Friday, 25 March 2011

We like reading, we do :-)

During my recent lovely group chat on Skype, something that caused a big reaction was the backdrop of books in my living room. I thought therefore I'd share it with everyone else :-)

You see, we love reading in this household. I can't remember a time when I didn't have 'my nose in a book' - as a child I used to read while eating breakfast, while getting dressed, while listening to music, while watching TV.... I even used to get up early to cram in as much reading time as possible before school! (And, of course, I'd been reading under the covers after lights out the night before, too!)

While I don't now tend to get up early if I can possibly help it, not even to read, I can still lose myself completely in a book, and have been known to read on and on into the early hours because I just *had* to find out what happened. I'll often be cooking dinner with a book in one hand (and not a recipe book! Though I do read recipe books for pleasure, too....)

The Doctor doesn't have quite the same background; he really discovered reading as a hobby in his mid- to late-teens, though he has well and truly made up for that now! The Children have never not loved books though, and I can often find them reading when they should be asleep/getting dressed/tidying their rooms/doing their homework/etc etc. I can't say much, can I?! I know where they got it from!!

We're surrounded by books in our house. It always feels a bit strange to me if I go to a house that doesn't have books around. Sometimes I can't quite put my finger on what it is that feels odd, but it will gradually dawn on me what's missing. We have books in every. single. room. of. the. house. That includes the bathroom, hall, landing and stairs. Each child has their own big bookcase, we have one in our bedroom too, the study is crammed with books, I have a couple of shelves of cookbooks in the kitchen, there are shelves in the dining room, and then - and then, there's our living room.


This is our wall of books. Each of these bookcases reaches from the floor almost to the ceiling. The photos actually show the part of each that's visible above the sofa; there are yet more books out of sight behind that sofa - we have to lean over and/or pull the sofa forwards to get at them! Here's a closer look at the bookcases on the end, to show that more clearly:


(Why yes, those are books on the sofa itself! Would you expect anything different?!)

And here's a view of the whole wall:


OK then, 'fess up - how many of you were trying to make out the titles?! ;-) You may have recognised the Harry Potters? The Terry Pratchetts? The Bill Brysons? The Agatha Christies? Lord of the Rings, perhaps? We've got lots of 'classics': Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Victor Hugo, Jerome K Jerome, Graham Greene, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, D.H.Lawrence, Plato, Ovid, Livy, etc, etc. We've also got a fairly big collection of history books, unsurprisingly - but bear in mind that most of these are actually in The Doctor's study at work, he has at least as many again there as our entire book collection at home! Then there are the Christian books (including various translations of the Bible), the travel books, the reference books, the Elinor M Brent-Dyers, the Douglas Adamses, the plays, the poetry, the language books, the natural history books..... To list them all would require a volume in itself!

How about you? Are you surrounded by books? Does it feel strange not to be?! Or is that just me? ;-)

48 comments:

Photographing Mom said...

Your house looks like mine!!! Our bookshelves are wood coloured, though. There's three double ones in the living room and then...a small "library" room that's full. Love the books!!!

And yes, it's weird to go in a house with no books and for me to see walls with nothing on them.

Beverly said...

I love to read but am not surrounded by books. The boys have their copies of some of the classics in their rooms, I have books from their childhood boxed up in the attic to share someday with grandchildren and I have a shelf of travel books. I worked in a school media center for 3 years and donated many of our books to them. I'm not at all fond of rereading books unless they are Christian or health related non fiction. I have a Kindle now which I thought I wouldn't like, I like the feel of a book but I find I am reading even more than ever and not having to schedule trips to the library :)

Mary B said...

I have lots of books but mainly craft books, cookery books nature books that sort of thing, not so many story books. As a child I was such an avid reader, never without a book. hiding in corners to read (and suck my thumb) in peace.
Now I seem to be crafting more than reading. I still love a good story and can go to bed early and read till the wee small, but not as often.

Melissa said...

We are definitely surrounded by books and also have them in every room. Four bookcases in the front room, two in the guest room, recipe books in the breakfast nook, piles on our nightstands, etc etc. I even had Robbie build a custom bookshelf for the paperbacks!

dogmatix said...

