Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Love for Literary Feeling

Jumping on the Clothes Horse's beautiful bandwagon... I love bookshelves. When I go to a lecturer's office for a supervision, nothing fascinates me more than taking a gander at their bookshelves. One thing in this place that makes us lucky (in my view) is all the lovely lovely space for books. I have 11 good sized book shelves in my room... Far more than I could fill with the books my parents allow me to lug back and forth, but I do my best!

So... Up first we have my two 'down time' shelves... Top Shelf: One half filled with dvds (a strange and mildly embarrassing selection of Studio Ghibli cartoons, Buster Keaton silent loveliness, Star Trek films, chick flicks of an extremely unintellectual nature, and lots of French films), the other half, with juice (and alcohol out of the picture... Such a student eh ;-D)
Bottom shelf: Holst - The Planets score, psychology books, bibliophilia and fashion interviews, my Ghana guide, a bit of (soc and bio) anthropology and some 'classics' - I believe we can see Tolstoy's War and Peace...
Now we have a little further along the same bookshelf, missing out Mitford, Golding, Dante and Rillke, we come to my depressing Russian novel, Kapuscinski and Tenessee Williams obsessions, part of my Cambridge Pocket Shakespeare collection, Henry James spine chillers, the obvious Austin, the Bride of Lammermoor and Wuthering Heights... The stripy spine is a book of ghost stories. The rest of this shelf contains marshmallows and a lot of books on sewing and costume, a book on Mikhail Baryshnikov and my college's 500 anniversary book.

See! Lots of scary science and management... Though some of those management tomes might work their way onto my shelves next year since I'm (*crossed fingers*) taking it for part III... What a strange thought!

Bookshelf organising aside, I really am a bibliophile... I love spending hours in book shops... Independent, new booksellers or Dusty old booksellers. Just no high street chain, thank you very much! My favourite places have to be Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street and John Sandoe Books off the King's Road, both in London. The former is an amazing building, filled with travel writing and fiction mostly, but they have a gorgeous 2nd hand gallery above the Western Europe room. John Sandoe is probably where my heart lies... I've been going there since, well, I was pushed around in a pushchair! We used to live in Chelsea, on the KR itself, and it still feels like home to me. I try to make a trip to John Sandoe about once a fortnight when I'm home, as the people in there are so amazingly knowledgeable, and I've known several of them since I was teeny-tiny... They can find anything, from anywhere too!

I also love to read books about books. If you ever want a quick and uplifting read, Anne Fadiman's 'Ex Libris' is a beautiful little collection of essays. And looks cute too!

Finally... If you're ever in a bookstore with me, get out of the way... I'm a fiend when it comes to buying the things. Always have been, always will be. 

At least I don't buy Mills and Boon by the bucketload anymore!!! (Yes, that was a middle school phase...) Hehe ;-D


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