our church gifted us their Harvard Classics, a.k.a. "The Five Foot Shelf".  Our problem is that 1) our bookshelves are already pretty full, and 2) our shelves are 3 feet wide, and the total length of those books is about 7 feet, so they don't fit nicely on complete shelves.
You poor thing.

#firstworldproblems

solon

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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2019, 10:17:02 AM »
Yes, that is a library ladder in the corner.

The straw bag under the little table contains the hammock that is hung on the terrace outside, overlooking the coast.

(Non-fiction in a different room, no library ladder required.)

FIREd life is good.

One of my life goals is to own a library that requires a ladder.

StarBright

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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2019, 10:56:29 AM »
Yes, that is a library ladder in the corner.

The straw bag under the little table contains the hammock that is hung on the terrace outside, overlooking the coast.

(Non-fiction in a different room, no library ladder required.)

FIREd life is good.

Library goals! That chair/mini fainting couch is amazing.

marble_faun

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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2019, 11:16:54 AM »
Loving these library pictures!

We also have walls' worth of books.  A lot of our books are highly specialized (used more as tools than pleasure-reading) so I have a hard time figuring out how to weed them.  Probably at least 20% of them don't "spark joy," but I would have to buy them again if I ever need them. 

As we prepare to move, this is a quandary!

MarcherLady

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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2019, 03:07:47 AM »
I love your library, @former player . Hubs is going to build us bookshelves at the new house & he is planning a ladder. I get the logic of converting to all digital, but it just doesn't work for me, I love the look of books on a shelf, love the feeling of a book in my hands. And a wall of books is great insulation!

LennStar

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« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2019, 07:22:03 AM »
Oh, I really have to get the shelves I need to put my books up in my new library.
Yes, I unmustachianly upsized for having a library (well, and workspace not mixed with private space for the few times I do home office in my new job).

pbkmaine

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Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2019, 11:32:45 AM »
« Last Edit: July 27, 2019, 11:40:04 AM by pbkmaine »

iris lily

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« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2019, 11:49:43 AM »
I had quite an extensive one.  Thousands of dollars (tens of thousands?) worth, and a huge amount of space.  I've since sold or given away all of it.  Turns out there are free public libraries, and I was being foolish.

Since I started working in those free public libraries decades ago I vowed not to collect books. books are The Final Frontier of decluttering for most people, anyway.

I do have a collection of children’s illustrated books. That is my art collection, numbers a few hundred. But since we will be downsizing in 2 years I am actively culling the collection.  I am going thru them in the wintertime, touching them, seeing which ones “spark joy” and which ones I am indifferent to.

And then I do find hobby subject books creeping into my house—manuals that I have to own for my judging responsibilities, and affiliated texts, and then quarterly journals put out by these organizations. Just last week we Went to the North American Lily Society conference where the main speaker came from Switzerland with copies of his newly published book. I felt obligated to buy one, and after spending time with that book I’m glad I did, it is unique about species lilies. And then I looked up to see what libraries is in the United States own it and there is only one library in the entire country that owns it, so it’s a good thing I bought one.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2019, 11:56:31 AM by iris lily »

Sibley

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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2019, 03:43:21 PM »
I am proud to state that I'm down to 2 bookshelves. And there is room for more books on one of them. When I say down to, I previously purged 60% of my books for a long distance move. Since then, I'm very careful about which books I buy. I'd take a picture, but that room is not currently fit for public viewing. And given that I'll have to empty the room to make it fit, it will probably take a while.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2019, 10:21:21 AM »
I totally get the decluttering with books, but do you guys who decluttered seriously give away all of your books? I've given away dozens if not hundreds of books, but I can't fathom not having at least one bookshelf full of books I enjoy and will reread (maybe 50-100 or so).

Cpa Cat

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« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2019, 11:21:12 AM »
I have purged almost all of my books and prefer E-books.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different philosophy about libraries. He put this in our house.


zolotiyeruki

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« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2019, 11:42:53 AM »
I have purged almost all of my books and prefer E-books.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different philosophy about libraries. He put this in our house.
Holy Smokes!  My wife would think she'd died and gone to heaven if I did that!

