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personal libraries
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Tol Eressea

Apr 9 2013, 9:19pm

Post #1 of 31 (376 views)
personal libraries Can't Post

i strongly suspect these boards are populated by many folks who are bibliophiles.

so, with that presumption... what do your personal libraries look like? how many volumes? what kinds of books are in your collection? first editions? multiple versions of the same title? for certain books, like tolkien's, that's precisely true for me.

how do you organize them? by subject, by author? do you have a special shelf or bookcase for the "on my reading list" books that you haven't yet read?

tell me about your bibliomania. indulge yourselves.

cheers --


aka. fili orc-enshield
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel


Apr 9 2013, 9:59pm

Post #2 of 31 (234 views)
I have no idea how many books I have... [In reply to] Can't Post

They are spread out over several bookshelves (a big one in the living room, a smaller one in the hallway, another small one in the bedroom, and then I have another big one still at my father's place). There are all kinds of books. I suppose the most valuable ones are the two-volume set of 1st edition "Life of Sir John Moore", the oldest one is one that was printed in 1795. There also are the almost-falling apart copies of some paperbacks and anything in between. I don't really collect books just to have some old volumes standing around - they have to be books that I want to read.

The books are categorised by subject and within the subject by language where necessary. I have a lot of Napoleonic history books, mainly English and French, with a couple of German ones thrown in, for example. Then, within the language, they are further categorised by content (so, all the Waterloo books are together, the Peninsular War books are together etc.). No alphabetising, though.

I have very few doubles, and those are unintentional. It's a question of space. I'd rather have a new book that I don't know yet instead of another book twice - although I do sometimes think that it would be nice to get a second, prettier copy of Lord of the Rings because mine is rather tatty.

I also have a Kindle, which I love. There are lots of books on that one, too.

My to-be-read pile quite literally is a pile. I usually stack them next to the bed (not on the bedside table, mind you, because the pile keeps collapsing...) or leave them lying around the house. Currently there are a few on the sofa, half a dozen next to the bed and I-don't-know-how-many on my desk.


Apr 9 2013, 10:28pm

Post #3 of 31 (217 views)
We have many books... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I couldn't begin to count them. Right now they are unorganized, spread across many storage boxes and two bookshelves. They range from sci-fi, fantasy, historical naval fiction, non-fiction, engineering books, classics, japanese-language manga and light novels, foreign language dictionaries, and then our library of kids' books. You could probably build a small library out of it all. When I did have it all organized (before we moved 4 years ago, and not coincidentally, before we had kids), I had it arranged by author. I don't really get time to read anymore, although my husband does- he has a nook for almost everything he gets nowadays. Recently I've read many kids' books (which happened when you have two toddlers), but I have managed to sneak a few others in there. I tend to listen to many audiobooks, too. Last read were:

1. Sherlock Holmes short stories
2. Les Misérables
3. Parade's End

Sorry if that doesn't explain much, but I'm hoping to go through and give away at least half of the books we own to the local library. They do us no good sitting around when others might be able to use them.


Apr 9 2013, 11:14pm

Post #4 of 31 (230 views)
For the most part, I don't keep books I've read. [In reply to] Can't Post

The exceptions are:

Tolkien books - I have quite a few books about Tolkien and books of Tolkien inspired art. I try to keep art books in one spot, books by Tolkien in another spot. And books about Tolkien in another. But things are all kind of mish mash and crammed in where ever there is room on the shelves.

I don't collect multiple copies of Tolkien books. I just don't have the room. I will say, though. There are multiple copies in my possession waiting for a home. I can't just get rid of them so they're biding the time when someone expresses an interest. Or I just *have* to have more room. I sent 3 boxes of Tolkien stuff - including books - home with TORnsib, Hobbit love. :-)

Books I intend to read - some of these I might never get to but they're there if I want them. Maybe a dozen plus another gaggle of Dresden Files I got for Christmas.

Books on design - mostly graphic design - and a few craft type books. I have a lot of origami books and a few doll making books.

