Today I am linking up with Anne Bogel over at Modern Mrs. Darcy for the What’s On YOUR Bookshelf link up.
Last week Anne shared that she loves checking out other people’s bookshelves. Not only does she discover a few great reads, but more importantly she discovers a few kindred spirits.
I feel the same way about other people’s bookshelves. That is one of the reasons I love Leigh Krammer’s What I’m Into link up. I feel a special connection to others just by seeing what they read and hearing them talk about books.
So, when Anne announced that she was going to host a link up for the book voyeur in all of us, I was beyond excited. I shared the link up with all of my Facebook friends. I tweeted about it.
— Amy E Patton (@amyepatton72) November 6, 2013
I even went so far as to invite many of my close friends and family who don’t have their own blogs to join me in the link up. I asked them to text or email me pictures of their bookshelves; so, I could share them with you. That is just what I am going to do on Friday!
Want to participate in the What’s on YOUR Bookshelf link up?
Email me (email@example.com) a few pictures of your bookshelves BY NOON ON THURSDAY. Add a few sentences to tell me about them, or just tell me your favorite book of all times. Friday I will post all of your bookshelves.
Today, though, let’s take at my bookshelves… Well actually, ALL of the Patton family’s books.
They say the first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem:
Houston, we may just have ourselves a little problem in the Patton household.
The other morning I took five minutes and walked throughout my house snapping pictures of every bookshelf or set of books I could find. I didn’t rearrange anything, wipe away any dust, clean any rooms, or dig beyond the surface level of the disaster zones two of my kids call bedrooms. Five minutes later I had 70 pictures!
Yes, we have a problem, but we have probably read 98% of the books on our shelves. Many are delicately taped together because they have been read so many times and by some many of us. So, I don’t plan to do a thing about our “little” problem except show it to you!
A Tour of the Patton Family’s Bookshelves:
A Place for Favorites
The bookshelves in my office are my favorite in the entire house. Although three of the shelves hold some of John’s favorite books; everyone in the family refers to them as my bookshelves. Whenever I feel anxious or upset I go and sit in my office and look at my bookshelves. Nine out of ten times, I instantly relax.
There is something peaceful about the written word that soothes my soul.
John’s Favorites on My Bookshelves:
John loves all things history and politics. Most of his favorite books are direct reflections of those interests. Some of his favorite authors include Ken Follet, Jeff Shaara, Rick Atkinson, Stephen Ambrose, David Nevin, Tom Clancy, and James A. Michener.
My Favorites on My Bookshelves:
The remaining shelves on my bookshelves hold my favorites.
Treasures like William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues, several of Richard Paul Evans’ inspirational novels, and the first of many copies in our house of The Chronicles of Narnia grace the shelf I lovingly call my iPod shelf.
A few shelves up I feature all of my books by Francine Rivers and Catherine Marshall (the author whom I named my daughter after. Katie is Katherine with a “K” for Catherine Marshall but with the spirit of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables). My favorite missionary and heroes of the faith stories also line this shelf. The gap in books exists because my oldest son, Andy, is currently borrowing all of my books written about or by Billy Graham.
The next shelf holds a variety of books by a variety of authors. The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo series which Andy bought me for Christmas one year, The Help, Drowning Ruth– the best Oprah book club book I ever read, all of my books by my favorite author, Daphne Du Maurier. G.K. Chesterton and The Belle of Amherst’s poetry, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and Josh Grogan’s Marley and Me claim important real estate on this shelf.
The shelves directly across from these hold my other favorites: The Odyssey, my first of several well read copies of Gone With the Wind, Little Women– a book that still influences me greatly and is behind the name of my blog, Jane Eyre, all the Bronte sisters and Jane Austin’s novels (thanks to my sister-in-law, Alex). Pat Conroy, Khaled Hosseini, and Anne Frank round out the authors on this shelf. Two of our most prized books remain almost hidden atop their works. A worn original copy(1880) of Ben Hur and John’s dad’s favorite book handed down to him by his grandfather, The Count of Monte Cristo call themselves home on this shelf.