O,that is what I call literary porn :) I love the book shelves. There is nothing like seeing a room full of books to make me smile (book shops being one of the few shops I enjoy entering - craft/music/stationary are the others)
I love to read and was known to walk to my grandparents who lived at the end of our road just so I could have some peace from my sister and brother to read (mmmmm, LO brewing!)
I dont read as much I would like to and unfortunately, dont have anything near as beautiful as in your pictures..(however, my in laws and parents do.....I do visit them, not the books, honest).
I do have books in nearly every room though...and far too many in the attic at the moment sadly.

scrappyjacky said...

We have a lot of books as well....though nowhere near as many as you!!
Most of our books are non-fiction.....apart from some 'classics'.....as DD1 is the only one of us that likes to re-read the same fiction book.....usually at yearly intervals.
In fact DD1 and I are the real bookworms....she read all 4 Twilght books in one week....and once I start a book....I find it hard to put it down....a frequently heard comment in our house is "don't bother speaking to mum she's reading a book"....it's become a bit of a standing joke.
OH always takes a fiction book to work...DS, on the other hand, only reads non-fiction....but actually prefers DVDs....he must own every DVD ever made by David Attenborough!!

qwiksave said...

We have a lot of books - and I love seeing lots of books on bookshelves too. I love peeking at people's book shelves because you can get a feel of what the people are into and a bit more about what they are like. I am always reading (when not crafting) and have a massive pile on my bedside table waiting for me to go through them. I tend to get lots from charity shops.

Sue, a.k.a. midwestgirl said...

Yes, I love reading and love your post! Our house is filled with books, not to the extent of yours, but now I have something to aim for! This is what I most remember about my grandparents' house - books everywhere. Such a cozy feeling! No Kindle or Nook in our house!

Maria Ontiveros said...

I've cut way down on books in our house. Gave away or sold most of them. DS has a book shelf in his room where we keep books for the kids, and DH and I both have a small stack bedside, but that's it. At first it felt wierdd to get rid of them, but now I appreciate the space. I do, however, have two big bookshelves full of photo albums!
Rinda

Miss Smith said...

Yup, I was title spotting. I confess!

I do have a lot of books and not enough shelves which already makes fitting them into my little flat a bit tricky... But I can't not buy them, I like to have them around. So this year I'm trying to read what I have without expanding the collection.

But only this year :D

Rhona said...

Reading this post really made me smile - your description of yourself as a teenager reminds me so much of Emily :). She'll get up earlier than she needs to so she can read, reads at breakfast, takes books to school to read whenever she has a chance, etc., etc.
My mother was the chief librarian in our local library and books have always been a BIG part of our lives. I don't read as much as I'd like to these days but that's only because once I start reading a book, nothing else gets done!
Have a lovely weekend.
xx

Angelfish said...

Wow! I thought I had a lot of books, until I saw all your bookcases! I've been an avid reader as far back as I can remember and recognise a lot your traits in myself:)

Fiona x

jo said...

Love your bookshelves. I have always loved books - it was always a toss up as a child whether to spend my pocket money on books or sweets (but then you could buy a kids book for under a pound - I still have them so I can see the original prices on the back!) When we moved into this house I got rid of a lot of books as I thought life is too short to re read the books when there are so many others out there waiting to be read. Sadly although my boys started out as being bookworms they no longer enjoy books so much

Ruth said...

Can't imagine a home without books. We have them in every single room, too. I think it was Cicero who said, "A room without a book is a room without a soul", or thereabouts.

Kirsty.a said...

Oooh I'm sooo jealous. I would kill for floor-to-seiling bookshelves like that. We had our living decorated last September and most of my books are still boxed up because I'm waiting on my brother-on-law to build us some shelves

Sian said...

As you know, you are preaching to the converted :) You only saw a couple of our bookcases and not the overflow we keep elsewhere lol Actually, when we moved in we had to leave behind our lovely built in shelves and we have to save up to replace them!

I am now of course looking forward to a very long browse in person and at my leisure (please)

Cheri said...

