Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Murderer's Rows

There is a scene repeated in so many books that it seems to take on an aura of scientific fact. The detective, the potential boyfriend or the new acquaintance walks into a room and begins to get an indication of the personality of another by examining the books on the shelves. Perhaps one should look past the books to the bookcases themselves to get a real insight into a person's psyche.

We all have personality quirks that reveal themselves in the way we arrange our books. Some of these traits might lead us into mayhem, if not murder, but are you one of those looking for self-expression by way of a bookcase? In my own case, I think of myself as a multifaceted personality.

There are times when I fall into each of these categories:

Adrenaline Junkie or Risk Taker

But I try not to break the laws of nature repeatedly or disregard the safety of myself and others. Just don't sit under the case.

The Introvert

A very shy person who is reluctant to become involved with people might identify with this bookcase. You had to have known me when I was young.


Sometimes I want to be wild and crazy. At times of turbulent emotions, when impulsive actions are called for, I might need an exciting relationship with my books. Finding curved books might be a challenge.

Lean on Me

A shelf like this may symbolize a little dependency on others. But I get by with a little help from my friends, now I'm 64.

My Way or the Highway

An irresistable force meets an unmovable object. The bookshelf loses and I win. Bend unto me.

Narcissistic? Maybe

It's nice to be the center of things, but this is what happens if you wait for someone else to bring you dinner. Did your mother ever tell you to get your head out of a book? Were you ever accused of being lazy because nothing got done but reading?

A Little OCD

Sometimes I have a preoccupation with orderliness and control. I am trying to cultivate the ability to throw things away. Occasionally a little Mr. Monk in you is a good thing.

Keep a Few Things Secret

I find it best to hide some books away. No, not porn, it is just that only my mailman and I know the extent of my good relationship with Amazon.


I was of two minds about which shelves would suit me best when I feel distant or detached.

Have Difficulty Following Instructions?

Well, the directions were in Japanese. I did have a little trouble learning to tie my shoes and ride a bike as well.

There are people I run into on an everyday basis who have certain personality traits which might be considered problematic. I will leave the distinction between normal and abnormal for the experts and just lump these together as a can of mixed nuts.

Inferiority Complex Bookcases

I feel small.

The Hoarder

I feel there is a bit of this in my makeup, but I am too OCD for this collection.

The Nymphomaniac with very little time for reading. Well, reading always comes first with me, or second.

The Recovering Alcoholic who has found a new use for the wine rack.

The Do-it-Your Shelver made by the Tim Allen Home Improvement wannabe.

My Dream Shelves are all beautifully empty and waiting for the books I can add to the collection. But I still deny I am a hoarder....


  1. Lovely post! I love the tree shelf! But that would mean clearing a shelf..and getting rid of something...and no I am not a hoarder....but that ain't happening!

  2. MC, I enjoyed reading your blog this morning. I love the appearance of some of these bookshelves, but antlers and tree-like shelves like those under "Aloof" are too impractical for me.

    I'm horrified to see that my shelves look like the one under "Hoarder." I'm constantly boxing up books to take back to the library, sell, give away or store in the attic (I also have a little OCD) but through mysterious processes (spontaneous generation, books' asexual reproduction, and books that run away from the library to temporarily reside with me), more books appear on my shelves to replace the ones that are removed.

    I wonder how many of us feel the need to hide books from people we live with. It's like hiding an addiction. I had to fetch books out of my car when the transmission exploded and my husband drove me to the car repair shop. I didn't know whether to be humiliated or proud of myself for my ability to still shock him after 20 years of marriage as we transferred books from my car to his. He kept saying, "There are more? I can't believe this."

