Friday, November 23, 2007

Judging people by their covers

My latest blog favorite is And it's about - you guessed it - any topic under the sun, all centered around books and literature. They ask readers to send in pictures of their bookshelves for possible publication on their blog's banner.

People are what they read. So I took a closer look at my own shelf.

From left to right:
The Smallest Majority
The Best Things to Do in New York
Running with Scissors
Leading Minds
700 Sundays
The Complete Book of Running for Women
Begging for Change
Long Walk to Freedom
The Namesake
The Tipping Point
Stumbling on Happiness
Yoga, The Poetry of the Body
A Year of Magical Thinking
The First Five Pages
A Reason for Hope
Four Noble Truths
The Elements of Style
Hard Laughter
The World According to Mr. Rogers
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
A Walk in the Woods
Einstein, The Life and Times
What I Know Now, Letters to my Younger Self
Women Who Run with the Wolves
Dreams of My Father
Bird by Bird
Oh The Places You'll Go
John Adams
Jefferson and Monticello

To be fair to myself, I am a fan of lending out books to friends so a few key ones are missing. Though this gives a pretty well-rounded picture of who I am and what I care about. As my friend Catherine pointed out, "That's quite an eclectic mix, miss." And yes, it is. Fittingly for a pretty eclectic person.

So what does this shelf say about me? I am a fan of history, political, social, and personal. (It was one of my majors in undergrad.) I'm a writer, or at least aspire to be. At heart, I am still a kid. I practice yoga and am spiritual. I am a liberal. I enjoy traveling. I care about the environment. I love NYC. I care about the world and would like some insight into how to manage it. And the variety of topics, writers, and cultures says something all its own. I am searching - for truth, for inspiration, for a different, new way to see what's around me.

And even more striking to me is what's missing. If I take a look at all of the titles and consider the stories between their covers, they are all about hope. You won't find one sob story among them. A decade ago, there would have been a very different mix. Maybe a little bit sadder, a little bit more lonely. A little less confident. This current stash shows great progress.

Our books are a form of self-portrait. Building these bookshelves is a good check-in, a solid way to reflect on where we are in this moment. Our books are our self-portraits.


Swiss said...

When you get your Mac, buy following software to manage your virtual library and lending to friends: It is called Delicious Library and can be found here:

Christa said...

Thanks for this hint, Swiss, and for reading my blog! I'll check it out.