Harry Potter - I have all of them in hardcover including a few auxiliary books (Tale of Beedle the Bard, etc) and one copy of the English version of one of them.

Folk tales, especially from Celtic nations and some from Scandinavia/Nordic countries. - I have maybe a dozen in this collection.

Books that have some affection for. There's less than a dozen but they include books that belonged to my mother when she was young, the first novel that spoke to me on a deeper level (Childhood's End by Clarke) and War for the Oaks, a novel set in my city and is a pretty darn good story if I say so myself. Many of the magical areas in the book are ones I was drawn to when I first moved here.

Children's picture books. I used to read children's picture books for a living and I grew exceptionally fond of many of them. When I lost that position, I gave away or sold many, many, many of them. Some with a sorrowful heart. I'm clinging to another hundred or so but I'm not sure what for. Neither of my sons show any inkling of becoming parents. One is marrying a woman who says she never wants children and the other seems comfortable with the bachelor life.

Many of these are just lovely books but I have sub-collections of children's books about:
dance and dancing, especially folk dancing
books you 'sing'
May Day and other cultural folk traditions, esp. seasonal ones
folk tales, myths, and legends

I figure, over the years, I've owned easily a 1,000 children's books. But now I might have 200-300 left. Some are on shelves but many are in boxes.

Most of all these books are in my computer room (which isn't large). Some are on a shelf in the hall outside my room. A few are on a shelf in my bedroom (oops.. forgot about the two shelves of old Golden Books in the bedroom). And I have 2-3 bankers boxes filled with children's books. The dollmaking books are on the front porch which is my craft supply room.

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Apr 9 2013, 11:40pm

Post #5 of 31 (217 views)
More than some people think I need [In reply to] Can't Post

My daughter always asks "Why do you have do many and go to the library too?"

Simple I read a lot and couldn't possibly keep all of them. Wouldn't want to anyway.

Hmmm...how many.... more than I'd want to have to move that's for sure...

Keepers are books I reread. Tolkien, Lewis, Heinlein, Moon, Michener, Robb, Roberts, Francis, Riordan, Koontz, King....

Books I've kept since childhood.... my father bought a set of companion library classic novels (two books back to back) I inherited those as my brothers have different reading tastes. Large collections of Happy Hollister, Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. Complete sets of Laura Ingalls Wilder,Alexander, Harry Potter, The Great Brain Series, Alcott's books

Books left over from my daughter and oldest granddaughter (18) and now read by the younger grandkids (2 and 4) .... The fifth copy of The Little Duck as my daughter read two copies to shreds as did the older granddaughter and now the youngest is doing her best to wear it out too.

Gad way too many to name....

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com


Apr 9 2013, 11:41pm

Post #6 of 31 (201 views)
My sister has the set of Trixie Belden we grew up with :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Apr 9 2013, 11:46pm

Post #7 of 31 (204 views)
I didn't have to share... only girl. However [In reply to] Can't Post

I did borrow (steal) my brother's complete set of Tarzan books.... though he somehow got them back....

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com


Apr 9 2013, 11:46pm

Post #8 of 31 (204 views)
Many books fall into the category of [In reply to] Can't Post

sentimental heirlooms and/or knick-knacks representative of people that were important in my life at one time or periods of my life that have passed.

I do quite a bit of browsing among them, although I tend to make myself busier than planned and don't read as much as I always imagine I might because life for me is often filled with uncertainties like "Will I get that internship?", "What about summer school this year?", and "Gee, Spring Break / Christmas Break / Thanksgiving Break / Easter Break is quite open isn't it (later on it ends up filled up with stuff)"! So there is always this idea that I will read some day and it just gets nibbled at instead of swallowed properly and completely.


