shelf by shelf : from Abbott to Atwood

shelf (2)I love studying pictures of bookshelves when people post them on their blog or Facebook or Twitter. I love being able to zoom in and see what is lurking in the shadows. Recently former blogger Polly posted a picture of her shelves on Facebook and I was excited to see that she and I have the same Faber edition of the Alexandria Quartet. Savidge Reads has his series Other People’s Bookshelves which is up into the 70s at this point. And then Stuck in a Book and I bonded over Phyllis Rose’s book The Shelf–although my initial enthusiasm waned while Simon’s waxed.

So today, I start a new series in which I am going to post each of my bookshelves, one at a time, and largely in alphabetical order. If I’ve done my sums correctly there should be 35 installments.

IMG_5453 (2)
Make sure you click on it. Plenty of room to zoom.

SHELF ONE: 37 books, 24 unread, 13 read, 35% completed

Abbot, Jane D. – Happy House

Acevedo, Chantel – The Distant Marvels

Ackerly, J. R. – My Dog Tulip

Ackroyd, Peter – English Music
I have not had very good luck with Peter Ackroyd, but I am always on the lookout for novels with a classical music theme.

Adams, Ruth – I’m Not Complaining
I pretty much buy any Virago/Dial paperback.

Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi – Half of a Yellow Sun (completed)
Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi – Americanah (completed)
Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi – The Thing Around Your Neck
Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi – Purple Hibiscus
I absolutely loved the first two Adiche’s I read. Half a Yellow Sun is devastating.

Agee, James – A Death in the Family
I’m not sure I will like this book. The prose poem, Knoxville Summer of 1915 with which the book opens is the source/inspiration for my original blog My Porch.

Alcott, Louisa May – Behind A Mask
I think this are some of her ghost stories. I’ve never read any of her work.

Allen, Walter – All in a Lifetime
Don’t know anything about this one. For some reason I have been buying pretty much any used book I come across from the Hogarth Press.

Ambler, Eric – Dirty Story
Ambler, Eric – The Schirmer Inheritance 
Ambler, Eric – Doctor Frigo
Ambler, Eric – A Kind of Anger (completed)
Ambler, Eric – The Nightcomers / State of Siege (completed)
Ambler, Eric – The Light of Day
Ambler, Eric – The Dark Frontier
Ambler, Eric – The Levanter (completed)
Ambler, Eric – A Coffin for Dimitrios (completed)
Ambler, Eric – Cause for Alarm
Ambler, Eric – Judgment on Deltchev
As you can see, I am an Ambler fan. Bookseller John in Houston turned me onto Ambler’s books, and as you can see, I’ve become a fan. Of those I have read so far, State of Siege and A Kind of Anger are my favorites.

Anand, Mulk Raj – Untouchable

Appelfeld, Aharon – To the Land of the Cattails

von Arnim, Elizabeth – Love (completed)
von Arnim, Elizabeth – The Enchanted April

von Arnim, Elizabeth – The Pastor’s Wife
von Arnim, Elizabeth – The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen 
von Arnim, Elizabeth – Mr. Skeffington
von Arnim, Elizabeth – Vera
It is possible that von Arnim is one of those authors where the first book I read I loved and subsequent novels, not so much. The Enchanted April is wonderful. Love was good, but not a delight. The Caravaners (not pictured) was a DNF and Elizabeth and Her German Garden (not pictured) was a little tedious when not talking about the garden.

Ashworth, Jenn – A Kind of Intimacy (completed)
A fantastic read and a little crazy.

Atherton, Gertrude – American Wives and English Husbands
The title of this caught my eye but I knew nothing about the book or author. Her Wikipedia entry is fascinating. And she was prolific. I could be on to something good.

Atwood, Margaret – Oryx and Crake (completed)
Atwood, Margaret – The Year of the Flood (completed)
Atwood, Margaret – MaddAddam (completed)
Atwood, Margaret – Cat’s Eye (completed)
There will be more Atwood in the next installment. The first three listed here, however, are my absolute favorites. You can read them separately, but even better to read them in order and in succession.

NEXT TIME: Atwood through Bassani

19 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from Abbott to Atwood

  1. Anthony Catanzariti March 16, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    You have hit upon an oddly fascinating idea. I loved it and await your next post. Have you read Alias Grace? It’s one of my favourite books of all time.
    Sad to hear about Anita Brookner. Back in the 90’s I couldn’t consume her novels quickly enough.


