The Ultimate Shelfie: What’s in My Bookcase?

The Ultimate Shelfie: What's in My Bookcase?

As you may know if you’ve watched any of my videos, my bookcase is my go-to background for photos and videos. A few weeks ago, when I posted its pic in the background of my successful editing celebration (below), someone asked for a bookshelf tour.

4-16 Number One_edited-1 800

Request granted!

The Bookshelf

First off, the bookshelf itself. When my siblings and I graduated high school, my parents gave us each a comparatively “big” gift. Since it was landmark moment in life, I wanted something that I would use for the rest of my life. So I chose a hand-crafted bookcase. As you can see, I should have asked for two…

1 Full Bookshelf

Shelf Goodies

Other than books, of course, the shelves also store some literal goodies–my stash of Dove chocolate for munching on my mornings off when relaxing with my reading, as well as Spry peppermints and Yum Earth hard candy drops.

3 Candy

Then we’ve got good old Elmer the shelf horse, who’s so ugly he’s absolutely adorable.

5 Elmer

This is a cool box someone gave me. Whatever came inside it is long gone, but the box is just too nifty to get rid of.

6 Box

Then we have my pile of “currently reading” books–my Kindle, the latest copy of The Writer magazine, and Magnus Magnusson’s epic history tome on Scotland.

4 Current Books

The Main Attraction: Books

And that brings us to the books themselves. They’re organized by author last name, starting with fiction. Here are a few of the highlights:

This is one of my childhood favorites. I picked up three or four of the Trixie Belden mysteries at a garage sale when I was ten or eleven. I bought them for a quarter or so, because a few of them had horses on the cover. I still love Trixie and her gang and their clubhouse misadventures (I even had a clubhouse like theirs when I was little).

7 Trixie Belden

The third shelf is dominated by my (still incomplete) hardcover collection of Patrick O’Brian’s amazing Aubrey/Maturin books.

9 Aubrey Maturin

Now, this shelf holds my favorites. But then I’m prejudiced. On the fourth shelf, these possibly familiar titles separate the fiction from the non.

10 My Books

And then we have… writing books!

11 Writing Books

Lots and lots of writing books!

12 Writing Books

Here you can see some of my history books, on the left side of the shelf–and all the books that don’t fit (plus the dust jacket from Scotland).

14 Overflow

And, finally, it’s not actually in the bookcase, but just because it makes me happy, the personalized notebook reader Hannah Wilson sent me after reading Storming:

15 Extras

And that’s my shelfie!

Let’s chat! What’s your bookcase look like? How many books do you think you own? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. Top of the mornin to ya!

    Lovely post. I’ve definitely noticed the go to background hand crafted bookshelf lurking in all the videos. Whenever I see it, I always say what a nice bookshelf that is. So now we get an awesome book tour, or Shelfie.

    1. Celebration photo- love that picture. Looks like you’re about to deck somebody.

    2. Shelf Horse- I like Elmer! He’s a cutie. ????

    3. Trixie Belden- Never heard of this series but it looks cool. Has an adventurous vintage feel to it.

    4. The Long Roll- looks like an interesting book. I need to research the civil war so this might make my TBR list.

    5. That’s quite a Patrick O’brien collection! ?????

    6. Favorites- Some of your books are translated into Korean and Japanese! Nice.
    Also what is Dear Colin? I’ve never seen it before.

    7. Writing books- I LOVE this section. Too many juicy books to comment on.

    8. Beautiful history books.

    9. I have 3 bookshelves. One is filled with textbooks, one filled with ministry/spiritual books, and the other is a currently reading random shelf. There’s another in the garage, but it’s currently collecting dust.

    10. How many books I have? Most of my books are on my kindle. Then there are books on Isilo, kobo, Google play, Adobe/PDF books, and IBooks. The kids have an expanding shelf of books too. All together easily over a thousand books, and counting!! ??????????????

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Ah, yes, Dear Colin. I forgot that was in there. That’s actually the only fan-fic I’ve ever written. Also the only collaboration I’ve ever written. A friend and I wrote it as a sequel to the Scottish indie film Drear Frankie. I printed off a few copies just for us.

    • Hello there! I’m new to your website, having just subscribed from my desk here in Auckland New Zealand. Bookshelves! Now they really are a thing, especially when you have to clear out your writing room for a repaint. It was so hard to let go some of my books but the ones that have earned the right to be back on my shelves are the ones that I will dive into again and again. I’ve got books on writing, my father’s childhood books, my Alice Monroe short stories and Elizabeth Strout novels plus short stories, novels and children’s books from acclaimed New Zealand authors. When I hit a speed bump, I need only swivel around on my chair, gaze at these amazing titles and feel inspired to keep writing. Meanwhile I’m loving your website, especially now that I need all the hints I can lay my hands on to start a sequel to my yet-to-be-published junior fiction novel. Thank you!