Apr 10 2013, 2:47am

Post #9 of 31 (199 views)
I'm guessing I have about 500 books [In reply to] Can't Post

One set of bookshelves holds most of the books from my graduate program. They are arranged alphabetically by topic area: Art, Alchemy, Archetypes, Buddhism, Celtic Mythology, Dreams, etc., all the way to Taoism and Tarot. Then there's another set of shelves with many of the books I read for my dissertation. Next is my fiction collection, which is alphabetical by author - except for graphic novels, which have their own shelf. After that is the non-fiction section which is organized by topic area. I read a lot of natural history and love guidebooks for particular parks, mountain ranges, etc.

Art books are on the coffee table.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 10 2013, 3:37am

Post #10 of 31 (186 views)
My personal library is a mess. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have one large bookshelf and it is full of books standing and lying down, wherever space permits, with an overflow of Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Dresden books on the floor.

In general, my books - which are 90% SF/F - are arranged by favourite author.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories

Tol Eressea

Apr 10 2013, 5:06am

Post #11 of 31 (183 views)
I've been weeding... [In reply to] Can't Post

...much as I'd like to have that library from Beauty and the Beast, I don't have the room. And why shouldn't someone else enjoy those books now? So I have weeded and sent a bunch to the local bookshop (and come home with more).

I organize (heh, organize????) by subject. And lose stuff anyway.

I have the Tolkien shelf (or two, or three), some kids' books (which is what I like to write and illustrate), some Marvel Essentials (in leu of collecting a mass of comics), a lot of natural history (like Bernd Heinrich';s Mind of the Raven, Eric Hoyt's Orca, the Whale Called Killer, Feathers, The Natural Navigator, a book on horseshoe crabs, on wolves, etc etc etc), stuff on pirates and tall ships (Pirates on the Chesapeake, Under the Black Flag, and some books on local tall ships like Sailing With Pride and Schooner Sultana), horse books, which is all I read as a kid, Harry Potter, some classic stuff like Robin Hood, Zorro, Norse myth, fairy tales, mythology...

...oh, and just dug up a dusty copy of Sherlock Holmes... and ordered another when I figured out the volume I had did not have all the stories (last read in the 70s).

Go outside and play...


Apr 10 2013, 5:30am

Post #12 of 31 (205 views)
Great idea for a thread! [In reply to] Can't Post

My library is just a baby. Twice now I've had to move and leave my books behind. Hey, they wouldn't fit on the motorcycle!
As it is now, I have two six-foot bookcases that are filled to bursting with my newer books, mostly non-fiction on the care of various kinds of pets. I have another six footer that holds all my Tolkien books and action figures (except for Legolases and an Aragorn in the kitchen, and my Legolas standup in my *cough*bedroom*cough). Then there are the shorter bookcases with my MZ Bradley paperbacks and Science Fiction, along with some more non-fiction. Biographies and the like.
I tried to sort them by subject, but there are just too darned many subjects! And is U2 by U2 a U2 book, a Biography or does it belong with the music books????
My reading pile is normally from the library. Mostly I read non-fiction. Had my daughter not dragged me to Two Towers where I immediately became entranced by Legolas, I'd have one less bookcase!


Apr 10 2013, 7:33am

Post #13 of 31 (196 views)
I demand [In reply to] Can't Post

a horse book thread!
Horse books are the biggest section of my bookshelf. Cool


Apr 10 2013, 11:53am

Post #14 of 31 (161 views)
I have a small bookshelf. [In reply to] Can't Post

The lower shelves are a complete mess, but the top shelf is reserved for Tolkien and this is the only shelf that is completely in order. I has the whole series and a couple of other books as well as an occasional homemade map or two. Not the most impressive.


Apr 10 2013, 1:14pm

Post #15 of 31 (162 views)
Too many [In reply to] Can't Post

I have two big book shelves. One is in the living room on either side of the fireplace. I keep paper backs & some hard backs there. I also have a large book shelf in my office room at home. It has glass doors so this is where I keep the special books like Tolkien & other classics. I really need to go through them & get rid of the ones I don't want to keep.

I also want to make a display with all my Tolkien books & movie stuff one day. It's all scattered around my house right now but I think it would be cool to have it all in one place.


