Library Longings

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Spare bedrooms tend to reflect the interests of the house owner. If you're the sociable type, it's probably set up as an actual bedroom. If you're a gym fan then it might have an exercise bike in it. If you've got a lot of clothes it will probably have an overflow wardrobe in it.




So what does mine say about me? That I am horribly messy and have too many books? I think that's fair.

In an ideal world it'd be a proper library but alas this world is not ideal. The house is rented and nice as the landlord is, I don't think he'd take too kindly to me entirely covering the walls with shelves or installing a spiral staircase:







Much as I admire the stylish looking bookshelves in the last two photos, I don't think they're for me either. The organisation required! You'd either have to have total OCD or be a complete book snob and insist on matching covers for every edition. My bookshelves are a higgledy piggledy mish-mash of books of all sizes, shapes and colours. They're double and triple stacked everywhere. Neatness does not come into it. What I really need is more shelf space.

Bookcase shopping will have to wait till another weekend and when I've got the shelves in better order I may do a couple of recommendation posts by genre. In the meantime, I've made a decent start on the room generally. Look, you can even see the carpet! The blanket chest may not be the proper window seat that I dream of, but it's surprisingly comfy to sit on and enjoy a good book.






I did a wee bit of shelf tidying today too, and discovered that I have quite a few duplicate copies of books. As there's already a big bag full of stuff set aside for the charity shop, I thought I'd offer these up as a mini giveaway.



We've got:



1) I think Harriet Evans is one of the better authors in her genre at the moment. I've given up on most chick-lit authors because their books are utter bilge but this is pretty decent. The other book, Class, is described as Malory Towers for grown-ups - can't go wrong with that!



2) I'm on a one woman mission to spread the word about the genius that is James Lees-Milne. This book is a fab intro to his writing. The Charles II book is really interesting too.



3) Anyone for a bit of 30s/40s detective fiction? I do think that Georgette Heyer's best work is her historical fiction but her detective stories are good fun too. If that doesn't float your boat then how about:



4) I can't resist buying these whenever I see them in charity shops, even if it means I end up with, for example, 4 copies of Devil's Cub. If you're not familiar with her books then repeat after me, they are nothing like Barbara Cartland. Heyer is a truly wonderful writer.



Just mention which (or all) of the options you'd like in your comment and I'll pick some winners on Wednesday. Don't want to make life too complicated by imposing all sorts of terms and conditions.

30 comments:

  1. Those library pictures are so drool-tastic. Have you been to Dublin? The Trinity college library is so dreamy, I'd love a room like that!

    I just have some basic shelves but I love putting my 'current' books at the front like a sort of display. I like to tuck tickets and leaflets from stuff into books within the shelves so when I read the book again (which invariably I do) I get a memory too. :)

    I'd love to have a go with the Harriet Evans book - I haven't read any of her stuff but like your description. x

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  2. those are beautiful pictures. It's funny, i live in dublin and often visit the trinity college library just because it's so dreamy! When we moved into the house i grew up in my mum got to decide all the interiors apart from the livingroom, which my dad promptly filled with billy bookshelves. "Class" and the James Lees-Milne book both look very interesting! x

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  3. I'll happily enter for all these options (that sounds greedy, oh dear). The odds are significantly improved though. I love all the library shots. Our spare room is a dumping ground for everything we don't know where it belongs. Shocking.

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  4. Awww your little library room looks so cute and cosy now. I think I'd have to have a half a library and half a walk-in wardrobe (in my dreams of course) xxx

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  5. Ooh! Put me down for 1 and 2 please, I'm already a fully paid-up Heyer fan.

    K xx

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  6. Love a bedroom with so many book shelves..what great reads you have there.

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  7. I so need more shelves. Love the bedroom with shelves..like that. Amazing books too.

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  8. I love the home library inspiration. When I finally live somewhere a bit more permanent, I'll have a library!!! :) But for now, I'll bury myself in inspirational photos of the libraries of others.

    You made lots of progress in your extra room!

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  9. Oh Alex, don't give up on the library idea, it would be fabulous!

    Mallory Towers for grown ups sounds good! I love James Lees-Milne and Georgette Heyer.

    When I said before about Jackie Collins - I read her books as a teenager but can't even start her latest one. I was supposed to read it before the interview but I bluffed it because she'd brought back some of the characters.

    I'm going to make time to read more. I'm always on the computer and reading has taken a back seat.

    Hope you're having a good weekend xx

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  10. I'd say that DIY or IKEA shelving are generally the cheapest but they aren't as stable as traditional bookcases, which you can probably get secondhand at markets. Mine are prefabricated IKEA-type shelves that I am happy with. Though they tend to sag after a while (I remedy this by flipping the shelves over or rearranging the books to distribute weight better) mine have glass enclosures to keep out the dust and damp.

    I am going to try and re-enter the Chick Lit market before school starts. Oh, and I really wanted the Country Houses book but I have ZERO space in my suitcase right now and decided to get a first edition Stella Gibbons non-Cold Comfort Farm.

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  11. Beautiful pics. I visited Leeds Castle in Kent recently and had serious library envy then. I am on the lookout for an old bookcase, I have got books piled up underneath my dressing table! x

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  12. If anyone deserves to have a proper library one day Alex it is you. In the meantime your spare room looks a lot better already. My spare room is set up as a bedroom for when friends visit, but I also use it as a dressingroom - best of both worlds.