  2. Do I spy Little House on the Prairie? 😉 That series is one of the first I remember reading. Farmer Boy has always been my favorite.
    I don’t even want to think about how many books in my house….they’re practically spilling out everywhere. There aren’t enough bookcases for them all! 😀

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      You do! I read those books over and over when I was young. Can’t quite bring myself to get rid of them even though they’re just ratty paperbacks. Farmer Boy was always my favorite too.

  3. I wish I had my bookcases up! We keep thinking we’re going to move, so I haven’t had my books in a case in 5.5 years. :*( I actually got rid of about 3 – 4 boxes worth of books a few weeks ago, just to make moving easier! I’m hopeful wherever we go to next, I’ll have an office where I can have all my books in a (hopefully built-in) bookcase. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, a whole of bookcases–with a window seat–would be ideal. 🙂 And a fireplace.

    • How tragic. TT^TT I know how that feels, though. I have loads of books, decorations, art supplies, puzzles, etc. that I’ve never unpacked because of the several times I was supposed to be able to move out, only to lose each opportunity. DX

      When I was a teenager, I came up with house designs where half the walls were floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and any typically unused space (like the side of the staircase) was taken up by more bookshelves. ^_^

  4. I love your bookshelf. I have several of my own and have always had more books than I could store on them. Getting a Kindle just made that physical problem more manageable. Love the shelfie.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Yes, I *love* that the Kindle makes storing books so much easier. Sometimes I think of totally switching my library over to digital. But, of course, the thought of getting rid of all these beauties is too horrible!

  5. This will sound sad, because of course it is, but due to some unfortunate circumstances I have one physical book: Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols. I don’t think any of my friends who help me move particularly found this upsetting. ‘You have ten million books! Right here on your Kindle. You don’t need the rest. Keep charged and read on.’
    I enjoyed the tour. Shelfie, as a term, is fitting and very cute. It is an impressive collection. Like Ben I had never heard of Trixie, but I’m thinking this might be due to an excess of Y chromosome. I read quite of bit of Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys at that age.

    Get another bookshelf and let’s see Shelfie II: The Unveiling!

  6. LM Hinton says:

    I’m a book junkie! We have nine huge bookcases in the house and still have books piled high. Lucky for my kindle or there wouldn’t be room for people and dogs in my house!

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Then I would be in heaven browsing through your house! :p I love exploring other people’s books.

      • Ooo, I love exploring other people’s books, too. 😀

        I met someone who kept hers locked behind glass. I asked her about it, and the answers were, no, she had never read any of them, no, she never let other people read them, and no, she never intended to read them herself.

        Who on earth does that?? 0_0

  7. I love your ‘shelfie’ (and the term), and seeing what another writer likes to have within reach of her desk. My kindle says it currently contains 136 books, but I have no idea how many paper books there are in our house. My office has two tall bookcases; my hubby’s office has one; and upstairs in our guest room there is another — all crammed full. Then there are the boxes in the basement with children’s books and old oddities that I’ve collected from garage sales, etc.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Lack of space is a good thing sometimes. It keeps me down to one bookcase, which prevents me from keeping books I’ll never read again. My policy is to keep only books I know I want to re-read (although some of the non-fic in my bookcase are books I’ve *yet* to read).

      • “Lack of space is a good thing sometimes. It keeps me down to one bookcase, which prevents me from keeping books I’ll never read again.”

        Heathen! Heeeeaaatheeeennnnn!!! D:

        • K.M. Weiland says:

          Oh sure, thanks for dashing my silver lining. 😉

          • I found out years ago that I’m a bad judge of what books I’ll end up (trying to) reread, so I just keep everything. I’m often going back for references, to recommend them for other people to read, or just for nostalgia’s sake. 🙂

            I always had deep regrets about letting go of a giant book of fairy tales. Not your typical tired rewrites like Rumpelstiltskin and Red Riding Hood, but new (for their time), original, and deeply fascinating tales. I told myself I was too old, so I shouldn’t keep it. I completely forgot the fact that I myself am a writer and need to have books to draw inspiration from, especially warm, familiar favorites. But worse than that, I gave up a tangible piece of my childhood and my earliest (at all!) memories of my life when my mom was reading them to me, and when I later read them to myself (about a year before anyone else my age that I knew… and they were NOT Kindergarten level reading).

            When I found out that the person I gave it to was my own brother, you have no idea how relieved I was! 😀 He decided to be nice and let me borrow it from him, and I’ve read everything in it.