Nick_Miller

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« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2019, 11:45:04 AM »
I have purged almost all of my books and prefer E-books.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different philosophy about libraries. He put this in our house.

That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

solon

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« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2019, 11:47:57 AM »
I have purged almost all of my books and prefer E-books.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different philosophy about libraries. He put this in our house.


Swoon.

Is that a mirror above the fireplace?

former player

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« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2019, 11:52:55 AM »
Double library ladders, no less.  I would be feeling totally inadequate if there had been any evidence of books on the shelves as well.

Cpa Cat

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« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2019, 02:16:19 PM »
Double library ladders, no less.  I would be feeling totally inadequate if there had been any evidence of books on the shelves as well.

There are many books. That photo is from before we moved in.

I have purged almost all of my books and prefer E-books.

My husband, on the other hand, has a different philosophy about libraries. He put this in our house.


Swoon.

Is that a mirror above the fireplace?

Yep.



« Last Edit: July 29, 2019, 02:18:22 PM by Cpa Cat »

spartana

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« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2019, 08:18:15 AM »
I totally get the decluttering with books, but do you guys who decluttered seriously give away all of your books? I've given away dozens if not hundreds of books, but I can't fathom not having at least one bookshelf full of books I enjoy and will reread (maybe 50-100 or so).
Yes I gave away all my books. 100s. Maybe more. I'm of the opinion that the things you own, own you. I felt weighted down by too many book that just...sat there needing dusting and taking up space and were rarely, if ever read again. As a minimalist I feel that way about most thing though and love the uncluttered unstuffownership life.

PoutineLover

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« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2019, 08:50:59 AM »
I love seeing everyone's libraries. I just took all my books off my shelves to sort and see if any could be donated. There were 25 feet worth of books! So far I've only gotten rid of a small pile, and I have about 10 feet left to look at. I love keeping books that I enjoyed reading and made an impression on me, but I have too many to fit on my current shelves and it annoys me to see books stacked on top of rows and blocking other books so I need to pare down a little. I dream of having a library one day with wall to wall bookshelves and a cozy reading chair.

Just Joe

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« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2019, 10:33:27 AM »
The National Geographic collections above reminds me of my grandfather's 1930's-1980's that was stacked 20 deep and still covered a lot of attic floor.

I had a big pile but part of our cleanout a few years back I bought the Nat Geo collection on DVD. Not the same but much more managable. I kept about two dozen of the most interesting or aged issues I owned.

The rest I gave to an enthusiastic collector.

https://www.amazon.com/Complete-National-Geographic-Magazine-Computer/dp/1426340117/

FYI there is a way to install the viewer in Ubuntu Linux too.

As for books - we have four 4ft x 4 ft bookshelves with our books on them. Only recently have we been able to put out all our books on shelves. DW also has a kids book library on one of the shelves.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 10:37:29 AM by Just Joe »

iris lily

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« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2019, 02:56:26 PM »
Ours—not in the same class a cpa’s, but DH built these shelves from old windows and hand made dental molding.

BussoV6

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« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2019, 03:03:29 AM »
Looks like we have a lot of readers here!

Our books are scattered on bookshelves in almost every room of the house. I just measured a combined 122 feet of bookshelf length.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2019, 10:19:34 AM »
I totally get the decluttering with books, but do you guys who decluttered seriously give away all of your books? I've given away dozens if not hundreds of books, but I can't fathom not having at least one bookshelf full of books I enjoy and will reread (maybe 50-100 or so).
Yes I gave away all my books. 100s. Maybe more. I'm of the opinion that the things you own, own you. I felt weighted down by too many book that just...sat there needing dusting and taking up space and were rarely, if ever read again. As a minimalist I feel that way about most thing though and love the uncluttered unstuffownership life.

