Every book on my bookshelf.
I got rid of a lot of things before I left to travel. It was a nice feeling to purge everything unnecessary, everything unneeded, from my life. In the end I sold, threw out, or donated over two-thirds of my belongings. Still, I kept many things, a couple of boxes of books included. (Plus a few more boxes dedicated entirely to The Baby-Sitters Club…)
I cut down my book collection to one slightly-overflowing bookshelf worth. I did keep most of my travel books, all the ones I read and perused and lusted over as I planned for my trip. (And I also amassed more guidebooks over the past few years, mailing them home When I left countries or regions, unable to bring myself to throw them out.) I kept the dance books I loved as a child. I kept a collection of young adult favorites. I kept anything I had by Palahniuk and Sylvia Plath among other favorites like The Catcher in the Rye and Perks of Being a Wallflower. I kept a handful of writing manuals from grad school.
Admittedly, I also have a couple of stacks stashed away in my dining room console. Those are mostly computer manuals — HTML, CSS, etc. etc. — that are probably too outdated to be useful but were too expensive to begin with to want to get rid of.
I still, sometimes, buy books. It’s hard not to when Amazon is so convenient and when you live down the block from a book store that also serves wine. But I just got a library card, my first since college, so I’m hoping to start borrowing more than purchasing. And no, no I have no desire to get an e-reader. I like having the physical pages in my hand.
It was interesting to take stock in the books I have. There are a handful I forgot I had, a handful I’ve completely forgotten the plot of, and a handful that I’ve never even read in the first place. So I guess I should read or re-read some of those in the near future.
Or just buy a bunch of new ones and a new bookcase?
One of those.
Here are all the books on my bookshelf…
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
From which I took the name, Choosing Figs.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Three copies…the paperback I’ve had since college, an edition from England, and a sign hardcover.
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
You’re going to notice a lot of Palahniuk…
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
A guy once read a passage from this to me and I fainted. I can’t read this without putting it down and walking away several times.
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Naked by David Sedaris
Jim Henson’s “the Storyteller”
Also a wonderful TV show, I own the DVDs too.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
I got a copy from work in preparation for the opera we debuted in December.
The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate
Some books I kept from grad school.
Ballet Magic by Nancy Robison
Ballet books were my favorite books growing up.
Let’s just call this the Lonely Planet shelf…
Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring
I actually own two copies, different editions.
Lonely Planet South Africa, Lesotho & Swaziland
I haven’t yet been to South Africa, but I keep saying I’m going there next.
Lonely Planet Australia
Australia is the only other guidebook I have for somewhere I haven’t yet been.
The Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok
I get used to the format, so I usually buy Lonely Planet. I couldn’t find one when I need one for Bali. So…
Cool Barcelona A Non-Standard Guide
A gift from the woman whose AirBNB I stayed at in Barcelona.
Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain by Michele Morano
Written by one of my professors in grad school.
The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers
I read a lot of books in preparation for my travels…