My Bookshelf Tour

My library is a garden I’ve been growing all of my life. It hasn’t been easy, though. Books have been lost thanks to my mom’s divorce (one of them ended up throwing away most of my childhood books while I was at college) and some have disappeared thanks to loaning them out. Or I’ve gifted a few or moved and a box went missing. Despite all of this, I have managed to hold onto and accumulate thousands of books.

When I was growing up and religious, I would pray at bedtime and every night I would ask God if I could one day be surrounded by books. It’s all I ever wanted. Now, I’m not religious anymore and worked my ass off for every penny I have so these books are thanks to ME but…I think it’s cool how things come full circle.

So I’d love to share some of my bookshelves with you. What are the kids saying these days? Show me your shelfie? Here are some of mine!

My First Books

The Berenstain Bears Go to Kindergarten was the first book I ever read. That one right there. Growing up, I was obsessed with The Berenstain Bears so everyone knew what to get me for birthdays and holidays.

There’s also Picky Nicky. I wonder why I got that one. Arthur’s Eyes. Yeah, that’s when I got glasses. Dinosaur’s Divorce. I’m sensing a pattern here. There are also lots of my mom’s 60’s books that my Grandma gave me for safe keeping. These are books I loved to read when I visited her house as a child.

Antique Book Obsession

History is my second love. This means antique books are my drug of choice. I have been very careful about keeping this in check and try to keep them shelved high where they’re hard for me to reach so I don’t obsess about needing more. I have a 1st edition of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm that I discovered in a Lebanon antique store. I’m also a big fan of L.T. Meade despite her conservative views. Her books are just gorgeous.

I Have a “Signed” Section

Some of the jewels in my signed section are Julie Andrews, Raina Telgemeier, and Drew Barrymore. My signed Bill Bryson was a gift from a wonderful person. This signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is probably my most valuable, though. I keep hemming and hawing about whether I should sell it because I feel like I’m not allowed to touch it much less read it. Where’s the fun in that?

Buying Back My Childhood

The last few years were dedicated to finding the books that someone threw away during their divorce. My mom won’t cop to it, but who knows. It sounds like something my horrible ex-stepfather would do.

So I have back the Christopher Pikes, the R.L. Stines, and the rare Apple Paperbacks from elementary school. Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You, A Cry in the Night, A Royal Pain, and Stage Fright by Ann M. Martin. The most important find was my favorite series from childhood: The Sleepover Friends. I need three more before I complete my old collection.

On a side note, I’m very careful when I read my books in order to keep them beautiful but this section has gone to hell. The backs are broken and pages are dogearred. I’m not sure what that means.

Despite Looks, My Junk Section is Loved

This is my catch-all area. Ever wanted to know how to rig a stage? Build a dulcimer? Fly a small airplane?

If I’m feeling like an adventurous bookworm, you’ll find me here but never ask to borrow from this section. Most of these books are out of print, never to be seen in public again. Those witchcraft ones take me back to a day in my teens where my best friend and I did magic spells to get back at her ex. Good times. Doesn’t work.

My True Crime Section May Frighten You

If you weed through this mess, you’ll find that most of the books are True Crime and stacked back there three rows deep. No, I’m not a serial killer. Yes, my true crime section has horrifying books on murders and crime scene photos. My sheltered and sweet-as-pie Grandma loves going to the library and checking out the most disgusting true crime books as long as they have photos so…it’s probably hereditary.

FYI I’m an amateur Ripperologist and have been studying the Jack the Ripper case since I was nineteen. So I have at least a dozen books on just that subject.

An Art Book for Everyone

This was my pride and joy. Years ago, I was collecting art books on every artist and art movement. The only thing I’m missing are the most modern artists.  If you’d like a big art section of your own, stalk Barnes and Noble clearance sales. This clearance section just doesn’t sell like it used to.

My Favorite Section

Oh, my word. Look at those colors. The alphabetization. Purrr.

I didn’t have to buy all of these. I’ve closed down four Barnes & Noble stores and this series is published by BN and ends up getting chucked if they don’t sell by the time we have to leave our retail space. So I’ve cleaned up. I love this series because they have a few forgotten favorites you may have to order anywhere else. The Virginian or The Woman in White. Agnes Grey isn’t the easiest title to find in a bookstore.

This also means that I have Classics doubles but that’s a high end bookworm problem. That just means I can wear out the cheaper version and save the nicer one for a later date. Nothing to complain about.

Big Guns

These are the most beautiful books I own and they are also Barnes & Noble published. Some were gifts and some were picked because I didn’t have a story or two. If a bookworm friend happens to have a birthday coming up, these are perfect gifts. There is bound to be one book or story in these volumes that they don’t have and you can’t beat the price (around $20 per volume). Wait. Am I trying to hand sell again? I swear, I don’t work for BN anymore.

There Once Was a Woman From Ohio…

Then there are the plays and poetry. Most were purchased in my late teens when I was obsessed with Tori Amos and thought I was going to be a poet in the vein of Sylvia Plath or e.e. cummings. Nothing did it for me like e.e. cummings. I was in a weird place back then.

I like the obscure weirdos. The poetry books that HAVE to be out of print at this point.

From Meat Lovers to Vegetarian to Gluten Free

I’d say about 10% of those fancy ass cookbooks have been utilized. One day!

Nicolina Torres
Nicolina Torres

Nikki worked for Barnes & Noble for 15 years, in seven stores. She is the author of This Red Fire, Young Nation, and Girls Who Wear Glasses. She prefers to live in the country and is a new aunt to a potential bookworm.

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