I can totally relate to the sentiment. We have been going through a tremendous decluttering stage in our life, getting rid of literally thousands of pounds of stuff. I dunno...if you'll forgive the Kondo reference, I would lose a lot of joy not having at least one-two bookshelves of books that I use for reference and enjoyment reading. If you don't mind replying to this, I believe that you have adopted a nomadic/semi-nomadic lifestyle. Did you get rid of all of your books before or after that (if I am right)? I could see myself getting rid of my books if I chose to adopt something similar, but unless there was a very compelling reason, a couple of bookshelves of books would be among the last things I would get rid of.

spartana

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« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2019, 01:54:05 PM »
@Wolfpack Mustachian I was born a minimalist so never had much of anything to begin with even as a child. Plus had a nomadic job so what books I had (lots) just ended up in boxes stored at my Mom for "someday". When "someday" came (bought a house, civilian job, put down roots) I realized that I rarely read them again, they really didn't bring me any joy (no joy was sparked ;-)!)  and I didn't need them to clutter up my space or my life. So I donated them all years before I FIREd.  While I am only semi-nomadic since I FIREee and owned or rented a house always, I don't have much and the joke with family and friends is that if someone broke into my house they'd feel so bad for me they'd rob someone else in order to give me their stuff ;-).  ETA I do like seeing all the photos as that is what I thought I wanted too. Ended up it made me more angsty then happy.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 02:02:43 PM by spartana »

marble_faun

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« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2019, 03:58:12 PM »
Whew!  Well, I just went through my book collection and pulled out maybe 60 books to sell or give away.  The rest I organized for the first time ever, and I LOVE seeing them all arrayed in good order on the shelves.

It was interesting to note how certain books filled me with positive vibes, and others just felt... inert. The sparks-joy test really works.

Hardest were the borderline cases, where the books seemed useful but not especially awesome. I'm keeping them for now, because I don't want to have to re-buy them, but if I ever get more hardcore about this, they are toast.

spartana

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« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2019, 04:31:11 PM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 04:43:36 PM by spartana »

marble_faun

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2019, 05:26:32 PM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).

Hmm, it's an interesting question.

To me, books = home.  I have always been surrounded by books, and they signal a certain coziness and comfort.  Especially when it's all books I love, walking into my main library room with its walls of books brings a sense of contentment, like being surrounded by old friends and warm memories.   Even when just kept on the shelf, the books keep me company.

The books also form a kind of autobiography, a history of my interests as they have unfolded over time.  I like being reminded of my high school obsession with Beat poets, and the summer I worked for a highly eccentric man who signed a copy of his memoir for me.  It's not just the content, but the actual object of the book itself that holds significance.

Some of these books I might never read again.  But I like knowing that I COULD read them. Or pull them off the shelf to lend to a friend.  Or read them aloud to my future child.

Many years ago I sold a bunch of books to help pay for a trip abroad.  It was worth it, but I still miss some of those books.  (And while cleaning yesterday, I turned up the battered travel guidebook I used during that trip!  So there are some replacement consolations.)

I find it odd to visit homes with no books.  Like some element of character is just missing.  I get that people can use libraries and e-books, and I don't judge them as non-intellectual.  I just find it a little sterile and cold. But I am a maximalist and love having lots of knick-knacks, mementos, artworks covering every surface, so I think this about most minimal design in general. :-)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 09:34:02 PM by marble_faun »

MarcherLady

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #43 on: August 02, 2019, 01:37:09 AM »
@spartana about 95% of my personal 'library' is fiction, (and, gasp, genre fiction at that!) so I don't think for me it's a way of signalling intellect, because a real literature snob would look down on my collection of SF/F but I do think it is a way of signalling my personality. Of course I'm also an introvert who seldom invites anyone who is not family into my home, so it isn't signalling anything to anyone who doesn't already know me :-)

Mostly I just love books. When I was house hunting recently I was drawn to houses with lots of bookshelves - even when it was clear that the shelves would be leaving with the owners, and found myself zooming into the pictures to try to get a look at the titles.

Ironically the house we are buying had no bookshelves in the pictures, but we have plans.

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2019, 03:42:16 AM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).
I grew up with books in a family of readers and writers.  If a book was on the shelf without having been read there was a serious danger of that being found out in interrogation.  No prisoners taken in the matter of reading.

