How well does your library reflect you?

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How well does your library reflect you?

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Mar 21, 2009, 5:45pm

I was just curious to see how much people felt their libraries reflect their personality and daily life. Mine for example, filled with history, fits my interests, personality, and daily life (as a college student majoring in history) pretty well.

But I was wondering how you all felt about how your libraries reflected you and your daily life. Perhaps you are a fan of raves and club drugs that just so happens to have a passionate interest in knitting-related literature or maybe your library full of bible-related books fits your job as a traveling prophet.

So what do you say, does your library reflect on your life as a whole?

Mar 21, 2009, 5:50pm

I don't know about that! :) I am a photojournalist but I don't have piles of photography books. I love to travel, but only a few of my books are travel writing.

My library is filled with literature & fiction (piles of them!), a couple mystery (still waiting to be read) a few fantasy & sci-fi and some non-fiction that crept in there through recommendations. I think my books reflect what I love to read, but I don't know how they reflect the rest of my life. I think the rest of my life reflects other aspects of myself, and what I find joy in reading about may simply be just that.

Mar 22, 2009, 10:26pm

Well, I'm an English major, so technically any kind of book could be considered as representative of my life. :-D I've got some literary criticism books, author biographies, collections of letters, etc. which I suppose would indicate a scholastic interest in literature, not just an escapist hobby or what have you. Sort of along those same lines is the large amount of Victorian novels I own. I'm currently an undergrad, but I'd like to eventually go to graduate school and concentrate on Victorian literature.

The small assortment of British pop-culture books I have -- celebrity autobiographies and the like -- certainly betray my Anglophile tendencies. I'm also part Irish and own collections of Irish mythology, folk tales, lots of Yeats and Wilde... I wouldn't say my library is overwhelmingly representative, but in pockets it at least gives a snapshot of my life.

Mar 23, 2009, 6:11am

I think my library shows a series of abandoned obsessions. The drug years, the Beat years, the King Arthur phase, the Dylan biography phase. Plus all the mental illness memoirs. I only buy those when I'm manic, which I guess you could consider a recurring phase.

Plus, I read by author - all books by one, then move on to the next - so it reflects that, too. 12 Willa Cather novels, but only one Faulkner. And such.

Phases, phases, phases.

Mar 23, 2009, 7:40pm

My original library was varied with textbooks, horror, fantasy, mystery, classics, mythology, christian, military, science, biographies, etc. I was more of a collector than anything else.

Now I feel my library better reflects my past then my present, with mostly fantasy and christian dominating.

Mar 25, 2009, 12:29pm

I'd say my library is a pretty good representation of myself. I'd like to think that someone who knows me even just a bit would be able to look at a few "library options" and pick mine out.

There are lots of books about religion and culture, which are what I study in life.

There are lots of dark comedies, because I really like the relationship between light and dark. I like to think that I'm very funny, but in a little bit of a twisted way (twisted does not equal preverse).

There are lots of series and author sections, because I'm the kind of person that just NEEDS to know and see the whole picture.

There are a lot of children's/young adult books because, well, because I was young once and hope to have kids someday and really want to be able to hand them books and say "I read this when I was your age and it made me realize....."

So, I'd have to say, yes, my library really is a good reflection of who I am.

Mar 29, 2009, 12:02pm

Yes, I think my library is a good representation of myself.

A lot of fiction mixed with poetry and African American Nonfiction... sprinkle a little bit of philosophy and you have a pretty good portrait of me!

Edited: Mar 29, 2009, 2:38pm

lhea's post reminds me of an article I either saw someone twitter or blog about. Basically, the idea was to examine what we read (like the thread is about) and to diversify from there. I'll post a link if I can find it.

I haven't done a great reflection of my reading, but I know I could stand some diversity. There's no poetry, most of my books have white protagonists from England or America, there' isn't a good spread of genre like dman's post shows... I need to diversify!

...I can't find the link. It was a real article, I swear!

Mar 29, 2009, 2:22pm

Quite. There's lots of old books, which goes with the rest of the house; as I've said elsewhere on the internet, I feel like I live in a low-budget museum sometimes.

And there's lots of feminist/gender studies books, and some music, about half the books ever written about rowing (not so many), lots of cookbooks. I'm studying library science, and am slowing collection odd and outdated reference books.

Apr 2, 2009, 12:37pm

I don't know if my library reflects me. I feel so disjointed with an up-in-the-air randomness, so perhaps that's how my library looks too. I wonder if people could tell what race(s) I am by the books I read...

Apr 2, 2009, 1:55pm

I also think my library fairly accurately represents me. I'd say over half of my books are either horror or fantasy, which are easily my two favorite genres. My favorite author is Stephen King, and I own every one of his books (they alone take up over half a bookshelf).

I also have nonfiction books over topics I found interesting, such as polar exploration (in particular the Franklin expedition), biographies of interesting people like Dickens, Collins, Einstein, etc, as well as many books revolving around the Tudor dynasty, one of my favorite periods of time.

