Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Bookshelves and TBR Discipline

Part 1: Bookshelves
I have a fun challenge ahead of me when we return from vacation in mid-August. We have an apartment attached to our house. For the past 8 years, it's been my parents' winter home. Recently, however, they bought a house down the street from us. As soon as they sell their house in upstate New York, they'll be moving down here full time. (Looking for a spacious home located right on one of the Finger Lakes? Shoot me an email and I'll hook you up!)

So we've decided to turn the living room of the apartment into our library. Right now we have bookshelves scattered throughout our house, literally in every room. We'll leave the bookshelves in the bedrooms and one in the living room for now, but the rest of the shelves we'll consolidate into a single library. I'm looking forward to doing that. Before we had children, I was precise about organizing books alphabetically, and of course we kept hardbacks and paperbacks separate. But with three kids with their own overflowing bookshelves, homeschooling, and our own books, my organizational system has become quite haphazard.

I've been shopping around for bookshelves.
Bookshelves has photos of the 30 Most Creative Bookshelf Designs. And the blog fittingly called
Bookshelf is solely devoted to bookshelves. What I really want is something like this photo from Seattle-based Ballard Bookcase Company. I wonder if I could get Dr. H to build me something like this? He's pretty handy with such things, but the thought of staining a whole wall of shelves stresses me out. The reality is that we'll probably go to Target and get a few shelves for $29 each. Then again, I could easily be talked out of that. What would you do if you had limited funds and a whole empty wall to fill with bookshelves?

Part 2: TBR Discipline
Last I went to our library's used book sale and bought three books not on my TBR list: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, Songs in Ordinary Time by Mary McGarry Morris, and The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif. Yesterday I had the unusual opportunity to go to the library all by myself (sans children), but I gave myself a stern lecture first. I made myself swear that I'd only go to the "temporarily shelved" stacks (books which were just returned by patrons but not yet put on the ir proper shelves by library workers). Furthermore, I promised myself that I'd only check out books that are on my current TBR list. And I did it! I found: The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky, On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, A Death in the Family by James Agee, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and The Serpent Handlers by Fred Brown and Jeanne McDonald (OK, those last two weren't on my actual physical TBR list, but they were in my head).

I'm going on a 12-day vacation at the end of this week (2 of those days will be spent in the van— 15 hours each way), so I have a nice fat stack of books to take with me. If you have reviewed any of those titles, please feel free to put your link in the comments!

Part 3: This Week at SmallWorld Reads
Apparently I haven't posted much on my reading blog this week. I moved my "at-home" blog from one site to blogspot, so I've been concentrating on that this week. Yesterday I took part in Sunday Scribblings and listed my latest reviews at Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books. Earlier this week I reviewed Felicia Sullivan's fantastic memoir, The Sky Isn't Visible From Here. I highly recommend adding that to your own TBR list.

To my own TBR list I'll be adding some of the books I acquired this week, plus:
Hope's Boy by Andrew Bridge (reviewed on In the Shadow of Mt. TBR)
Liar's Club by Mary Karr (recommended by Words on the Page)
Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (reviewed at The Bluestocking Society)
Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas (reviewed at Lesa's Book Critiques)
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (reviewed by Lines-In Pleasant Places)

And that's all for this week's Sunday Salon! Next week I'll be posting from upstate New York, on the shores of Seneca Lake (see photo; House for Sale)!

If you'd like to participate in The Sunday Salon, you can sign up here.


Anonymous said...

Those shelves look really nice! I made some shelves for my middle daughter's room last summer, and they are wonky. It was my first attempt at making furniture from scratch, including measuring (which was screwy) and the drawing a design (it actually almost came out like the drawing). Gwen was overjoyed with the shelves and her whole room and doesn't car about it being off-kilter, so I guess that's all that matters.

I love the idea of a room of one's home being totally devoted to reading. My "dining room" is actually our library. :-D

Anonymous said...

I read "The Map of Love' when it first came out and enjoyed it so much I've been meaning to look for other work by her ever since, but just not getting round to it. Thanks for the memory jog and i hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Terri said...

Wow, a whole room library! That's fantastic. I just bought some Whittier bookshelves, they're made in Oregon but I think they're distributed nationwide. They're good shelves and quite attractive.

Have fun decorating your new space - and have a great vacation.

gautami tripathy said...

I love the concept of a whole library! Since I moved home, I have only two walks with bookshelves!

SS 1: Review of Shelf Monkey
SS 2: List of acquired books

Literary Feline said...

What a great opportunity, to be able to put together your own library like that. I like those shelves too. I am sure you will come up with something you will like. Growing up, my parents had shelves made of bricks and wooden boards--that was all we could afford. It wasn't the prettiest, but it did the job. I'm not sure my husband would go for that idea if I suggested it. Haha

I would like to read The Liar's Club. It's been on my wish list for awhile now.

I hope you have a great week and a wonderful vacation.

Marbel said...

Those are beautiful shelves. I long for more space for shelves. Most of our books are in the (nice and dry) dungeon (crawlspace) in the boxes we moved them in! We loved our bookshelves from Dania furniture - but they stayed behind in our old house as they were too big for this one! But, as long as they are sturdy, I don't really care much what bookshelves look like!

Anonymous said...

I'm having issues with not being very disciplined with my TBR list as well. If you come up with a method that keeps you from devouring books that leap into your hands and aren't on the list- let me know!

Anonymous said...

I ditto everyone else's remarks about your shelves. They look great, Sarah. I hope to get to your Sunday Scribblings here later.

raymond pert said...

I love this post. It's exciting to think about you creating a library room and going on a nice vacation. I'm very happy I found your blog. I'm going to add you to my blogroll. Please let me know if you object.

anno said...

Wow, there are some beautiful shelves out there! The problem I have with some of the more creative approaches is that they seem to be more about the design than the books, and the reality is that we have a lot of books to handle. My husband keeps telling me that someday he's going to make beautiful shelves for our study (and make me get rid of my totally functional & necessary four-drawer metal filing cabinet), but for now, 2x4s and are what we've used to line our basement walls:

Laura said...

Hey! We used to live on the shores of Seneca Lake at the Seneca Army Depot! Great views and wonderful people!

I wish we could devote one room, or even one floor to our books. Instead they are in every room and both hallways. Most of our bookcase came from IKEA or Staples. A few were made by my father.

Laura said...

They were beginning to close it down when we lived there (back in 1992-1995). About the only part open was the housing area on the lake. Yes, we saw the white deer - many times! And our neighbor across the street shared some white deer venison with us a few times.