Raenia

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #45 on: August 02, 2019, 06:08:54 AM »
@spartana about 95% of my personal 'library' is fiction, (and, gasp, genre fiction at that!) so I don't think for me it's a way of signalling intellect, because a real literature snob would look down on my collection of SF/F but I do think it is a way of signalling my personality. Of course I'm also an introvert who seldom invites anyone who is not family into my home, so it isn't signalling anything to anyone who doesn't already know me :-)

Mostly I just love books. When I was house hunting recently I was drawn to houses with lots of bookshelves - even when it was clear that the shelves would be leaving with the owners, and found myself zooming into the pictures to try to get a look at the titles.

Ironically the house we are buying had no bookshelves in the pictures, but we have plans.

Similar to this, my collection has very few 'intellectual' books in it, mostly SF/F - and in particular, a bunch of pulpy or older stuff that I don't necessarily expect to reflect well on others opinion of my taste :P  The exception being some classics that I do reread periodically.  I like to read the Iliad every few years, for example.  For things like that, if I like the translation I have, I'd rather keep it, instead of hoping I can find the same translation at the library later on.

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #46 on: August 02, 2019, 07:14:27 AM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).

I'm a big re-reader and a fast reader and use books like comfort food. My husband is a history professor. Our shelves are well used and rotated fairly frequently. We also have a big mix of non-fiction, literature and genre fiction and classic children's literature.

Our one bad habit is keeping an entire series of books when we might only re-read one or two. We do keep a few classics on the shelves that we won't re-read often but chances are we want our children to read them so we'll keep them until our kids are old enough for sure.

We are currently limiting ourselves to three Ikea Billy cases and a case in each of our kids' rooms at home, and my husband has four bookcases in his office which hold a lot of his specialty stuff. We also check out books from the library regularly, but I'm a fast enough reader that I'll finish a mass market paperback in an hour or two.

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #47 on: August 02, 2019, 12:08:37 PM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).

That is an interesting question.  I am a gen Xer, and I would say for sure that in university the books on your shelf, just like the cds on your shelf were a way to show who you were, and usually it was the first thing everyone checked out when invited into another's dorm room.  I would say that none of it was a display of intellect, at least for those of us who were not english lit majors, but it was definitely a quick way to determine if you have something in common with that person.   

Now I collect art instruction books as well as old master and some contemporary master monographs for study.  This book collection is a crutch, standing in for the art degree I don't have, and time I don't have to spend on making art while working full time.  No one but me sees this collection that has been slowly taking over my house so no virtue signaling there. 

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #48 on: August 02, 2019, 11:25:06 PM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).

...but it was definitely a quick way to determine if you have something in common with that person.   
 

This right here.  I don't wear my library on my sleeve per se, but if I'm in somebody's house I tend to seek out theirs and see what interests them.  In a way your personal library is a part of your resume.

Imma

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Re: Personal libraries - photos, bragging, coveting, etc. encouraged!
« Reply #49 on: August 03, 2019, 03:17:39 AM »
Ya all are gonna hate me for asking this but do you think the desire to buy, own and display a lot of books is a way of signalling your intellect and culture to others more so then for personal enjoyment or love of books? Especially if you aren't using or reading yhem any longer? Kind of like buying and owning an expensive house or car or Rolex is a signifier of your wealth to others when you don't really need those things? Why are you really holding onto that copy of "War and Peace" (which you can get at any library)? Is it to reread someday or is just used as a paper weight to hold the Funyun bag in place while reading the newest Stephen King like mine was ;-).

Most of the books I own aren't as widely available as Stephen King novels and I do reread a lot. So that's one reason for owning. I also like reading from a physical copy instead of reading an e-book, but I will read e-books on holiday etc.

The built in book case was the first thing that attracted me to the house I live in. I do believe a house looks more cosy when there's a book case in the living room. It's definitely not a signifier of wealth in my case, I don't have a big collection of hardback first editions. My books are mostly bought used from a charity bookshop (I take them back if I don't like them) and are mostly paperbacks. Currently it's cheaper for me to keep buying from the charity shop (at €1 per book usually) than it is to take out a library membership but I'd love to get one again. In my country you pay for membership and it's not a token amount. In my hometown the library was free for kids and I practically lived there back then.