I also own many classics, which goes in with my English major. I also have a tendency to, if I don't like a book, get rid of it immediately on BookMooch. There are no books in my library that I don't like and would never reread. I just don't see the point in keeping books I can't stand. I certainly don't hang on to clothes I never plan on wearing ever again, so why would I do it with books?

In short, though, I'd have to say yeah, my library looks like me!

Apr 3, 2009, 9:43am

My library has a smattering of texts that would define "me." For example, I'm a Sociology major and I have kept of few of my most useful texts as resources. Also I have a job working with nursing home residents that have dementia. As a result, I have a few texts on the subject. Mostly though, I have a lot of fiction novels.

Apr 5, 2009, 5:38pm

I think my library reflects me pretty well, or at least my interests. I'd say I've read less than half of the books I own, so my books reflect what I want to learn about more than what I already know.

Jul 9, 2009, 12:56am

I have inherited a many I can only say that my library reflects my personality somewhat.

Aug 3, 2009, 7:37pm

Mine does, without a shred of a doubt.

Aug 11, 2009, 9:19pm

Mine reflects me in that the children's books are taking over the apartment. Much like the children themselves.

Aug 26, 2009, 11:32pm

My library reflects me fairly well. Big on fantasy and sci fi, as well as LGBT literature and books by visible minorities. There's also a bunch of religion books thrown in there, because that's what I study (along with English Lit).

Sep 2, 2009, 6:22pm

Mine reflects a wide variety of passing interests. Also, a lot of college textbooks I never sold back after graduating... Beyond that I tend to stick with fiction, fantasy or some blur of the two.

Sep 9, 2009, 6:30pm

I suppose mine does to some extent - I have a bunch of scifi from a while ago, which I like to think reflects some pragmatic creativity and curiosity about the future of society.

I've also got a lot of early American history, which gives me a sense of continuity and context for how things are today.

I've got a bunch of science books, both textbook, popular, and ecological, as these reflect my curiosity in understanding the world around me.

Sep 13, 2009, 11:13am

Umm, Well I think my library reflects me. Basically, I'm an old fashioned person (sometimes I feel like a sixty year old stuck in a 20- something body!) who doesn't read that many new books. So, there are not many new books in my library. I have a lot of books by Agatha Christie who is one of my favorite authors. And there is The Complete Sherlock Holmes and the Father Brown stories. All of these reflect my love for old fashioned, cozy mysteries. And then I love reading plays so there are the plays. I'm into classic literature, like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, so there are books from the classic genre. My library has no text books on the subject I majored in. So, it doesn't reflect my education in any way.

Sep 13, 2009, 9:21pm

Mine reflects me reasonably well, to a point. I have lots of crime, fictional and factual, including a good chunk of lesbian mysteries (specifically, published by people like Naiad Press etc.); historical fiction and fact; school stories from the '20s; soft SF and fantasy, and quite a few travel books. They generally reflect my interests more than my personality, but my interests are me, really.

Edited: Jan 14, 2010, 8:06am

At first glance my library might only look like it reflects a varied, ecclectric taste. However, if you orgranize it by the date I read them, you start to see a trend. I have sporadic intrests, and you can sometimes see patterns where I get highly interested in a subject and read it a lot, only to abandon it after a month or 2 for another subject/genre. For example, over the past couple months I've read:
Death's Acre, The Ghost Map, The Hot Zone, Panic in Level 4, Stiff, and Plague. All of these are non-fictions about the science of death/disease. However, right now I'm reading Dante's Inferno, next will be The Iliad, and I've got plans for the Orestia and Aeneid in the next month or 2.

I have fairly diverse taste, but you do see the clumps of books that indicate my rapidly changing interests.

As for whether or not that represents my personality, it's hard to say.

Jan 14, 2010, 8:11am

I think my library reflects me fairly well - almost better than real life. My job now is more of a placeholder while I work towards what I want to be doing. I feel my library more accurately reflects my interests (in terms of non-fiction).

Jan 14, 2010, 8:53am

Hmm, I think it's a fairly good reflection of me, although some things are missing. There's no trace of my teenage reading habits - lots of thrillers and horror, borrowed from the library - especially since my tastes eventually became more literary after doing an English degree. I studied psychology, but sold most of my textbooks after deciding not to pursue it in postgrad.

My library reflects my preferance for non-realist books - fantasy, science fiction, magical realism - and anything that has something weird about it. In between, there are some realist works, the occasional classic, and a little non-fiction on language, fiction and philosophy. Notably, there aren't many books with political content, and nothing on current affairs (my boyfriend has those, I just wait for him to tell me about them).

The growing tbr pile stands (precariously high) as evidence of my increasing bibliophilia and the diminished amount of time I have to pander to my addiction. Goddamn job! Pays the book bills but takes away the time for reading!

Jan 14, 2010, 9:02am

Pretty well actually (or it would be once I get all the books entered). It will probably remain a bit tin on SF/Fantasy (thinner than it is supposed to) because part of my collection went on sale a few years ago but other from this, it's a big mess of almost all styles and genres:)

Jul 6, 2010, 2:08am

#20- Hello, my long-lost twin! I am a fellow 60-yr. old trapped in a 24-yr. old body. I also happen to prefer "old" books and mysteries...