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  13. You've done a good job on the spare room; did you throw a lot of stuff out or is it all out on the landing?!

    I love detective fiction, so can you put me down for the Georgette Heyer books please?

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  14. wow your book collection is immense, i have so many books(mainly stored at my parents as we have no room) but you definately beat me.
    The first two books look fantastic, mallory towers for grown ups sounds very appealing! x

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  15. Don't think my last comment worked, damn you internet! You have an amazing collection of books Alex! Not suprising you have a few duplicates! I would love to read the books in picture 1, they both sound right up my street!

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  16. Such beautiful pictures Alex! May I be cheeky and enter for all options??

    I hope that one day I can afford to live in a house big enough to dedicate one room to being a library, I have wanted one since I was a little girl, and I will not give up on my dream! I love the fact that your book collection is so huge, it inspires me to really get back into reading again (when i'm not writing).
    Great post xo

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  17. My cushions! Hurrah, I'm glad they accompany you as you read :) I'd love to arrange my books in colour order but don't have the space at the mo - my shelves look a lot like yours. I have to agree with the posters above, I went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and was way more impressed by the library! Put me down for number 2 if you would please, I like the covers!! xx

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  18. Aaah my ultimate dream is to have a library one day. It would be soooooooooooo good....aahhh.....cue library reverie.

    I won't lie, that first picture makes me go very very itchy and feel a little queasy, the super-anal-organised me doesn't like it. But it would LOVE to get it's hands on it and organise it. I've been known to organise many people's bookshelves, whether invited to or not. I'm such a delight.

    Currently I really don't have the room for more books and I'm not supposed to be acquiring any more but these don't count do they?! Can I put my name down for all of them?! Pleases? I like the surprise of getting books I've never read before.

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  19. It is my dream to one day have a library!

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  20. The library picture with the door set in the middle is actually in my inspiration folder, I've always loved that set-up but in reality I'd never be that tidy.
    You've done a brilliant job with the organisation. The second option looks fab, count me in...please! xxx

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  21. I'd love, love, LOVE a library, but only have lots of bookcases from IKEA. That spiral staircase is divine!

    I think that colour co-ordinating the books looks fab, but I tend to favour grouping them by subject matter so that I can find the danged things!

    BTW - that first picture looks like my spare room (ie my office!)

    Ali x

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  22. Could I be entered for option 1 please? Used to love Mallory Towers. The last pic looks like perfection to me. If you're ever in Glasgow I'll take you on a 2nd hand bookshop tour. The best is Voltaire & Rousseau (http://www.nothingtoseehere.net/2008/07/voltaire_and_rousseau_glasgow.html). Don't think there's any filing system at all, it's a total mish-mash, but I always find a gem. xx

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  23. You definitely need more shelves, but what a difference you made just with some tidying! I have tried colour coding books in the past, but decided I don't actually like it - rainbow coloured books are the sign of a household that doesn't actually READ. Put me in for any of the comps, I am always up for discovering new authors and I highly value your opinion :) xx

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  24. Either of the Georgette Heyer detective stories would float my boat! Books are just so brilliant, aren't they?

    K xx

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  25. Haha oh man that is a lot of books. Thats why I now use a kindle but still miss the feeling of a real book...

    All the best, Angel

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  26. OOoh books :) I love that spiral staircase, and the library with the green chair in would just make me want to sit and read and never move - so lazy, but good!
    Could I enter for all of the options, being greedy ? I've never read any of Georgette Heyer but you have said such good things about her.and I tried Harriet Evans and liked her books :)

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  27. I'd love to try any of the books Alex, I'm not a chick lit fan but anything else is always worth a try in my opinion.

    If our house move goes through we're having an 'entertainment' room. Planning on a tv & games console, all our music and our books. Hubby is anal and wants everything alphabetised by author/artist, I love the colour though.

    My eldest son is so anal that he will buy new editions of books if the cover changes part way through a set!

    Caroline
    xxx

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  28. I had a mini breakthrough this weekend- on a trip to Ikea (on a SUNDAY. What was I thinking?!) and whilst admiring their apartment set ups, I got Matt to agree that lots of bookshelves, filled with lots of books, is A Good Look. Given his ultra OCD minimalistic tendancies, this is somewhat of a bloody miracle, let me tell you. I'm now entertaining fantasies of having something akin to the Chatsworth Library, yet in our little bedsit. Hmm.
    Anyway, I'd love to be entered in the giveaway, and as you know your word holds great literary weight with me so the Lee Milne would be the preference, followed by any Heyer!

    xxx Maddie

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  29. The Guy and I continually spend the hypothetical millions from our hypothetical euromillions win/robbery of bankss and on the ishlist- house with a library. Loving the bookshelf around the bed though. Something I'd love as an in-the-meantime solution.

    Would love to be put in for numbers 1 and 3- Malory Towers for Grown-ups sounds beyond brilliant and 30s/40's detective novels sound amazing. I have some German 50's detective novels and they are some of my favourites.

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  30. Wow, I'm soooo glad there is someone else who has a spare room (the only other one upstairs) that looks like mine with all the books stuffed in. I've got my computer in here too, plus a curtained over wardrobe and clothes hanging on back of the door, deciding whether they're for Ebay or reprieve or charity shop. That makes me feel so much better but still doesn't solve the problem of what to do when a friend stays and she has to get out of airbed, shift it before being able to open door!

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