What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?

If you didn’t know me, you could tell a lot about me by looking at the bookshelf in my room. I read lots of books, averaging one every 10 days or so, and many of the ones I’ve read aren’t on my bookshelf. This particular bookshelf is a space for books that I want to keep and books that have childhood memories attached to them.

Looking at my bookshelf, you’d be able to tell that I grew up in the Harry Potter generation. Much of my childhood and early teen years were spent eagerly awaiting the publication of the next installment in the series. My copies of those seven great books have been much-read and are showing signs of wear, with some covers a little creased.


I am sure that Harry Potter will be one of the classics of our time, to be read and re-read in decades to come. I was excited to introduce my nine-year-old niece to the series by sending her a copy of the first book for her birthday last month.

You would also be able to tell that I enjoy classic English literature — the top shelf is lined with copies of Jane Austen’s six novels in various editions, some of her juvenilia and uncompleted writings, as well as factual books and biographies about Austen’s life and times.

Jane Austen books


I grew up reading Jane Austen’s novels and I think one of the things that sparked my interest was the wonderful 1995 TV series of Pride and Prejudice, with Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I watched that over and over on a VHS copy from the library — remember the days before DVDs?

As well as enjoying classics like Jane Austen, Louisa M. Alcott and the Brontë sisters, I was horse-crazy when I was younger, and I’ve kept my treasured pony books. I was fortunate to have a pony, Blue, when I was 10 and then a bigger horse, Folly, when I was 13.  The “Jill” books are precious to me — published in the 1930s, they are quaint stories of a time gone by.


We’re nearing the bottom of the shelf now, which is reserved for academic books. You’d be able to tell that the owner of this shelf has a keen interest in language and linguistics, with titles about sociolinguistics (language in society), child language development, Spanish verbs and grammar, and academic research.


linguistics academic books.jpg

What does your bookshelf say about you? If someone looked at the books on your shelf, what insights into your personality would they gain?

13 thoughts on “What Does Your Bookshelf Say About You?

  1. If someone looked at my bookshelves they would know how wacky (well-rounded) I truly am! I have everything from Jane Austen and the Collected Works of Shakespeare to knitting lit and politics, and from Carl Sagan and history books to chakra healing and Buddhist writings. And there’s also a lot of poetry and short stories on my shelves, and tons of books on running. And, of course, many many books on knitting!

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  2. My bookshelves have been greatly pared back, an account of moving from Scotland to Australia last year. I had to make some pretty hard decisions, some of which I regret. However, my quantity of books is slowly increasing again. Hurray!

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  3. It’s actually been a while since I last inspected my bookshelf at home properly (where I actually have two large bookshelves stuffed to the brim) but this is great food for thought. One section of the first shelf is specifically reserved for book series, from Harry Potter to Anne of Green Gables (most people don’t know there are actually 7 books in the series!) to the Chronicles of Narnia. I have a few classics but mostly my shelves are filled with a mishmash of books I had to read for school, random fiction titles I picked up on a whim, and some language learning books. These days though, the convenience of Kindle has me reading mostly digitally but I do miss the feel of an actual paper book in my hands.

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    • Oh, I loved the Anne of Green Gables series when I was growing up. I read and reread all the books, including the lesser-known ones like Rilla of Ingleside.

      I revisited Little Women last year — it’s interesting to read childhood classics after you’ve grown up and gained a different perspective. And revisiting childhood favourites feels so nostalgic. Narnia too…my mum used to read me chapters before bedtime and it was so gripping.

      Thanks for sharing your bookshelf reflection. 🙂 I almost typed “bookself” there…I considered making a pun out of it in my post: how your bookshelf reflects your book-self…get it? 😀

      And I agree with you — Kindles are convenient but I much prefer print.


  4. I feel like recently my tastes in books have refined. If someone looked at my book shelf, like yours– people would see cherished books of my childhood (Harry Potter for sure!) and a lot of YA. I am learning to branch out and really am starting to read outside of my comfort zone. I’m trying to dig deeper into the classics (which I love) and learn a lot more!

    Great blog post! I’ll be following!

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    • It’s always fun to explore new literature, isn’t it? 🙂 This year I’m using a spreadsheet to keep track of the books I read — it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and see all the books I’ve read.

      Which classic authors are your favourite? Thanks for following!

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      • Have you ever heard of a website called Goodreads? It’s like Facebook but for books! And it helps you keep track of your read, want to read and have read piles! It’s SO handy and fun! I’m addicted to it!

        Right now I’m on an Agatha Christy binge! I only recently started reading her (my first was And then There Were None) and I absolutely love her story telling!

        Though not a classic yet, I’m currently about to finish Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which has swept me away!

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  5. This was really neat!! I love the variety of books that you enjoy and read. Keeping childhood books is so special! My mom has all of my childhood books and is saving them for grandkids, haha.

    If you looked at my book shelf, you’d be able to tell that I am a Christian and that I love reading a variety of fiction and nonfiction!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have lots of my childhood books stored away too. 🙂 My mum is also saving them for future grandchildren! Most of the books that I read on a day-to-day basis aren’t on my bookshelf — we have several bookshelves in the house. And I also like getting books from the library.

      I always enjoy the posts you write about the books you’ve read recently. It’s great to get recommendations from other bloggers!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. i’ve got my own personal book that my mam got published when i was young, i like them books. i have always been interested in a good adventurous, imaginative book. Harry potter is great! drifting south id a favourite of mine but cant get it here in the uk in shops. Any Recommendations?


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