This summer I moved into my house for my final year of University in Lancaster and it’s the first time I feel like I’ve had a truly beautiful bookshelf in University accommodation. In first year dorms my bookshelf was sterile MDF, lacking personality and stacked with coursebooks. In second year my bedroom was so small that my bookshelf was out in the hallway so I never really cared about personalising it or keeping it tidy. But this year is different. My shelf is on top of a cupboard at the foot of my bed so I see these items when I first wake up and when I go to bed – which is good motivation for me to keep it all tidy. It’s not much but everything here makes me happy. Before sitting down to write this I debated for a long time whether I should simply go left to right across the shelf or whether I should split the post into sections: books, notebooks and stuff. I think maybe a blend of both will work, left to right across the books and notebooks then a discussion of the other items, but enough of how this is going to go, let’s get to it.
On the far left there’s a large black album with various stickers on the front. This album is full of postcards from my parents. Hence why on the right there’s a box of hundred postcards which I use to send my replies. My family isn’t the kind of family that does weekly group skype calls, has a facebook chat, or agrees to phone each other everyday. I send postcards home, and they send me postcards about various things that are happening back home. It’s a chill vibe and it suits me, I’ve never felt homesick while at Uni but if I ever did I have a big album full of their handwritten postcards to look at.
Then there’s the big books: A knitting pattern book because I knit, that’s pretty self-explanatory (it’s followed by a couple of envelopes, I think they have my travel insurance forms in from my holiday this summer). My big, second-hand, 30-year-old Cambridge Guide to English Literature, it may be out of date but when I’m reading classics the super simple plot summaries in there really help me out a lot. There’s then a couple of drawing books and an empty sketch book. The ‘Complete Drawing Guide’ (I think that’s the name) by Barrington Barber, is a really great guide for everything from figures to still life to landscape and if you want to get into drawing I’d definitely recommend it. The ‘Poses for Artists’ book I wouldn’t recommend, it’s a bit childish in tone, so maybe if you have a younger sibling who wants to get better at drawing get one for them but I’m thinking of giving mine away. The book with the orange and brown pattern on the side is my recipe book, I’ve talked about how much I love cook books on my blog before so I won’t go into that in too much detail right now, I’ve been working on my own recipe book for about 3 years, I write up recipes I love, stick in recipes from magazines and write up my own creations in there – it’s a culinary journey through how I learnt to cook and how I love to cook.
Moving on to the ‘small’ books (see above): There’s 4 ‘Beat Generation’ books (‘On the Road’, ‘Naked Lunch’, a large Allen Ginsberg anthology and a smaller anthology) I love the Beats but I mainly have these books here because I’m doing my dissertation on their work, specifically filmic adaptations of their work (that’s why the film studies book is there as well) – I think I’ll write more in depth about this once I really get going with the research and writing. There’s my two favourite books ‘Maurice’ by E.M. Forster and ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde, which have skipped from bookshelf to bookshelf for the past few years, they’ve gone with me to every new Uni house, they’re always there to welcome me home and I’ve lost count of how many times I read them both. There’s the ‘Oxford Book of Literary Terms’, which I think considering I do an English Literature degree is pretty self explanatory. Then wrapping up the small books is Shakespeare’s Sonnets, to be honest I’ve not read them all, and to be even more honest sometimes I hate Shakespeare. He’s been such an omnipresent person in my literary studies that sometimes he gets on my nerves, but this particular edition of sonnets is really beautifully designed and once in a while I forgot the Shakespeare myth that surrounds these beautiful poems and appreciate them for what they are.
Moving on to notebooks and stuff: There’s a lot of notebooks on my shelf, some part-full, some completely empty, some are plain, some are fancy, and one day they’ll all be full from front to back. Stuff is a very vague terms for the collection of non-book items on my shelf: a wooden face, a bottle of gin which was a birthday present from my mum, a fluffy bunny, a chocolate frog, and a plastic cup from Hogsmeade at Universal. The wooden face is an African tribal symbol of happiness which I brought from a man carving in a park in Barcelona this summer, he told me that his family had been carving for five generations and all his profit he sent back to his community in Africa (I wish I could be more specific with the details of the African country but I can’t remember where he said now). The fluffy bunny is the softest thing ever to exist ever, I cannot put into words how soft he is, like life changingly soft! He was a little present from my boyfriend and now that Bun is literally my favourite item in my room, never mind on my shelf. Finally the chocolate frog, which will never be eaten, and the empty cup from Hogsmeade are both from my recent trip to Universal in Florida. The Harry Potter experience was amazing, super immersive and detailed, for a major Potter fan like me it was a bucket list moment which I’d highly recommend to any Potter fan.
Apart from the basic black lamp which came with the house, I think that’s the end of my bookshelf tour. I hope this was fun and not too list-y despite being a list. I think in the future I’m going to try to do some more book blogger challenges like this to keep the blog going during term time when I’m not reading things I want to review.
Shout out to ‘O, Narcissvs’ I first saw a bookshelf tour on their blog so I was inspired to write up my own. Check out their post here.