Apr 10 2013, 3:18pm

Post #16 of 31 (165 views)
I have half a shelf of dog books [In reply to] Can't Post

most of which are on German shepherds.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

Tol Eressea

Apr 10 2013, 6:59pm

Post #17 of 31 (144 views)
we need to start one.... [In reply to] Can't Post


Go outside and play...

Tol Eressea

Apr 11 2013, 12:06am

Post #18 of 31 (136 views)
yikes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Generations of books!
A set of "Bookshelf for Boys and Girls"--probably published in the 60s. I remember a magical feeling while reading thru these as a kid in the 70s. Several various other young reader books that I ...umm, just don't wish to part with!
Pounds of textbooks from the late 90s/early 2000s. I have managed to find a home for some--others I have kept for reference.
Several series that my son acquired in his teens: many, many Star Wars related, King's Dark Tower series, HP series, Left Behind series, Eddings, Jordan, Rice, and so on and so forth.
Several books of poetry--from Best Loved Poems of the American People to Langston Hughes.
Random pieces of fiction by authors whose work I really enjoy reading.
Old and new books I keep on hand for the grandkids.
And that shelf of all things Tolkien.
Oh, my! I have given away more than I've kept over the years...really!

Aunt Dora Baggins

Apr 11 2013, 1:09am

Post #19 of 31 (158 views)
Rough estimate: 2200 books [In reply to] Can't Post

I counted the number on one shelf, multiplied to get the number per bookcase, then counted bookcases. Our library fills most of our basement. They are mostly organized by subject, though we also have a largish bookcase made especially for trade-sized paperbacks. My husband made all the bookcases.

I have two shelves of Tolkien, and three of Oz books. But we have pretty much every subject you can imagine; classic literature, fiction, children's books, history, science, math, art, crafts of all kinds, sundials and astrolabes, religion, sex, etc. We have 5 sets of encyclopedias, and a ridiculous number of magazines that I didn't include in the count, including most of the Playboys from 1950 to 1990, and a huge number of old model railroad magazines.

I don't make a special habit of first editions, though one of my prizes is an original Stuart's biography of Nathan Hale from 1850. (I have a whole shelf on Nathan Hale too). And I think my copy of Lion, Witch and Wardrobe might be a first edition, though I'm not sure. Oh, and not too long ago I bought about 20 Pogo books from a widow who wanted to get rid of her husband's collection. They're all first editions.

We're definitely hoarders at our house, and not just of books. But it pays off. When I wake up at 3AM with a sudden hankering to read about how to lay out a linear astrolabe, or to re-read an old favorite novel, I can go right to it.

The kindle has changed my book-buying habits somewhat. Now when I buy a hard copy, it's for one of two reasons: I can't find it on kindle, or it's just so yummy I want to hold it in my hands.

BTW, when we got married, the only place our libraries overlapped was the Ray Bradbury books, and our childhood Bibles, which were almost identical. :-)

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com

(This post was edited by Aunt Dora Baggins on Apr 11 2013, 1:14am)

Aunt Dora Baggins

Apr 11 2013, 1:21am

Post #20 of 31 (133 views)
Addendum: When we moved into this house 22 years ago [In reply to] Can't Post

we built a slide down the basement stairs and slid boxes of books down it. We estimated 2000 books then and we were moving from a trailer. We used to joke that the books would keep the trailer from blowing away in a tornado. I shudder to think what will happen when someone has to move those books out of there.

"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com


Apr 11 2013, 6:08am

Post #21 of 31 (144 views)
Over a thousand hard covers at last count... [In reply to] Can't Post

I really haven't checked the values lately, but I have many fairly rare books, including two 1st American editions,1st states of The Silmarillion, 1977 Houghton Mifflin; several 1st American editions of various HoME books and The Children of Hurin; a 1st American Edition The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White, 1939 J.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition Essays of Michel de Montaigne, Illustrated by Salvador Dali, 1947 Doubleday and Company; 17 vol. Household Edition of Charles Dickens, 1871 Chapman and Hall; 10 vol. Works of Edgar Allan Poe, 1904 P.F. Collier and Son; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885 T. Nelson and Son; several history and reference books from the late 18th century; The Belles Heures of Jean duc de Berry, Folio Edition, 1958 Metropolitan Museum of Arts Cloisters...blah it's getting late.