To answer the thread question, I have been thinking about this for the past few years, and yes, I think my library reflects me almost perfectly. I think one of the best ways to get to know someone is by looking at what's on their bookshelf! There are some exceptions, of course- those who don't read, those who only read a certain type or genre of book, or those who mostly borrow books and don't keep them. In my case, I keep only what I like, which makes my library a sort of collage of myself. I am a Christian who enjoys antiquing, decorating, crafting, history, mysteries, 19th & 20th century fiction, old Hollywood movies, Chinese culture, and other miscellaneous hobbies & interests. On my shelves, you would see books on all of these topics. If you see a book that doesn't seem to fit with any of the others in my collection, that's probably evidence of a short-lived hobby or interest of mine. That's one of the main reasons I love collecting books and organizing them in a way that makes sense to me- in a way, by organizing my books I am organizing my life so that it makes a little more sense.

As far as my LT library reflecting my personality: It does, but on a lesser scale, since I haven't added all my books to the site yet. One day...

Jul 6, 2010, 6:11am

I'm not sure, although I suspect my bookcase and I are equally hotchpotchinous. I have a horrendous amount of fiction, interspersed with history (especially Holocaust-related stuff, as that's what my MA is) and theology (undergrad degree), and then quite a lot of cookery books that I've accumulated, and then the detritus of various forgotten hobbies - knitting, mostly. I've also still got quite a few of my childhood books, and I've recently started acquiring childrens' books that I never read as a child - Charlotte's Web for instance.

Jul 6, 2010, 10:58am

#26 "Hello, my long-lost twin! I am a fellow 60-yr. old trapped in a 24-yr. old body. I also happen to prefer "old" books and mysteries..."

Hello to you too! :-)

Edited: Jul 10, 2010, 9:52pm

My library is all over the place. I'm an English major, too, so I have pretty much all of my textbooks from the last few years (that batch needs to be moved to a bigger bookshelf). I love many of them so that's part of the reason I keep them, but it also fits into my desire to work in the literary world! And I just love the old stuff (Greek, Latin, Medieval, Renaissance)

However, I have two, er three, other bookshelves - also overflowing - with my pleasure reading: YA, erotia, series (because if I read one I must have the rest), historical, fantasy, trashy romance, some history, drama, poetry, pretty much a little bit of everything - even plenty of the books that have been at my parents' house since I was a kid have finally made it to my house. I like to think I'm well-rounded.

People who see my room for the first time always say it is perfect for me :) I loaned a couple books to a friend just a few hours ago! My friends always come to me for suggestions because I have so many options!

Sep 29, 2010, 8:33am

Very interesting question - I think that my library reflects my personality / life pretty well. I have a ton of classics and historical fiction, which is very fitting because I love history and also consider myself to be a bit of an old lady, despite being only 21.
While my friends go clubbing, I'd rather stay at home and read. I drink tea and coffee all day, but never really touch alcohol, even on my actual 21st birthday. :) I talk to my cat... And my best friends are mostly in their 30's and 40's.

My library also focuses on other countries, which reflects my interest and preference of other cultures vs. American living.

There are probably more similarities but those are the most obvious ones.

Jun 11, 2011, 3:05pm

I think my library reflects me pretty well. I'm a quiet introverted English major with an interest in feminism and political activism. My bookshelf is full of literary fiction and classics as well as my textbooks and anthologies for various classes, with a growing number of books by famous feminists and other equality-minded people. I also love literary science fiction, so there's some of that in there as well. I think the only thing missing is my deep and abiding love of classical music, but that's taken care of on my music-major boyfriend's bookshelf, so I guess we're ok.

Nov 30, 2011, 10:18am

I'd say its a pretty decent reflection of my interests. Went through a phase in my teens of being really interested in religion before realising I was interested in the teachings, but the trapping and cultural accretions drove me nuts. I read something like 3/4 non-fiction, 1/4 fiction, and my library is a relatively decent reflection of that habit. I still manage to read more fiction each year than your average non-lt member American, though thats not saying much.

Dec 2, 2011, 8:32pm

hmm... can't say I've ever thought about it before. I think mine reflects me pretty well. When i was a teen I read a lot of crime thrillers (not that my LT library shows that) -- I also wanted to be a lawyer at the time (that ambition never even made it out of high school). Now, I want to write YA, so my it's not surprising that YA (which is pretty much all my LT shows) is almost always what I am seen with (that, and some books on writing, too). I do have other, side interests that are scattered throughout my shelves, so I don't think it'd be too hard to learn a bit about me from them.

Apr 28, 2012, 12:47pm

Considering my interests are all over the place my books are all over the place. However, I think that taken out of context, some segments of my collection would give you the idea that I am a war-mongering jock and other sections that I am enamored with Second Wave feminism (neither of which is true!). Just looking at the books doesn't give you the idea of how these disparate topis fit together in my head.

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