Book Shelves

So, remember how I mentioned I'm pet-sitting this week? No? See this post, or just believe me when I say I am pet-sitting this week.

Know what I like most about pet-sitting? Besides being able to help out my favorite Jewish family in Nashville, and using their lovely in-ground pool, and making some easy moolah? I like seeing how other people live. Perhaps it's my innate nosy nature, but I take great delight in examining other people's houses - floor plans and finishes and furniture layout and kitchen appliances and other dorky stuff like that. I'm not so nosy - or so bold - as to peek into medicine cabinets or rifle through bedside drawers or kitchen cabinets, but besides the aforementioned HGTV-induced obssesions, I REALLY enjoy looking at what people have on their bookshelves. Love it, in fact.

If I'm visiting someone, it's more difficult to assess their bookshelf situation without looking like a nosy lunatic. But when I'm pet-sitting, the only one there to judge my idiosyncrasies is the adorable, but slobbery, black lab and I can peruse the book shelves at my leisure.

First of all, I. Love. Books. Period. Second of all, I think the books people own and display on their book shelves are incredibly indicative of the kind of people they are. A person's book collection speaks volumes about them. (Ha! Get it? Volumes?...sorry).

I've known my Nashville family for...oh...about two years I guess, maybe a little less. While I don't hang out with them socially, I think I know them moderately well. I pretty much expect to find stuff like Without Feathers by Woody Allen and Chutzpah by Alan Dershowitz. They have all the Harry Potter books in hardback and three Isaac Asimov novels. They have nearly a whole shelf of books on various hiking trails and nature travel books. Knowing them as I do, these are things I would expect to see on their shelves.

And then I'll be trolling along one of their many book shelves, and I'll come across something that sorta surprises me. Like, last night, I happened to notice that there was a copy of Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. Huh. This is a relatively controversial, feminist book on adolescent females and how they become victims of our consumer culture. It's a great book, but one I didn't expect to encounter amongst their collection. Seeing this on their shelves, made me love them a little more.

And then, next to Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, but tucked farther down from Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut and Cosmos by Carl Sagan, I found the familiar spine of A Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. Which pretty much seals my undying loyalty for these people, because Bill Bryson is comedic brillance and anyone who has his books on their bookshelves is okay in MY book!


Jennifer said...

It probably doesn't sit well with you that I don't have a bookshelf, does it? I'm more of a library person - read it & return it. The books that I do own usually find their way to the "donate" box....is this a character flaw (my first of course!)?? Although, it does surprise even me that I don't collect books -- afterall, I have more papers than anyone I know (except maybe the bank) so you'd think I'd like to keep books! Oh well!!

mom said...

Baldacci, Cobin, Koontz, Cook, Johanson, Rice, and several assorted other authors fill my book shelves. wonder what that indicates about the kind of person I am? I'm with you I love books and I love to read.