            Only problem is, he let me borrow it about four or five years ago and I still haven’t given it back… >.>;

          • K.M. Weiland says:

            We had a book of fairy tales like that when I was a kid. I don’t remember what happened to it, but the stories and the pictures have stuck with me vividly.

  8. Tricia Farnum says:

    I’ve actually heard of Trixie Belden! Used to read them myself years (and years!) ago. Thanks for the fun tour. So where do you keep the Donckels truffles? 😉

  9. Christine says:

    My bookshelf has overflowed. I have my big bookshelf, a shelf above my window, a shelf above my bed, and two small crates that I hung on my wall for more shelf space. (That was a Pinterest project that turned into calling my dad for help, haha.) As shelf decor, I have several Willow Tree figurines, seashells, pictures, and more random items. Different places are uniquely organized. My bookshelf is alphebatized, the window shelf has two sections, Little House on the Prairie and animals (which are alphebatized), one box has Lois Walfrid Johnson books, the other box has Wayne Thomas Batson and Lois Lowry, and my bed has classics (size), missionaries (date), devotionals (random), C.S. Lewis, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I love that you have a whole Little House on the Prairie section! I just remembered I actually do have a second bookshelf for resource books and lots of decorative odds and ends. I’ll have to share that one with you guys sometime too!

  10. robert easterbrook says:

    A few months ago, my mother died, and I was not my usual self. But while I had to deal with that, at the same, I had to move to a new home. I was wrecked at the end of all that, and I’m still recovering – made harder by the fact that my sister’s husband died yesterday. So I’m going through it all again; not the moving home, that is.

    Anyhow, my bookshelf isn’t organized yet. I got a mess of books and DVDs to to wade through, sort, and stack on the shelves. But, thought I’d be sociable and share some of what I got …

    Like you, I have many books on writing – yours at no there, because I have the digital copies. 😉 I have, for instance, James Scot Bell’s (a familiar name to you, I’m sure) Conflict & Suspense, which as been invaluable for the types of stories I write. Philip Athans’ The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, which was useful getting a grip on writing Sci-fi. And though I write Sci-fi/crime and paranormal/crime stories, I did try my hand at fantasy in my short story Aestralus 13. And, of course, given my penchant for ‘crime’, I have The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing.

    I still have a copy of John Marsden’s (the man who wrote: Tomorrow, When the War began – made into a movie) Everything I Know About Writing, which was the first book I ever read about writing fiction.

    My current reading list: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and The Secret in their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri. What I read before these: The boy in the striped pyjamas by John Boyne and The November Man by Bill Granger.

    Non-fiction is a range of language, linguistics and statistics books.

    The things I’m researching to polish books I’ve written (but not yet gotten published *groan*): The psychology of love by Sigmund Freud. This research is for my paranormal/crime book Do robots dream of Love? I’m researching zeppelins at the moment, too, for my Sci-fi/crime book Reciprocity: The Lledumar Saga, Book 2.

    Some books I plan to read next: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (because the TV series scared the hell outta me :)), and Mightier than the Sword by Jeffrey Archer.

    Oh, and I have a bag of chocolates in my bedside drawer – food for thought. 😉

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Very sorry to hear about your losses! 🙁 Hang in there.

      I don’t think I’ve read any of the books you’ve mentioned. Obviously, I need to add to my TBR pile!

    • I’m so sorry to hear about all that. That’s got to be really hard.

      I thought I recognized one of the writing books you mentioned, but it turns out it was a slightly different title. We have dozens of them in this house, almost all ordered through Writer’s Digest. I think our most used one is The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and it is. Torn. Up. The strip of cardboard that glues the pages to the spine is broken open in the “Celtic” section, they’re all threatening to just pop apart any time, and the top of the spine looks like someone took a bite out of it. (I mean, I talk about “devouring” books all the time, but really.) I don’t know why, but having books that are so worn out from use makes me feel proud of… something…

  11. A shelfie! I love that! Thanks for the little tour 🙂 I have a built in bookcase in my closet, that for me, is way too small! So, most of my books are in piles, baskets and stacks around my room. And the ones I don’t read that often, but are still my favorites (my children’s books that I can’t part with!) are in boxes under my bed. Nothing like sleeping on great literature!

  12. I saw several books, especially in your writing books section, that I also have — Story Engineering, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Techniques of the Selling Writer, to name a few — and some that I don’t — Second Sight, Lights! Camera! Action!, From Where You Dream, and some others. You’ve a very nice collection, though!