  2. Simon T March 16, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    This sort of thing is like crack to me. Lyn at I Prefer Reading has done a similar thing, shelf by shelf.

    How funny about The Caravanners, which is one of my favourites of hers.


  3. Susan in TX March 16, 2016 / 7:23 pm

    Like Simon, this is my kind of crack – and THANK YOU for putting the pictures in so that we can zoom. I thought of you last week — I saw a whole shelf of Eric Ambler titles at a HPB in that same black spine edition that you have. I was sorely tempted to pick some up, but I already have at least one sitting unread on my shelf and figured I better try him out before I collect a bunch. I’m doing my best to read my own books. (Translation: I haven’t bought as many this year as I had at this point last year, but I’m still buying…)


  4. Gina March 16, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Love this idea … Favorite on this shelf is Enchanted April.


  5. Claire (The Captive Reader) March 16, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    Love this idea! I do hope you keep trying trying with von Arnim. Of the ones left unread on your shelves, I think you might really enjoy The Pastor’s Wife.


  6. Nan March 16, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    Such a fun thing to do! I look forward to seeing them all. I don’t have, nor have I read, any of the books on this shelf. My books aren’t in alphabetical order, but I probably don’t have as many as you. My V. Woolf are altogether, as are my Wodehouse, and John Mortimer. Most of my nonfiction is together, and my mysteries are mostly in one place, but other than that there is no order. I find I rather like it because I enjoy looking around and being surprised – seeing a book I haven’t thought about in ages.


    • biggardenblog March 17, 2016 / 3:29 am

      I have a similar approach to CDs. If they were all in order, you wouldn’t need to search, you’d see and find only what you were looking for, and there would be no serendipitous re-discoveries – which are one of the great joys of life!


  7. Nan March 16, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    Oh, and I have the Faber AQ, too. I keep thinking I would like to reread it.


  8. Travellin' Penguin March 17, 2016 / 1:34 am

    I love this idea. I wish everyone would do this. Looking forward to the next one. Also good luck with the garden.


  9. biggardenblog March 17, 2016 / 3:28 am

    I, too, love this idea! Oryx and Crake – I read that, didn’t much care for it, but I recognized the genius of Margaret Attwood, and that prompts me to read her again. Looking forward to the next installment – but there’s no hurry!


  10. Liz Dexter March 17, 2016 / 4:11 am

    Oh, this is a brilliant idea, I think I should do it, too. But then I’d have to shelve everything first … erm …

    Two questions:

    1. Do you have read and TBR shelved together? How do you remember what you’ve read??

    2. Do you have fiction and non-fiction shelved together?

    The world must know!


  11. kaggsysbookishramblings March 17, 2016 / 7:00 am

    What a lovely shelf! The first thing I do when visiting is cast surreptitious (actually – probably fairly obvious!) glances at people’s books to see what they have. Alias Grace is one of my favourite Atwoods – wonderful!


  12. quinn March 17, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    omg….this is christmas in march!!! luv it….thank u….this is frig%^& awesome…quinn


  13. Christy March 17, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    Great idea for a series! I’ve read – and enjoyed – two of these books: Purple Hibiscus and The Enchanted April. I would like to read more Adiche and Atwood (I’ve only read The Blind Assassin).


  14. Fenella March 18, 2016 / 9:30 am

    I’ve not read a lot of Louisa May Alcott, but a favourite book of mine that I’ve kept with me as I’ve moved residences over the last 20 years is An Old Fashioned Girl. I think you’d enjoy it too. Because you like old fashioned feminine storylines, and the main character, Polly, makes her living as a piano teacher. It’s a charming nice read if you get the chance/time.



  15. Geoff W March 18, 2016 / 10:28 am

    I love this idea! I recently alphabetized most of mine and it makes life a lot easier (there are a few collections I’ve pulled out). I can’t wait to see what else you have on your shelves!


  16. Liz Dexter March 18, 2016 / 10:45 am

    Oh, and I’ve stolen your idea, but credited you, as you can see from the Pingback above! I had to do my shelving shelf because I need to do a bit of a reorg …


  17. Rob March 18, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    Great idea. I’ve never alphabetized my books before, I tend to group them by genre, author and series, but this makes me want to rearrange again.


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