All of my Jodi Picoult and Kristen Hannah novels, two of my favorite contemporary authors, reside just one shelf down.
The bottom four shelves contain a mish mash of books John or I love or have loved at some point. The Left Behind Series (yes, we caught the craze and read these poorly written but addicting books), several of Frank Peretti’s and Bodie and Brock Thoene’s novels, one of my favorite allegories, Israel, My Beloved by Kay Arthur, stand sentry just above Micheal Crichton’s, John Grisham’s, W.E.B. Griffin’s, and David Baldacci’s works.
Just across the way you will find Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, two of the most beautiful and heart wrenching books I have ever read, Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, and my ever faithful copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby keep great company with one another on this shelf.
Just below these great works you will find some of my favorite summer reads by authors like Elin Hilderbrand nestled next to many of the books I have read on the craft of writing- the best of which is my oft read and highly annotated and underlined copy of On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
A Place for Inspiration
The Books that Line My Desk:
A few borrowed books from my friend, Billy Jo, about people who exhibited great courage, as well as, the two voices I gain daily writing inspiration from: Beth Moore (Feathers From My Nest) and Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts). Oh, to make my voice sing like theirs…
Filling Heart and Home
My Kitchen Bookshelves and the Breakfast Room Table:
New cookbooks and cookbooks handed down from generations past fill the baker’s chest in my kitchen. A pile of books John picked up at Catalyst One Day, and the small group study we just completed sit on my breakfast room table.
Reading for the Everyday
Books and Such in the Family Room:
A cookbook I am using to help plan my weekly menu, my Bible set out for my morning devotions and as a constant resource throughout the day, and a pile of our favorite magazines- National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Southern Living, and a few memorabilia copies of People, Life, and Time- fill our family room.
The Decorative and Necessary
The Books With Ends and a Means:
John’s complete Calvin and Hobbes collection sits next to his night stand-a go to anytime of the day or night. (I prefer Garfield’s antics to the silly little boy who plays with his stuffed tiger. My collection is in the basement.) Several of John’s favorite novels about our Founding Father’s line a sofa table in our family room- reminders of the past, encouragement for the future.
And of course, there is the reading that happens while going. A variety of magazines and books- most of which have been read so many times that pages are beginning to fall out- find their way on the top of our toilets.
Please Excuse the Dust
The Basement Bookshelves:
Literally, please, excuse the dust. We just had new dry wall put in last week from the flood damage we incurred last spring. Dusty books are askew and litter nearly every possible surface.
The main bookshelves in our basement hold hundreds of trusty paperbacks, including several Louis L’amour novels that are held together by strips of masking tape. The copy of The Chronicles of Narnia I read aloud to Blake sits proudly on this bookshelf right next to a slew of books that helped us through many some our most difficult days. The words of Neil T. Anderson in The Bondage Breaker, John Eldredge in Waking the Dead, and James Dobson in Love for a Lifetime and The Strong Willed Child strengthened and guided us more than once. Two more well read copies of Gone With the Wind are tucked between these books.
Another shelf holds well loved text books. John’s favorites were about Trafalgar, ancient Rome and Iraq, and the Vietnam War. Mine includes a short story anthology so heavily annotated there is little white space remaining on its pages, a few Greek mythologies, works by Aristotle and Plato, and Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. Several texts in Spanish that John loves round out the rest of the shelf.
An end tables sits on the floor next to the basement bookshelves. Books ranging from Franklin and Winston, to a historical fiction novel by Brad Thor and all Shauna Niequest’s memoirs sit on top of it waiting to be filed away.
Here, There, and Everywhere
Books, Books, and More Books:
Books can be found in every square inch of space in our basement. They sit neatly on end tables, lay toppled over on John’s office chair, are tucked away on shelves in storage closets, peep out of boxes in John’s office, and even fill laundry baskets that are yes, in our laundry room!
