The Perfect Bookcase: Stylish and Readable

I don’t want to admit how much time I spent on this design layout. Ha! And you’re probably thinking, “For that??” But I’ll tell you what, I had a ball doing it – it was just like painting! Plus, I had so much fun designing my idea of the perfect bookcase. I’ve often thought about what books I’d like to have near me wherever we live, but only in the vaguest terms; I’d never sat down and actually mapped it out, because… why would you? Every now and then you read articles like, “100 books to read before you die,” and they always get me thinking about what books I’d include in my list. So I finally sat down and put images to vague thoughts. Luke and I aren’t exactly in the position to be building a personal library any time soon, so this is the next best thing.

The titles I’d include in each section as my essentials are listed below. But honestly, I’d love to hear what you’d put in your dream bookcase, too.

1. A complete collection of the cloth-bound Penguin Classics by designer Coralie Bickford-Smith. (I have Middlemarch so far.) / 2. Elephant bookends, because I’m fascinated by elephants. / 3. An antique globe – I still find these very practical to have around. / 4. A bookcase, of course – I’m drawn to this modular one from Wayborn. / 5. This is going to be my section for Classics (see full list of essentials below). / 6. Ampersand bookend / 7. This is my Reference and section (full list below). / 8. Souvenirs from our travels (past and future), like this singing bowl. / 9. This section will be dedicated to Theology (see a list of titles below). / 10. I kept thinking about Frasier at this point. “A vase here, an objet there.” So, objets, naturally, like this lovely treasure box. / 11. Something living, but not too demanding that it would die on your shelf. This air plant in an eye-catching planter would do nicely. / 12. I love the way a framed painting looks hanging on a bookcase. As I’m a big fan of sill life paintings (of food), this Peach and Blueberries and Humbolt Fog painting by artist Abbey Ryan would be a constant source of inspiration. / 13. This would be my Contemporary Fiction section. / 14. Nonfiction.

5. Classic Literature: Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, The Count of Monte Cristo, Chekov’s Plays, The Collected Work of Flannery O’Connor, Huckleberry Finn, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, The Color Purple, Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit.

7. Reference: The American Heritage Dictionary, The Elements of Style by Strunk & White, The Writer’s and Artist Yearbook, The Artist’s Way, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, AP Style Guide

9. Theology: The Message, Irresistible Revolution, The Tao of Pooh, commentary by William Barclay, Mere Christianity, The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day, The Alchemist, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.

13. Contemporary Fiction: Gilead and Home by Marilyn Robinson, Tinkers by Paul Harding, Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, White Noise by Don DeLillo, A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano, Swamplandia! by Karen Russle, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, Ten Little Indians by Serman Alexie, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adiche, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, Saints and Sinners by Edna O’Brien, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

14. Nonfiction: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamot, The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuścinski, Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

*If you’re wondering about the books behind the paint (because, of course you are), they would be the books I look at only rarely, like my French books, Travel and Gardening, and Poetry (I wish I read more).

**The wallpaper is from Ferm Living.

So tell me: what’s on your perfect bookcase?


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