|My living room bookshelves.|
My earliest memories include O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Ransom of Redchief." How could I not fall in love with books? How could I not become crazy about books?
I fell in love with the library when I was just a toddler. Mom would take me there and we'd sit on the rug on the library floor and go through one book after another. She'd read bunches of books to me before we selected the ones to take home. Honestly, I think my mom should get a medal for reading a record number of books to my brother and I.
When I could finally read on my own, a whole new world was opened up to me. I still remember the first day I read a book that didn't have any illustrations. How would I know what the characters and the scenery looked like? Mom's response, "You create the pictures in your head." Of course! I'd already been creating my own stories in my head, so it only made sense that I could do that with the books I read.
I raced through the Betsy Tacy books, Little House on the Prairie books, Little Women, Nancy Drew, and every book I could find about horses. Favorites were Savage Sam, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Enormous Egg, The Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time, Silver for General Washington, Johnny Tremaine, The Bronze Bow, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Heidi, The Little Princess, Misty of Chincoteague, I could go on and I. Suffice to say, you could name a book and I probably read it way back then.
So now we get to the fact that as an adult I'm still crazy about books. When my husband and I moved from the Texas Hill Country back to the Florida Gulf Coast a few years ago, I had twenty-seven very heavy boxes of books. That was after I took bags of books, mostly paperbacks, to the library. The packed boxes were so heavy they required a dolly to cart them onto the U-Haul.
Now that we're contemplating a future move, my husband has already said, "I'm not moving all those books again." I just smile sweetly. I'll give away a few books and pack the rest in smaller boxes. And next time, maybe I won't number the book boxes?
The books on my living room bookshelves are my most treasured tomes, many of them hardbacks. Most have been moved across country and back, from Florida to Las Vegas to St. Simons Island to Florida to the Texas Hill Country back to Florida once again. Mind you, that's thirty years of moving back and forth across the country. Thirty years of collecting more and more books.
What books have I been carting around and collecting for years? Well, there's a heck of a lot of them. I'm not about to list them all, at least not on this post, but you'll find lists below of some of the books on my living room bookshelves shown in the picture above.
I decided the best way to do this is to give you a guided tour of my living room bookshelves, which is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. I love reading history, so there are a lot of really great books on those shelves. Also, some great fiction and short story anthologies. So here goes. I hope you find something that you'll want to add to your own book collections.
Left bookshelf (a selection of books from the top shelf down):
1848, Year of Revolution by Mike Rapport
Worlds at War by Anthony Pagden
The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans
Postwar, A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt
Gellhorn, A Twentieth Century Life by Caroline Moorehead
A History of the Jews of the Modern World by Howard M. Sachar
A World Undone, The Story of the Great War 1914 to 1918 by C. J. Meyer
Cobra II by Michael R. Gordon & General Bernard E. Trainor
Ghost Wars by Steve Coll
Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden
On Call in Hell, A Doctor's Iraq War Story by CDR. Richard Jadwick
Fiasco, The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks
Germs by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg & William Broad
Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile
The Holocaust by Martin Gilbert
Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
Vietnam, A History by Stanley Karnow
O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre
Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
1776 by David McCullough
Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin
Washington by James Thomas Flexner
John Adams by David McCullough
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose
Plymouth Colony by Eugene Aubrey Stratton
A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman
The Crucible of War by Fred Anderson
Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
A History of the Vikings by Gwyn Jones
The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England Ed. by Nigel Saul
The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis
Scotland, A Concise History by Fitzroy MacLean
Scottish Battles, From Mons Graupius to Culloden by John Sadler
Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard
Born to Rule, Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria by Julia P. Gelardi
The Hollow Crown by Miri Rubin
The Ancient Celts by Barry Cunliffe
Robert the Bruce, King of Scots by Ronald McNair Scott
Castles and Keeps of Scotland by Frank Roy Fraprie
Mirage, Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt by Nina Burleigh
An Illustrated History of the Crusades and the Crusader Nights Ed. by Charles Phillips
The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain Ed. by Kenneth O. Morgan
History of Art (Fifth Ed. Revised) by H. W. Janson & Anthony F. Janson
The Book of 1,000 Poems by Wings Books
An assortment of art books on Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and many others.
Right bookshelf (a selection of books from the top shelf down):
Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo
Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
Anthem by Ayn Rand
The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
Sons of Liberty by Marie Jakober
Only Call Us Faithful by Marie Jakober
Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller
The Geometry of Sisters by Luanne Rice
The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners by Luanne Rice
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The Unlikely Soldier by Gerald Seymour
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough
Wild and Wooly, An Encyclopedia of the Old West by Denis McLaughlin
Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides
The Lance and the Shield, The Life and Times of Sitting Bull by Robert M. Utley
Lone Star Justice, The First Century of the Texas Rangers by Robert M. Utley
Commanches, The History of a People by T. R. Fehrenbach
Black Elk Speaks by John G Neihardt
Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz
Three Roads to the Alamo by William O. Davis
The Trail of Tears by Gloria Jahoda
Frontier Texas, History of a Borderland to 1880 by Robert F. Pace & Donald S. Frazer
Indian Wars by Robert M. Utley & Wilcomb E. Washburn
The Captured by Scott Zesch
The Chisholm Trail by Wayne Gard
The Longhorns by Frank J. Dobie
The Mustangs by Frank J. Dobie
The Oxford Book of American Poetry Chosen & Ed. by David Lehman
Contemporary Fiction, 50 Short Stories Since 1970 Ed. by Lex Williford & Michael Martone
The World of the Short Story, A 20th Century Collection Selected & Ed. by Clifton Fadiman
The Wordsworth Collection of Classic Short Stories Selected by Rosemary Gray
Lone Star Rising, The Texas Rangers Trilogy by Elmer Kelton
Ranger's Law, A Lone Star Saga by Elmer Kelton
The Pushcart Book of Short Stories Ed. by Bill Henderson
The Art of the Story Ed. by Daniel Halpern
The Art of the Tale Ed. by Daniel Halpern
The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway (The Finca Vigia Ed.) by Ernest Hemingway
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story Ed. by Richard Ford
A Century of Great Western Stories, An Anthology of Western Fiction Ed. by John Jakes
Nothing But Victory, The Army of the Tennessee 1861-1865 by Steven E. Woodworth
Personal Memoirs Ulysses S. Grant Ed. by Caleb Carr
The Sword of Lincoln by Jeffrey D. Wert
The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton
Terrible Swift Sword by Bruce Catton
Never Call Retreat by Bruce Catton
Sherman's March by Burke Davis
Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears
Gray Fox, Robert E. Lee and The Civil War by Burke Davis
The New Annals of The Civil War Ed. by Peter Cozzens & Robert I. Girardi
The West, An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward
The Time-Life Series on The Civil War
Plus books on art, history, guns, birds, wildlife and more.
This is only about half the books on these two bookshelves. Remember, this is a collection gathered over a period of thirty years. By now you're saying, "She really is crazy about books." You're also most likely sympathizing with my husband about carting all those books around every time we move. And no, I'm not about to get rid of any of the books on these two bookshelves.
I'd love to hear from others who are crazy about books too. So please add your comments below.
Note: For those who might be interested, the art on the bookshelves were all painted by me with the exception of the watercolor of potted flowers which was painted by my mom. By the way, she's an incredible artist, but I'll save that for another post. The wood carvings and other paraphernalia were collected through the years.