Monday, 19 March 2012

Book shelves - The Den

The Den/ Computer Room
I have previously done a Blog on how I organise or, at the very least, try to organise my books. I'm going to feature the shelves in our den today. Normally when I come home from work, if I find the missus in the den on the computer, I'll sit in the easy chair behind her and read for half an hour or so until Jeopardy is on. The other day, as I sat there, I looked around the room, enjoying how comfortable it is and just checking out the books on the shelves.

I've got to say, I love books, everything about them. I love reading, I love wandering through book stores and just looking at them and smelling them. As I sat there in the orange chair you see, it felt good. Over the years I've bought and read many, many books and it's so nice, now that I'm basically retired, to be able to enjoy them in my own home. Anyway, that's why I decided to do today's blog, to focus a bit more on how the shelves are organised. I give most of the credit to the missus; she has such a lovely way of displaying the books and our other items to make it so homey looking. And it is...

TBR shelf (To Be Read)

At the bottom left, you find my TBR books (at least about 75% of them). I try to organise them alphabetically and then chronologically by author, but you can see some stacked on top. The books are two deep and on the bottom, stacked two high as well. So as you can guess, when I new ones, it would mean trying to squeeze them in somewhere behind and/ or below other rows. So I only re-organise every two or three months now, when I get a fit of energy. It means pulling them all out and starting from scratch. Not that I don't like doing that, as it does remind me of books I'd forgotten as they are hidden in back rows. Off to the far left are the Buffy magazines I used to collect back when the TV show was still on.

Behind the Secret Door
Another group of TBR books, those that are too big or are the lower end of the alphabet are behind the doors, just to the right of the TBR shelves. Also in that location are some of my SciFi/ Fantasy paperbacks that have never made it out on display but that I don't really want to trade in.

It's difficult to differentiate from a photo, but I've read the first four or five on the left, the remainder on the top shelf and all on the bottom are part of my TBR section. (The remaining 10% or so of my TBR's are scattered throughout the house. But I know where they are, thanks to a suggestion from the missus.. To finish off this photo, on the top shelf, behind the books shown are the remainder of the SciFi/ Fantasy books I mentioned earlier.

Secret Door Number 2

While I've got the doors open, behind the second set of doors you find my overflow mystery/ adventure/ spy type novels. I've read all of them, but there really isn't room to display them on the other book shelves. You can see on the top shelf the Sue Grafton Kinsey Milhone series; I've read up to P is for Peril so far but the others are upstairs in the master bedroom, awaiting my perusal. :0) I enjoy that series, Kinsey is a great character and her mysteries are always interesting. The remainder are a mixture; you can see Tanya Huff and Martin Cruz Smith on the middle shelf. That is another excellent series, if you like mysteries. Smith wrote the Arcady Renko series; a Russian police officer, dealing with the politics of modern Russia. The first in the series is Gorky Park. All of them are excellent.

Hidden behind the orange chair
 Staying on the bottom of the book case shelves are those books found on the far right, somewhat hidden behind the chair. The top row features many of Jo's design books. She brought quite a few over from England with her when she moved here to be with me. :0) I've purchased her a few over the years as well; some may be there, but they are also scattered throughout the house. They are nice books, well-presented, lovely photographs.

The bottom row contains more mysteries, authors such as Giles Blunt, Nevada Barr, Edmund Crispin and an assortment of many others. If I enjoy the author and his style, I do like to keep them and I will find a place to put them. The bottom shelf is stacked two deep as well. I vetted recently so will be visiting one of my used book stores with offerings one of these days. I don't like giving up books, but if they are going to be hidden away and never read again, at least, this way someone else can enjoy them.

Reference Books

Just above the TBR shelves are two shelves mostly containing various reference books. there are other books as well; you can see in the middle my Harry Potter books.

There are a mixture of reference books. On the lower right, a book I found at one of our local antique shops; a King's English Dictionary, from the early 1900's, a Family Atlas of the World on the far left. On the top shelf are two or three of our most used reference books; The Virgin Film Guide and two books containing UK Hit singles. Both Jo and I are pop culture fanatics and we often search through them when are watching movies, picking music.