    As for how many books I have, well,… some time ago I put together a spreadsheet to document all of my books. The intent was not only to document what I owned, but also what I’ve read and what I haven’t read, and to document the different genres. Like many, I tend to buy them faster than I read them. LOL

    I’ve a total of 11 shelves of various sizes that I keep everything on, and some of them serve multiple purposes. To give just one example, one shelf — a wire shelf — houses a small collection of reference books, magazines (Writer’s Digest and The Writer and a couple of Mac|Life mags), my printer, my electric pencil sharpener, a small drawer unit with 8 drawers in it (this holds all kinds of things, including batteries, a couple of sets of screwdrivers, highlighters, colored pencils, a couple of junk drawers, etc), a shelf devoted to envelopes for mailing manuscripts, a couple of reams of printer paper, a saddle-stitch stapler for binding my own pamphlets/chapbooks, and more.

    Total number of books? Per my spreadsheet, 403 fiction, 270 non-fiction, and 58 reference, giving 731. However, I haven’t updated this spreadsheet since December 2014, and I’ve bought many more books since then. And this inventory doesn’t include what I have on my Kindle.

    As for categories of books, I have fantasy, science fiction, horror, history (Civil War, medieval, Victorian/Edwardian era), mythology (British Isles, Maaori, Classical, world), computer reference books (I have a Bachelor’s in Digital Media and Web Technology, so these reflect that plus many Mac software reference books), language instruction (Portuguese and French, and a Chippewa dictionary, ’cause I’m part Chippewa), writing books (tons! of these), religious (8 different translations of the Bible, all of which I’ve read, a couple of them multiple times, and there are other translations I’ve read that I no longer own — I’m Christian, Reformed Presbyterian; the Koran, which I’ve read; some Buddhist scriptures, which I’ve read, partly because I’ve lived in Buddhist countries — Thailand and Japan, in fact — and partly because I’ve had a lifelong interest in religion; books on the occult, witchcraft, paganism, and other things). As for my Bibles, I own (or have owned) and have read the Protestant, Catholic, and the Greek/Slavonic Canons, which means I’ve read all of the Apocrypha, and I hope to go through the Gnostic Gospels sometime, too.

    Sadly, I lost hundreds of books in a storage unit incident about 10 years ago. I used to have a copy of the Book of Mormon, given to me by an old co-worker, and I read that, too. That was lost in that incident, too.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Ah, you’re giving me shelf envy! :p Fascinating though–thanks for the insight into your library!

      • Shelf envy. That’s the phrase for it. 😀
        “How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy” Ahhh, so that IS included in that picture. I was actually wondering whether she might have had that one. I see it now. I didn’t recognize it because the cover is different from our copy. XD

        “some time ago I put together a spreadsheet to document all of my books. The intent was not only to document what I owned, but also what I’ve read and what I haven’t read, and to document the different genres. Like many, I tend to buy them faster than I read them.”

        Get out of my head. Stop it. Leeeeave my head! DX

        Okay, in reality when I tried doing that, I failed miserably because it was sooo tedious. D: But I was actually trying to do everything you described here. I tried doing it for manga I’ve read and anime and movies I’ve watched… with the same results. XD

        • Gary Townsend says:

          I update that spreadsheet rarely these days, but it’s still useful — to some degree. At the very least, it means that I don’t have to document what I’ve already been documented. I’d only have to add the new stuff. Went to B&N today, and bought two new books, both fantasy novels — as an example of new stuff that would need to be added — so my addiction continues unabated. 😀 LOL

          I’d have to find the spreadsheet, but I believe it also documents all the movies and music CDs I own, and that isn’t up to date, either. I may (or may not) update it eventually. LOL

          I’d love to make my life as digital as possible, so that all my books, for example, like all my music, are either on my computer or on the Cloud. All my music is in both places, but I’m a long, long way from having my library completely digital.

          Some of my books are so old that it would be difficult to get them in digital form, unless I digitized them myself. For example, my copy of de Camp & de Camp’s 1975 edition of SCIENCE FICTION HANDBOOK, REVISED isn’t available in a digital copy (this book’s still relevant for the writer, in my opinion, save for the typewriter references; even the record-keeping instruction is relevant, although you probably wouldn’t want to do that on index cards, as the de Camps advise).

          And some I wouldn’t want digitized at all, such as an 1841 Swedish translation of Martin Luther’s Shorter Catechism given to me by a friend. It includes a handwritten inscription by the original owner, a girl named Maga Cari AndersDotter, and the inscription is dated 26 Mar 1842. This little thing isn’t collectible or valuable — it’s in pretty bad shape, actually — but it’s a fascinating piece of history.