I love books. I love to read. As a child, I would read by moonlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. As an adult, I'm not allowed to read fiction unless on vacation as I tend to disappear when I'm into a good book. But I'm not surrounded by them. If I know I will give a book a second or third read, or if I want it for reference, I will save it. Otherwise, once read it is passed on or given to charity.

Lisa said...

A home without books is NOT a home! However, most of our books are becoming digitized via Kindle and the iPad... I thought it would be a hard transition, however over a year in... I can't imagine living w/o my Kindle now! AWESOME post!

Amanda said...

*sigh* Mad love for all the books. Since we're moving, we've been taking box after box of books we have read and no longer want to half price. Yet I still have about 5 boxes of books packed with several more that need to be packed. I need a truck just to transport books.

Miriam said...

Ooooh my house used to look just the same, we all love and have lots of books but with each move (and there have been many) we took them to the charity shops. Now we have some books on the shelves, mostly reference, the rest are once again either on the shelves in the charity shop or in boxes ready for another move ;)

furrypig said...

I always read lots when I was a child and I still really enjoy it but have to 'make time' to do it now. I must admit that I tend to read books then pass them on only rarely do I keep them. There are a few favourites and lots waiting to be read on the shelves (and a couple of piles in the corner!!!)

Karen said...

I love books and as a family we read lots but nothing like what your family must do.

Clair said...

One of things I love most about (and your house) is the amount of books that you have and your obvious love for reading. Strangely, you've probably not seen that many books in our home because they're all upstairs or in boxes while we decorate. Rest assured though, we could give you a run for your money! x

PS. To anyone that's wondering. There truly are books EVERYWHERE in Mel's house :)

Ladkyis said...

I have managed to get our collection down to one reasonable bookshelf per room, except the study which has all four walls covered in bookshelves. I bookcross most of my books, hanging on to those authors I know I will read again and passing on the rest. I do have some books from my childhood that I am keeping for grandchildren to read. One wave of grandchildren has already discovered the delights of the Castle of Adventure... I am not allowed in book shops without a responsible adult and Mr M refuses to be responsible.

Sam said...

No Mel! It is not just you. The whole side of my craft room is covered in shelves of books, double stacked, there are boxes of books behind the shelves, books in the spare bedrooms, bathroom, dining room, kitchen (cookbooks), bedroom and to try to stop the collection of books I bought a Sony e-reader and donated the books which I downloaded onto e-reader to the book club at work! We only recently threw out our college files ranging from 83-89!! LOL!

jordiegirl said...

Wow, you certainly have some library of books there.

Karen said...

This reminds me so of my father's house. When he died, he left several thousand books to be distributed. Because he took such wonderful care of them, we were able to sell many of them after we took what we wanted. We, too, have bookshelves in nearly every room, but nothing as impressive as yours. As we are quite a bit older than you, we've recently started weeding out our collection so our kids won't have quite so much to deal with some day. At first it was very hard to choose which books should move onto a new home, but eventually it got easier. We do not have an empty shelf anywhere yet, though.

Sandra said...

There is something truly wonderful about books ... I'm certainly not into ebooks, for me it's all about the turning of paper :) maybe that's why I love scrapping. But I'm trying now to get more out of the librarys rather than buy any and that goes for cookery books! I really need to stop buying them LOL.

Jennifer Rose said...

a person can never have too many books :) i love your shelves. the only thing stopping me from getting more books in this house is a lack of space lol i do need somewhere to sleep

Amy said...

Ours are in boxes - though we have a few out otherwise we would go nuts!
I'd love a bookcase like this, but we generally use the library so we have not amassed a collection to rival the Melsh Family :-)

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I love your living room bookshelves! We have something similar in the office but without the corner piece.

We are surrounded by books too, every room, even some of the closets have books in them. They don't get added to as much as they used to due to loss of my income but I bring home many every week from the library

BunnyFreak said...

I would love to have all those bookshelves.

Carrie Rosalind said...

You already know that I am IN LOVE with this wall of books!! I can only hope that my collection will be as big as yours someday!!

Carrie Rosalind said...

PS: Would love to know what your favorite book is?

