What’s on my bookshelves?


I’ve got books on languages – 29 to be exact. I counted them. I excel at Sign Language, but the rest – meh, just notes. Swahili, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, French, Lithuanian, German, Russian, Latin, Thai, Czech, Welsh…

I’ve got classics – a couple of them first editions I think. I’ve got McCullough, Zane Grey (for 50 cents on an island in Maine), Pasternak’s Zhivago, Flaubert, Maugham, Steinbeck.


I’ve got writing books – oh boy, do I have writing books. How to write the breakout novel, how to write poetry, how to write horror, how to write memoir, how to write any dang genre…

I’ve got the limericks book from Aunt Agnes. I can’t print any of that here – too raunchy! But, holy catfish, did she and I have fun with that book.

I’ve got states and countries and flags. I’ve collected travel books from a lot of the states and from several countries.

I’ve got Japanese character writing and Japanese art.

IMG_0555I’ve got art books. How to create watercolor, how to sketch figures, how to do mixed media, how to do oils and acrylics and pastels.

I’ve got a Stephen King collection along with a lot of other horror.

I’ve got women’s lit, war stories, fantasy, sci-fi, sword and sorcery, memoir, historical…

I’ve got signed copies of books from Shawn MacKenzie, Barbara Forte Abate, Kathryn Magendie, Gil Effron, and a few others. My treasures!

I’ve got several copies of The Bible. And a book about The Bible.

I’ve got style guides, dictionaries, thesauri, and multi-language, picture dictionaries.


I’ve got loads of books about Wales, Welsh coal mining, mining in Pennsylvania, the Welsh in Pennsylvania (it’s where mom was born), Welsh dictionaries, Welsh recipes, Welsh hymnals, about Welsh surnames, life in Wales, Wales, more Wales, and more Wales.

What’s on your bookshelf? What books do you look for at flea markets and yard sales?


Filed under Blogging, Personal Articles, Social Networking

23 responses to “What’s on my bookshelves?

  1. Karoline Stock

    Very interesting, Karen! You put my few books to shame.

  2. I love hearing about this eclectic collection — perfect for quick research on a fiction character or situation! I’ll have to do as thorough an inventory as you have. I know my shelves hold LOTS of small business books, motivational books, religious/spiritual books, books about notewriting and letters, and history, history, history (lots of these are John’s too). I’ll do a post one day on my books and reflect on what they say about me. It’s fun to think of you surrounded by those books.

  3. What an array of books. It seems we keep company with some of the same authors. I new you had good taste! 😉 Nice post Karen. Hope you are loving your new position.

  4. My book shelves are just as varied as yours with books by favorite authors, books on ancestry, writing, The Leper Knights of St Lazarus, and a great copy of Wild Wales by George Borrow. Yesterday at a car boot sale I was thrilled to find four books by Terry Brooks I wanted to re-read. My bed is beginning to resemble a book shop from recent purchases that are to hand when I read at night.
    xxx Massive Hugs Karen xxx

  5. I lost my physical library to smoke and water damage. I kept only a handful of sentimentally attached books. I had mostly technical books, but some fiction. I suspect when push comes to shove, my replacement library will be mostly e-books.

    • karenrsanderson

      I’m sorry you lost your library, John. What a shame. I didn’t count the ebooks I’ve collected. You would find a lot of reference books there, too.

  6. I would be a mess if anything happened to my books. I have a lot of how-to books, Spanish, French, German dictionaries, lots and lots of books I must read yet as well as popular fiction. I need two new bookcases to sort the books I’ve collected in the past four years volunteering in a Charity used book store. Sigh.

  7. So cool having a look though your books, Karen! No question what we read is akin to the ol’ “we are what we eat,” adage. I definitely think that having a peek at someone’s book treasures is pretty much the same thing as rooting around in their head and discovering a true sense of who they are.

    I admit to something of a book obsession and have three libraries sorted by genre. We’re all readers in my house, so fair to say we’ve covered all the categories. And it’s kinda [okay, very] cool to see my own books all pretty and lined-up on my shelf.

    I look for books everywhere I go and just this weekend at a yard sale I hit upon Christmas in July–5 books I’ve had on my wishlist for months ready and waiting for me to come along and grab them up for a dollar each:-D

    I have family and friends who own no books and say they “don’t read.” I honestly can’t fathom how such a thing is possible. Without my books my brain would feel naked!

    • karenrsanderson

      I cannot imagine ‘not reading.’ I just can’t. I’ll bet it’s cool to have your own books on the shelves! I love yard sales for finding interesting books – one of my best resources.

  8. Books!!!
    That was fun looking at your shelves, Karen!
    My bookshelf has lots of books from Alaska -autobiographies, memoirs, etc. I also have a shelf on “how to write” and a section of signed books, too!
    When I’m at a thrift store, I can never pass up buying a book or two. Usually a novel or memoir from an author I don’t know. I’m not much on picture books, I’d rather read and make the pictures in my head.

    PS I used to be proficient in SEE sign language, but am pretty rusty now!

    • karenrsanderson

      See Sign is way different than Sign Language. But I give you an A+ anyway! I pick up books whenever I can, same as you. I usually go for travel and weird stuff.

  9. Looking at other’s shelves is, for me, better than snooping through medicine cabinets. 🙂 Tells you so much!
    I look at my shelves and – aside from my collection of dictionaries – it is like a chronicle of my life: Dragon Green, Narnia, Milne, Carroll, Nesbit, favorites from childhood; then my teen years when I began to explore the classics. College books are mostly philosophy, literature from classics to contemporary, & theatre (lots of Pinter, Chekov,and Shakespeare 🙂 ). Then comes my various phases of adulthood when I followed my passions – ancient history, sci-fi and fantasy, magical realism – not too much contemporary fiction, but that’s just me….
    A couple of years ago, I finally broke down and got a Kindle. Now I am able to stash things there, like Ulysses and Moby-Dick and Lang’s Fairy-Tale books – everything in public domain (and not) that I love to revisit like old friend but don’t want taking up linear feet on my bookshelves…
    For there is never, ever enough linear shelf space.

    • karenrsanderson

      My book collection is a bit of “my life.” But it is also my editng/proofreading career. Though I lost my collection three times…three divorces. But I did save bits from every life and through every divorce. I know Stephen King would love that I started his collection FOUR times! Most of what I save now is, “Will I read this again, sometime?” And I save lots of other stuff…signed copies and such, like I said. And books I want to read again…wow, I have a lot of those! I have a Kindle. I like it. But it’s not the same as having a paper copy of a frendship.

      • No, Kindle’s not the same at all – though I just started rereading Moby-Dick and am glad I’m not hauling a 10 pound tome with me everywhere. 🙂 Yes, those tough decisions about what will we read again. Or need for research/reference. The latter covers a multitude of sins. 😉

  10. karenrsanderson

    I love the reference books because I say, “How is a house built?” or “How do you say ‘hello’ in Japanese?” or “What island in Maine…” I am glad I don’t have to carry all my books!

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