|Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
So as I was looking at the titles lined up behind my desk (alphabetically by author's last name, of course), I realized that what I have tells you something about me: my reading tastes. (All the more reason to get rid of books I don't like, I suppose.)
As the book world moves more into the digital age and libraries are concealed on screens, I think it's even more important to be aware of the physical books you have. After all, people may or may not make judgments about you based on what they see on your shelves. Think about it a moment. If you look at a bookshelf lined with Norton Anthologies and texts on literary theory, your thoughts of that person will likely be different from someone who has every title by James Patterson and Janet Evanovich.*
Like it or not, people have opinions about books, and when they see you with a particular book, they're likely to attach that opinion to you, as well. If you see someone with a book by an author you admire, how would you interact with that person? Especially in comparison to seeing a book by an author you consider a hack?
Now, as I say this, I know there are people in this world who have books simply because they want to create a particular image of themselves. (Yes, I'm talking to someone who has a copy of Anna Karenina and Moby Dick but hasn't read them and never plans to. You know who you are and what I think of you.) I'm not of the mind that you should only own books you've read (what would be the point?), but I also think you should be honest in your purchasing.
Writers are artists, and by buying their books, you're telling people you support their work. Whose work do you want to support? Whose art do you want displayed in your home?
Since Hubby and I are still getting our new apartment sorted and arranged (and lots of my books are still at my mother's house), most of my titles are about writing (freelancing, creative writing, AP stylebook, etc.), as well as A. S. Byatt and Jasper Fforde. I don't know what, exactly, that says about me.
What are your prominent titles? What books will you never part with? What books would you be glad to be rid of? What do your bookshelves say about you?
*no judgment here