Heather said...

Great post Mel :D
My sons room has a couple of bookshelves groaning under the weight of his ever increasing library!! I hope he continues to love reading. I was a bookworm & used to spend many nights reading far too long into the small hours :) but I dont read as much anymore ....dont know why.

MonicaB said...

Wow! It's like your own library. Love it. I'm a big book person too, but my love didn't start until my late teens. We converted one room in our house to a library so most of our books are there but you will always find books all over the place too.

Wonderful post...I think I'm going to go read now!

Ginger said...

Mel!! That's a crazy amount of books! I do like books, but find since I started scrapbooking my time for reading has slipped, so I am making a real effort to get back into the reading habit. I am currently reading Pillars of the Earth, however, I fear it may take me over a year to finish as I am only managing 2 pages per night before I fall asleep... probably a good indication I need to take it out of the bedroom :)

Cheryl L. said...

Ooh be still my book loving heart! I LOVE your bookshelves!! What a cool cozy place to read on a rainy day, or any day for that matter! I love reading too, and have a few stacks here and there. And when I'm not in the craft stores, you can easily find me in the library or bookstore! Love it!

PS. I'm a BFS classmate stopping by to say hi! =D

cate said...

my dream is a room with walls covered in bookcases, and I've been collecting books for years, buying second hand copies of books my parents read and I loved, and adding more and more to the boxes in our house...

unfortunately, we discovered withe the summer rains that several of the boxes were damaged, and we lost over a hundred books. I photographed them before taking them to the dump in the hopes of being able to glean the titles and replace them in the future.

yes, it is strange going into a house without books, although we are slowly moving ours out of family living areas into our converted-garage space, so the only sign of books in our house will be bedside piles, children's books, and whatever I've set on the coffee table waiting for me to pick up.

JO SOWERBY said...

wow and wooooow. i want to live in your house. i have alot of books but not as many as you, however i have to be honest and say many of my books if i wont read them again go to oxfam or an online bookswapping site. i love ur breadth of book choices, and recognised the harry potters instantly.
maybe u should start a library service, teehee
Jo xxx

Rachel Holaday said...

Fantastic library!! yep - bookworms in this house too. In high school & college I used to spend entire weeks of summer/winter vacation reading from morning to night and migrating with the patches of shade/sun from bed to couch to hammock then back to bed!

Linda said...

We have books in our great room, stair landing, and bedrooms but nothing like your library of books.

Books are such good company!

Jimjams said...

And I though we had a lot of books! You win though :D
I used to be in a babysitting circle and visited lots of neighbours houses seeing rooms that weren't normally "on display" - and was amazed at how few grown-up books were in evidence - we have them in the study, every bedroom and the landing!

Sue said...

is too small for that amount sadly- my dream was ( if I ever won the lottery of course) to have a house with a library. I love the feel, smell and security of books.

Tracey said...

Being surrounded by books is a perfectly normal way to be in my opinion ... like you, I've been in other people's places who don't have books - and it just feels a bit strange.

The wall of books is amazing!! :)

Debbie said...

That's incredible!! I pass mine on to get rid of them when I'm done as I don't think I would ever re-read a book and tend to use the library these days rather than buy then, but I do still have 1 bookcase full of unread books and another full of kids books, nothing like yours though!!!!

Rachel B said...

That's an amazing wall of books, Our books are all in the office in a cupboard and the children have books in their room. I couldn't imagine not reading either!

Kai said...

We have three bookcases in our living room which hold mostly books, but one also holds my scrapbooks (finished - only 5 or so) and our stereo system. That room is TV free and purposefully. I also have a bookcase in my bedroom which only holds a few books and the rest just "stuff" of mine. It used to hold all teddy bears, but I have begun to let go of that collection. Each of my kids has a small shelf or book case, but the youngest hates reading so it just holds stuff. We are miniscule compared to you, but I remember a friend coming in and seeing our bookcases and saying, "geez... do you guys read a lot or what?" And we don't anymore, actually, but he reads never so he thought it was quite strange! I'm hoping to go through some of them that I don't want anymore and push them off to Bookcrossing.