Monday, March 8, 2010

The Subconscious Shelf

I just read on the New Yorker that they are doing a thing where you send them a picture of your bookshelf and they analyse you. I think this is genius. Unfortunately, we only have less than a quarter of our books here, but we've managed to adopt a few good books in need of a home. I invite you to analyse our book selection.

I am going to go ahead and give it a go, you know, being a psychologist and all. This bookshelf, although scant, shows that the people in this house have many assorted interests. A Rosetta Stone program, along side some academic books on human error (is To Err Is Human upside down?)- this says there are people in the house that like to learn. Complemented by a few 'self helpy' books by Eckhart Tolle- this indicates an some deep seeded need to 'find ones self', so obviously the owners are in their late 20's. Mixed in with some fiction, some travel books and a german dictionary, and finally a few political books, both historical (American Lion) and current (Dreams of My Father), all of which is an indication that these people like to dream big. The shelf is a mess, crowded with electrical equipment, and various soccer scarves claiming support. The books are laid sideways, indicating that the shelf is not ideal for the books it holds. Nor, apparently, is it big enough. There's more clutter on the top- this indicates that these people really aren't organized. And apparently don't seem to care. Go ahead, give it a go. It's kinda funny how well this actually kind of covers it.

Under normal circumstances, we have a large bookshelf that goes in our bedroom, filled with various books- mostly novels and fiction- mostly Mike's- along with yearbooks and baby books stacked at the bottom (to anchor the shelf... it's not fantastic, it's from Ikea. I think it was called Smmrgdderf). We strategically placed some knick-nacks and photos on the shelf to make it more friendly looking. We also have a second small bookshelf that goes in the office or guest room that has both of our school books, along with various paper products (envelopes, bills, fancy paper, etc). We also put some books on the coffee table, and on the shelves under the side tables in the living room. These are the 'smarty-pants books' to make us look cultured. I think we had a photo book of the graves of famous rock stars along side GQ's Red Book of Style... and probably a Victoria's Secret. Arty. Finally, some books end up in a mini-library on our respective bedside tables... these are the trusty dog-eared bunch... (well, mine are dog-eared. Mike's are not... apparently it 'messes up the books'. I say it gives them character. This is a psychological quagmire that we will deal with later.)

This brings us to the books that most frequently ended up in the coveted 'bedside table' position. For me, the top books are 'The Tipping Point' which I have read at least 5 times, 'Eat Pray Love', 'Charlotte's Web' the first 'big-girl' (ie: chapter) book I ever read, any 'Harry Potter', some fiction-of-the-moment (The Reader or something like that) and usually a non-fiction by David McCullough or something my dad told me I needed to read. For Mike, these books are 'Ender's Game' (amazing book), 'Dune', 'The Godfather' (also amazing), 'Jurassic Park', and 'The Hunt for Red October'. Obviously, Mike is a fiction man. One of my favorite times of the day is when I get into bed, grab the book off the beside table, crack it open and start to read. Opie usually lays with his head on my tummy and it is a very peaceful time.

Thanks, New Yorker- that was a great idea.


  1. Cuz, you skipped the most important part, as that one book looks suspiciously like A Short History of Nearly Everything which means I Just Decided I Think You're Groovy.

    Wait a sec. Maybe not JUST. But isn't that the coolest book ever?! It was the first thing that made me happy when I was lost in Vietnam. ;-)


  2. the social psychology of politics sounds intriguing!
    Thought provoking entry - I'm left wondering whether one can read anything into the placement of certain books in relation to others?