Stephen King and Others
 Moving up another two shelves and the focus is on Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. My hard cover Laurell K. Hamilton books, the Anita Blake vampire hunter series are on the far left. The paperbacks in the series are in the lounge. I also have a mix of Stephen King novels on the far right; The Stand, It and Pet Cemetery (some of my favourites). representing SciFi are JG Ballard, Iain Banks, David Brin and John Wyndham. To flesh it out, a few other horror and fantasy novels; PN Elrod's vampire detective books, The Strain, by Guillermo del Toros and The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer. I've enjoyed them all. Excellent reading.


Front and centre are my Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I've had them since university, back in the mid-1970's. It was a great series. The other books are a mix; I think Jo liked how the colours played off. Free Reign is the first in a mystery series set in Toronto by Rene Aubert. It features a fallen judge, issues with drink and other matters, who finds himself investigating mysteries. It's a well-crafted story, quite enjoyable. Off to the left of the shelf, you can see how Jo has mixed and matched on each shelf. I collect books, she collects perfume bottles. They do look lovely on display. :0)

Some favourites here
 The shelf above is definitely a mix and match, but all favourite books of mine. You find from left to right; Audrey Niffnegger's Her Fearful Symmetry, Rohinton Mistry's Tales from Ferosha Baag and Family Matters, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog at Midnight, Niffnegger's first The Time Traveller's Wife, Nevil Shute's An Old Captivity, VS Naipaul A House for Mister Biswas, Iain Banks The State of the Art and holding them all up, Richard Bachman (AKA Stephen King) The Regulators. An excellent mix of stories. Rohinton Mistry's stories are standouts for me and The Time Traveller's Wife is fantastic.


In the middle right, you find some of our collectibles. Some were my mothers, which she gave to me. On the top right, you see our old family bible, weather worn, but still lovely.  Below it is her Lutheran Evangelical Hymn book. At the very bottom is a German bible that her parents brought with them when they emigrated to Canada in the early 1900's. The dark black book above is a collection of the poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (the book has an inscription from 1899 inside the cover) that I bought for the missus one Christmas. That book, plus the three you see together on the left; a series of the works of George Elliot, were purchased at one of our favourite antique / collectible stores in Courtenay. Unfortunately the owner passed away a couple of years ago and the store was closed. It was a lovely place with many lovely items within. You can see more of the missus' perfume bottles placed between the books. She has such a nice collection.

 Above that shelf are mostly autobiographies, with a few other books thrown into the mix. You can see autobiographies of Dawn French, Simon Cowell and Martha Stewart. Also is a book on Leading Men of Hollywood. Barely visible on the left is a book that Jo got me for Christmas one year, The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. It's basically about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, but featuring two of the main characters involved. Dry, you might think, but in actuality, a fascinating history that I could hardly put down. Of the remaining books on this shelf (there is a white and black colour theme as you may have noticed. :0)) are Stephen King's Desperation, Gregory Maguire's Wicked and one of Jo's design books, White Hot.

A nice mixture
 On the top right, just to the right of the ivy, you find some favourite paperbacks; a mix of mystery and fantasy. On the top right is World War Z, by Max Brooks, a history of the Zombie wars. Close together are four Georges Simenon Inspector Maigret mysteries, a special Harcourt publication. Some of my Scandinavian mysteries are featured, books by AC Baantjer and Haaken Nesser, as well as a variety of British mysteries. On the shelf below, besides the edition of Lord of the Rings that I bought in high school (1973/74) are some histories; The Family of Spies, The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill and Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain (excellent book). It's a nice mix of favourites.

The radio
 The final shelf mainly features the antique radio that Jo bought me five years ago or so. It's lovely and in fact still works. I do have a thing for old radios not that I have a big collection, but they look so very nice. The books are a mixture; an old Pears encyclopedia, my daughter Jennifer's Master's dissertation, 501 Must See movies and some design books. The fit in nicely beside the radio. :0)

Anyway, there you go, a trek through our den bookshelves. I hope you enjoyed.


  1. I would have liked to polish your big silver tray before you took a photo of it ;o)

  2. lol.. I should have looked closer at it, sweetie...


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