Anyway, tons of history books, tons of art books, tons of literature - and half of it, my wife claims, encircles our bed. Wink

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.


Apr 11 2013, 1:10pm

Post #22 of 31 (123 views)
So many that I have no room for them anymore [In reply to] Can't Post

Hundreds? Thousands, maybe? On bookshelves, in drawers, cabinets, in boxes, everywhere. I've tried to organize them but I really need more bookshelves. We're trying to downsize - my new year's resolution this year was to get rid of one box or garbage bag of stuff (all kinds of stuff, not just books) per week (so far I've been doing pretty well at that!) - so just recently I brought at least a dozen boxes to the local library for their annual book sale. Thankfully they accept used books or I'd be inundated, and I absolutely cannot - can't even imagine - throwing out a book. Any book. So I have been bringing more to the library so they can be read! As much as I love them, they're not doing anyone any good sitting in a box not being read.

And I have books on about every subject out there. For a while several years ago, I was selling books on eBay -- which was really fun, btw -- so I probably still have enough for a small library.


Apr 11 2013, 2:45pm

Post #23 of 31 (101 views)
Space is the limiting factor... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have as many books as some on here (hundreds rather than thousands), but trying to find where to put them! At present, I am having some work done at home- a room divided into dining room and study, so a lot of books are in boxes, some in the loft, some at my parents' house. Otherwise most rooms in the house seem to have some books in them. They range from fiction of a wide variety, to non-fiction and text books related to my job (medical)- I have yet more in my office at work. Except for the text books, I am not that organised with them. Those that I am reading or about to read are in my bedroom, recently reads are on a shelf in the hallway. I have one shelf with all fantasy/myths/legends books on it. So very eclectic all round.Then there is the Kindle- this has been a God send in terms of space!!!

"Beneath the roof of sleeping leaves the dreams of trees unfold"


Apr 11 2013, 2:54pm

Post #24 of 31 (103 views)
we have a second-hand bookstore that buys back books [In reply to] Can't Post

or gives you credit for them. The only reason I don't have twice as many books is that I occasionally haul a couple boxes to the second-hand store.

I could never "throw out" a book. But I can swap them out quite happily.

The way we imagine our lives is the way we are going to go on living our lives.

- James Hillman, Healing Fiction

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Apr 11 2013, 4:26pm

Post #25 of 31 (104 views)
I took a long stick of thin firewood [In reply to] Can't Post

as a pointer and went to the 5 'areas' we keep books and so with one count (and not again thank you:) ) :

It is an eclectic sort for sure from over the years. Tolkien, Jackson related ones(surely), many area reference ones, ' how to's', novels, philosophical/spiritual, and science related ones. This includes all my wife's 'Cat Who' books.

Oh, i forgot about another 100 (approx.) Louis L'Amour books at the camp. My other favorite author.

''Sam put his ragged orc-cloak under his master's head, and covered them both with the grey robe of Lorien; and as he did so his thoughts went out to that fair land, and to the Elves, and he hoped that the cloth woven by their hands might have some virtue to keep them hidden beyond all hope in this wilderness of fear...But their luck held, and for the rest of that day they met no living or moving thing; and when night fell they vanished into the darkess of Mordor.'' - - -rotk, chapter III

Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are one in it: tree and bird, water and stone, wine and bread, and ourselves, mortal men, when we are enchanted."
— J.R.R. Tolkien

May the grace of Manwë let us soar with eagle's wings!

In the air, among the clouds in the sky
Here is where the birds of Manwe fly
Looking at the land, and the water that flows
The true beauty of earth shows
With the stars of Varda lighting my way
In all the realms this is where I stay
In the realm of Manwë Súlimo

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