  3. Very clever postg!

    ****I wonder how many of us feel the need to hide books from people we live with.****

    That's easy! Just get rid of those people and bazinga! No need to hide anything. (Just kidding. Maybe)

  4. Brilliant idea, using a wine rack for a book shelf. I wonder if I can replace my husband's wine bottles with books without him noticing. And if he does notice, I wonder if I can convince him he needs new glasses because what he thinks are books are really wine bottles. ;-) Nikki

  5. I've always wanted shelves with a built-in ladder like the last one shown. I'm trying to figure out the shelves under A Little OCD. How does one access those books? Our house has beamed ceilings and it's never occurred to me that we could have a maze of shelves tucked under the beams.

    Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza's Inspector Espinosa builds bookshelves out of his books. I assume that means he uses stacks of books as the vertical supports and then places a plank horizontally across the stacks to hold more books.

  6. Somehow Inspector Espinosa described the making or his bookshelves with out any reference to lumber. He did it one day to clear up the books for the cleaning lady I thought. I have tried to imagine his bookshelves made out of books but I can't come up with a clear mental picture. He did make room for more books though and that is the bottom line.

  7. MC, I like to sort books in alphabetical order by author, arranged in order of publication. Then when I realize the books in a series are not all in the same format my OCD kicks in, and I wind up buying duplicates. At least that's what I want to do. But who am I kidding? I'm actually the Hoarder.

    Georgette, I rely more and more on my e-reader to hide my shameful Amazon habit, although DH rolled his eyes when he brought in two of their boxes with yesterday's mail.

    Della, I've done that - built uprights of coffee table books (ya can't even give them away!) with wood planks for the shelves. Just think, books under the eaves would help with both insulation and sound deadening.

  8. I think Timothy Leary or Dali owned that impetuous bookshelf and Einstein owned that bending bookshelf in my way or the highway. Georges Braque or Picasso stored books on the adrenalin junkie shelf. I used a magnifying glass to read some of the titles on those shelves. One is Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel. Have any of the book lovers here read it?


  9. Oh, fabulous! Are those OCD shelves on the ceiling!? So awesome! I love those cubbies in the stairs as well. I'm a bit of a hoarder -- I do part with books, but I've outgrown all of my shelves and the collection is still growing!

  10. I am like Periphera in that I would like all the books from one author to be the same shape and size, but it rarely happens. Even if you have a favorite author like Tony Hillerman for instance,you might have to wait a decade or two to have his works republished by the same press. Even then there might be some books not included. The Harry Potter books are the only ones I have that were available in a set.

    I am very intrigued by Maureen's ideas about specific people who might own these sets of shelves. Spiderman might like the roof shelves.

  11. Love this post- very creative! The pictures also made it that much more enjoyable. The leaning bookshelf is neat as is the tree. You know... No one knows what you are reading on a kindle and you can't be accused of hoarding!!
    Though there is something about having a book in hand.I know someone who has more books than they can possibly ever read in a lifetime but also keeps the mailman busy:)

  12. Maureen, Altered Carbon is in my TBR. Did you enjoy it? I love mystery - science fiction mashups when they work.

    Anon, yes, my kindle saves me a lot of blushes. Somehow though, hard copy books keep coming in also.

  13. I have the firm belief that I WILL read everything on my shelves when I have more time, when I retire, over the next many weekends, during vacation or what ever. That's my story.

  14. Hi Maltese,

    Those bookcases blew me away-I've never seen anything like the ones you pictured!


  15. Periphera, I had a ball reading Altered Carbon. It works very well as a sci fi-crime hybrid. The Takeshi Kovacs series is set in the 25th century when death has become in a sense meaningless. I've read Broken Angels, the second Kovacs book, and it's also extremely good. I've yet to read Woken Furies.


  16. Wait a sec, are you, too, a fan of the site? Love it! I mentioned it on a recent blog post in which I show off a set of my bookshelves...I've never thought about what my shelves say about my personality though. Hmm...

  17. Lisa,

    Thanks for clueing us in on this wonderful bookshelf site. I just visited it and I see so many sets of shelves that it would have been nice to have included in my post. I have go back to that site and just wallow in it for a while.

    I also just checked out your excellent blog!

  18. Thanks so much for checking it out! I'm working on being more regular with my posts--always a work in progress!