A Bookshelf Survey (That Could Probably Double as My Autobiography)


There’s nothing like a bookshelf survey for those of us who enjoy talking about ourselves (and books). I was lucky enough to be tagged by the venerable Shannon Noel Brady and then stole her idea of pillaging other book surveys for even more hard-hitting questions.

I post this now in the hopes of persuading you that my reading habits are interesting, even though I know otherwise.

Here we go:

Find a book on your shelves for each of your initials.

J is for Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. (For the record, I preferred This Lullaby.) L is for Les Liaisons Dangereuses (which is lewd and awesome).

I don’t have a middle name. It’s kind of a long story that has nothing to do with books.

Count your age along your bookshelf. What book did you land on?

The 26th book on my largest bookshelf (one of three, not including my nightstand and the largely unused “cookbook area”) is Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I haven’t officially reviewed it yet, but when I do I will have only good things to say.

Find a book that takes place in your city or state.

On the Road is set in New York (at least, in part) and renders it beautifully on the page:

Suddenly I found myself on Times Square. I had traveled eight thousand miles around the American continent and I was back on Times Square; and right in the middle of a rush hour, too, seeing with my innocent road-eyes the absolute madness and fantastic hoorair of New York with its millions and millions hustling forever for a buck among themselves, the mad dream—grabbing, taking, giving, sighing, dying, just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City.

Find a book set somewhere you would love to travel to.

India is on my to-do list, as is Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

Find a book cover in your favorite color.

I make a point of not having a favorite anything. But green is pretty. And One Hundred Years of Solitude is green.


Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

The Princess Diaries. I’ve read it every year since I was twelve and will continue to do so until the pages start falling off between my fingers.

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

I felt like I was recovering from surgery after I read The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner takes a toll, and that toll is an arm and a leg.

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment?

When I turn the last page of In Search of Lost Time, I will probably throw myself a hula parade. Also Ulysses. And War and Peace. Honestly, my entire TBR pile is intimidating, which is why I spend so much time between novels devouring celebrity gossip.

Do you have a special place at home for reading?

I’ve read pretty much everywhere in my house—in bed, on the couch, at the table, in the bath, on the windowsill. None of these places are especially comfortable. Eventually I’ll just build one of these—or move. Or both.

When do you usually read?

I read for at least half an hour every morning, and another hour in the evening. Audiobooks sneak their way in most anytime, though. I just bought earmuff headphones to support my addiction in the height of winter (and style!).

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

Not even a little—I’ve always needed absolute silence to concentrate. When that’s not an option, I listen to my white noise app, or YouTube videos of rain, with noise-canceling headphones.

What do you use for bookmarks?

My husband, known ’round these parts as Spiderman, is among the seeming minority of people who collect and use bookmarks. So if there’s one around (and there usually is), I indulge in this minor luxury. Otherwise it’s scrap paper, receipts, stray cash, or candy wrappers to the rescue.

Are your book spines creased or unbroken?

I go out of my way to break my books in. They need to feel loved, because they are.

What is the last book you bought?

That honor goes to the tiny, hand-crafted OK Cupid Messages I Have Not Responded To by Delphine Bedient. I bought it in a book spree at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.

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What are some books that won’t be joining your bookshelf?

East of Eden (I’ve heard just about enough out of you, Steinbeck) and Game of Thrones (I don’t think I’ll like it, and it’s too long to try out “just in case”).

I hereby tag Cátia at The Girl Who Read Too Much, Self at Kanlaon, and brand new blogger Marie at MarieLikesBigBooks, to enlighten us all on their own reading habits.

Until next time! Here’s hoping my TBR pile shrinks magically while I watch Community.

5 thoughts on “A Bookshelf Survey (That Could Probably Double as My Autobiography)

  1. Pingback: A Bookshelf Survey (Tagged by j4mieleigh) | Kanlaon

  2. Reblogged this on The 100 Greatest Books Challenge and commented:

    I’m (halfway) on vacation this week, so I’ve been (halfway) lazy about this blog. #sorrynotsorry

    In the interest of gathering my strength for the last 9 books of The 100 Greatest Books Challenge, I am re-posting this bookshelf survey from last December. Needless to say, I am utterly fascinating and so is my bookshelf.

    Happy reading!

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