  13. Elmer? Your horse’s name is Elmer? As in… Elmer’s Glue? 0_0 You demon.

    Also, lady, that bookshelf is way too neat and tidy for me to take you seriously. Try harder. -_-

    I recognize a few titles up there. Yours, of course. 🙂 Also, 45 Master Characters, which is currently sitting on my mom’s bookshelf, and Why You Act the Way You Do, which is sitting on MY bookshelf. I haven’t finished reading it, though, and after learning about MBTI types, I feel more fascinated with those over the weird sinus-congested name combos of chlor-phleg and phleg-mel and stuff like that. 😛 I have the entire Little House collection (not finished reading), and I think I saw Little Women up there, which I’ve read and loved to death and now remember nothing about. 😛

    I spy some Japanese and Korean books. Interesting. What are they? Are you able to read them, or are you collecting them until you figure them out, or do you have them just because? (I have a Japanese copy of New York Sketchbook until I can figure out how to read kanji independantly of furigana.)

    My own bookshelf resembles the top half of yours– size, dimensions, the little wooshy-swooshy panel up top and everything. It’s strange seeing the very top of it so empty, though. Mine has all kinds of junk up there: hair brushes, hair ties/ bands/ clips/ etc, perfumes, a giant vase of roses I’ve collected from weddings and other celebrations, My Little Pony figures… Basically a random messy collection of the furthest things from books you can get. XD And its shelves are sooo overstuffed with books, it’s difficult to get them out sometimes, and there are dozens just lying on the floor and various surfaces around it. It’s so bad that when we have apartment inspections, I just toss them in a stack behind a large tub where they’re just out of sight beyond my bookcase. (The landlady only takes a step or two in to scan around and leave, so it’s all good.) XD

    Embarrassingly, I’m pretty sure I only have about 300 or so books to my name… :/

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I didn’t actually name Elmer “Elmer.” He’s part of a western decorating set, although I can’t seem to find them for sale anywhere anymore.

      Good eye in deciphering those books were Japanese and Korean! I actually don’t read either language. They happen to be translations of my own Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel–which, of course, I keep for sentimental reasons. 😉

      • You have them in Japanese and Korean? That’s so awesome! 😀

        I need to get the Japanese one. That would be sooo cool! XD

        Man, if I get published, I hope my books will be translated into Japanese. That would be so wonderful!

        • K.M. Weiland says:

          It’s pretty mind-bending to have a copy of your own book that you can’t read. :p Chinese versions are coming out soon as well.

  14. Katie,

    First, mucho congrats on the awards! Not surprising. And while I don’t know how I linked up with your website & emails, I am super glad. You top the list of writing guides/coaches/gurus that I have connected with. Simply put, you have helped me more than any other from your emails & blogs.

    Now, as to my bookshelf: Since I have been accumulating books for way longer than you’ve been around, I have guesstimated that the total currently is about 5000 volumes give or take. Many are Bible studies, theology works and related studies since I am a student of such subjects and my PhD is in biblical Studies; many are lit books since my MA is in English (Rennaissance & Jacobean); and many are writing books to keep up with my second love. So many in all that each shelf has books in fromt of books. Gotta love it. Blessings. SDG Oh, and keep up the good work for His glory.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      5,000! You put us all to shame! I hope you have lots of lovely bookshelves in which to keep them. 🙂

  15. AHHH!! Yes! So thrilled you liked Trixie Belden – I know of so few people who know of those books, but I found them far superior to Nancy Drew or the other typical female detective stories. 😀 Hip-hip-hooray for the Bob Whites! 😉

  16. Just found this and I love exploring other people’s bookshelves. Is that too weird? I just moved here a year ago or so and have only been full time in this house a couple months so I am still setting up my bookshelves. One shelf that is already filling up is my writing shelf; it has of course Structuring Your Novel, 90 Day Novel, and Writer’s Market on it. Plus On Writing by Stephen King and some other great writing reference books. I have unpack my collection of “old books” predating 1900 which I got mostly from my grandfather and some from the free bin at the University of Kansas library as well as my late husband’s books from his childhood. I love the price stamp of 10 cents on one of his old paperbacks. The other shelf is full of some of the new books I’ve purchased since we’ve lived here and we have one and half shelves full of my son’s Nat Geo collection dating back to 1973 he got from his grandfather. The rest of my collection of books are still in boxes waiting to be unpacked and I can’t wait to open them. It will be like Christmas!! I downsized my book collections during our move and dwindled my collection down to about 1/2 of what it was but I am sure there will be a lot of surprises when I open those books. My collection as I recall includes mostly nonfiction equestrian instruction, ranch and homesteading, counseling, bible studies, and children’s books.

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