Let the Pastor Prepare
The Bookshelves in John’s Office:
John’s office is in as much disarray at the moment as the rest of the basement. His dad gave him his entire library when he retired from the ministry. Hundred’s of commentaries, as well as, all of my books from my studies at Moody Bible Institute have found their way into John’s office.
After the flood we had to throw away two bookshelves. We were able to save all the books except the ones on the bottom shelves. The books that stood tall and proud now rest in the walk in closet in John’s office. Fortunate John and Katie are talented craftsmen. They built the bookshelf holding a few of John’s books and are working on a matching one. When it is complete John will start another set.
Hopefully in the next week of two we will have our basement and John’s office back in order. Then you are welcome to come and peruse our basement bookshelves more closely.
A Thinker’s Place
Even our children are avid readers. These are just a few of the books in Andy’s rooms. He has totes filled with more books in his closet and our attic. Most of the books on his shelves are stacked two deep. Like John he shares a love of history and politics. Like me he share of love of fiction and literature.
His current reading list is focused on all things Martin Luther King, Jr. and Billy Graham. Seemingly two different men. One a prophet. One a preacher. Both passionate about their Savior and societal change. For his honors thesis, Andy is comparing King and Graham’s Christologies to determine how they effected their roles in Civil Rights Movement.
Aside from that, Andy’s shelves are covered with books by his favorite authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Bob Goff, and JRR Tolkien. He also reads a plethora of books about leadership by authors like Tony Dungy, Ken Coleman, Brad Lomenick, and John Wooden. And of course, Andy’s shelves wouldn’t be complete without The Chronicles of Narnia boxed set John passed down to him.
Andy’s favorite book of all times- or at least the one he has read more often than any other- is The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
An Adventure in Hero Land
Blake’s room is beyond a disaster so I only took a few shots of his books. A combination of sports heroes and fantasy heroes make up his favorites list. Right next to them you will find every adventure book a boy could want. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Swiss Family Robinson, and Gulliver’s Travels to name a few. I bet you can find Blake’s copy of The Chronicles of Narnia books!
Blake’s Bible sits well loved on his night stand. He reads it nearly every day. Books even claim space in his open dresser drawers, ready to be worn like old friends.
Blake’s favorite book of all times is Eregon by Christopher Paolini
The Miss Alaineus Reader
Another casualty of chaos, I am only able to show you a small selection of Katie’s books.
Quite possibly the most eclectic reader of the bunch, Katie’s books range from Nicholas Sparks’ romance novels, to Jane Eyre, to St. Anthanius’ On the Incarnation. She has read The Things they Carried by Tim O’ Brien, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, A Short History of Christianity, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, Heidi, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, The Twilight Series, and even a book called The Erotic World– a very appropriate book that was assigned reading for a religion class she took called Sex and the Bible. She studied sexuality and gender throughout the scriptures.
Her bookshelves also hold my childhood copies of her namesakes: Christy by Catherine Marshall and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, as well as, my first copy of Rebecca which you can literally hold a page at a time because it is so broken in and loved. Those books sit next to the final copy of The Chronicles of Narnia that you will find in our house!
Katie does not have a favorite book of all times because she says all the books she reads are good. So, I asked her (with a knowing smile) what her least favorite book of all times was. Without a beat, she emphatically said, “In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson!” Yes, I remember pulling my hair out trying to help her finish that book for a school assignment.
The Books You Can’t See
Our Online Bookshelves:
Each Patton carries around entire bookshelves you can’t see on our tablets. iBooks, Nook books and Kindle books fill our lives.
I have more books waiting to be read on these shelves than any others. I guess that’s because I would rather hold a book between my palms and feel the heat of its words against my skin than to have it filtered through a screen. I read online books while traveling, and since I don’t travel often they tend to take a while to finish. I have been trying to use my iPad as a source to hold the books I don’t mind not owning in hard copy. Of course, once I read the books I usually want a copy to reread and love.
So, that’s me. What about you? What surprised you most about our bookshelves? What do you think we should read more or less of? Want to share your bookshelves and favorite reads of all times with me? Great! Leave a comment and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.