Mar 2, 2008

Behold! The bookshelves + Picking Favourites

My new bookshelves are up! I did some rearranging in the old shelves too, so only one and a half out of four new shelves were filled up. That means that there's lots of room left for future books, which is a a very good thing indeed.

Here are a few pictures:

The lower shelf is all fantasy; the second one has some more fantasy, some journals and books I'm not quite sure where to put, and my (less than impressive, I know) science fiction collection, appropriately decorated with Londo Mollari and Kiff. Now I just need a Marvin to put in front of the Hitchhiker's books.

Chris over at Stuff as Dreams are Made On asked his fellow bloggers a question:

What’s your favorite book or books in your library? Not necessarily the title, but the book itself.

I have to confess that, unlike some other book lovers, I don't really have many "special" editions. I do plan on eventually getting nice things like hardcover editions of my favourite books, The Absolute Sandman, or The Complete Calvin & Hobbes, but I haven't been able to afford those yet. Having said that, there are a few books in my collection that I especially treasure:

The largest one is a Portuguese edition of Michael Gibson's Gods, Men and Monsters from the Greek Myths, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli. The book is a collection of Greek myths retold for children, and as far as I can remember I have always owned it. Even before I could read I would look at the pictures over and over again. And after I learned to read, I read it until it almost fell apart (the picture doesn't quite show it, but the book is currently being held together by scotch tape). This book is partially responsible for my love of mythology, fantasy and stories in general, which is the same as saying that it is partially responsible for making me the person I am today.

Mark Kozelek's Nights of Passed Over is a poetry book. Mark Kozelek of the Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon is one of my very favourite songwriters, and this book collects his lyrics. It's a bilingual edition, but I pretty much ignore the translations, as translations are something I'm a bit wary of, especially when it comes to poetry. Anyway... the book was originally only published in Portugal, and I went to a release party where he played a few songs and signed books. This was many years ago, and since then I've been lucky enough to meet some of my other favourite musicians, and even a favourite writer. But that was the very first time I met someone I greatly admired, and so it was very special. Also, I was a nervous wreck. Mark Kozelek is known for being a bit cranky, but he was perfectly lovely to me. I think I might have embarrassed him with my excessive enthusiasm. Here's what he wrote:

On a side note, the name of my blog is actually a reference to this book. "Things Mean a Lot" is the title of a Red House Painters song, but the reason why I named my blog after it was something he wrote in the introduction:
While checking back through the lyrics for a final look, a few lines in particular caught my attention, both from the song "Things Mean a Lot". One is, "things mean a lot at the time, don't mean nothing later," and the other, "scares me how you get older, how we forget about each other." I was feeling bitter when I wrote the song, but it's clear that everything has its place and meaning, and that no one is forgotten.
This passage struck a cord with me, because I have always believed in the importance and meaningfulness of little things; and that, ideally at least, the things and people (and books) that were once important to us will always be special in a way, no matter how much we change or what happens in our lives.

Finally, my copies of Wintersmith and The Last Hero signed by Terry Pratchett are the most special of all. I don't think I need to explain why - anyone who's been reading this blog for longer than, say, two days, will know that I pretty much worship Terry Pratchett. So these books are precious to me, and their place in my heart will only be matched if I ever get to go to a Neil Gaiman signing. Who knows, maybe someday...


  1. Yay for pics of bookshelves! :) I don't have any 'special edition' books either-I'm a reader, not a colector. But your signed books are nothing to be scoffed at!

  2. Congrats on the new bookselves. One can never have enough of those, I think!

    I've been reading mythology books to my 11 yr old son lately, right before bed each night. There is something so magical and wonderful about myths. We finished the Greeks and have now moved on to Eygptian and Norse. (I've forgotten how gory some of them can be! Greeks and all)

    I see from your profile you like writing. I have a six-word writing challenge on my website right now. Check it out if you're interested.

  3. Love this post, Nymeth! I'm so glad Chris started this, because I am enjoying seeing everyone's precious possessions so much. Actually it's the stories about why they're so precious to each person. It's like a gift...getting to really see a new little slice of you, if that makes sense.

    Hooray for the new bookshelves! And hooray again for room to expand the old collection :)

  4. your shelves are so neat and tidy!!I wish I had a digital camera or a scanner so that I could show the world my shelves..they are a joke!

    and finally we know the meaning of your blog's name:) nice!

  5. Nymeth, I love your bookshelf! And speaking of bookshelf, I need some more as mine is all filled up! But then, even though if I do get a new one, I'm not sure where to put it either!! LOL. So at the moment, my "extra" books are stacked up on our study desk, not a very nice view though, hehe...

    And yeah, I'd love to have Neil Gaiman to sign some books for me too! ;)

  6. For me, it's not necessarily what the book is worth--but what it means to me. Some of my favorites are also ones that are hanging on by a thread that I've luckily saved before my mom could sell them at a garage sale or such. Unfortunatley I wasn't able to save all of them, but I've always got my eye out for those so my kids can enjoy them one day.

  7. I like all your little figures guarding your new bookshelves and I am glad to see you have Wicked with the older better cover not the newer green one. It's all about getting to meet your favourite musicians and authors and getting their work signed. Just to make you sick my friend went to a signing by Neil Gaiman and was the last in the queue. Neil invited him out for a drink as long as he didn't mind a couple of his friends stopping by. My friend not being stupid said of course! His friends turned out to be Lenny Henry and Tori Amos. I am no longer friends with the guy as I am far too jealous!!!

  8. great post! I have a few signed books too (even one of Anne McCaffrey who I adore so much) they truly are special! I'm loving reading everyone's favorites.. glad it got around so much!

  9. ah, its lovely to see all your books up there!!

    its very cool to know where your title comes from. it kind of completes the picture now.

    those really are some special books! especially the pratchett of course...!

  10. Yay for bookshelves, and especially for shelves with space on them for more books! Something I'm very lacking.
    It was fun to see your treasured books and the stories behind them and to learn about the inspiration for the title of your blog. :)

  11. Eva: Yeah, at the end of the day what makes me happiest is simply a book that I can read. But if one day I can afford them, I won't say no to a few pretty editions!

    Rhea: Reading mythology to a child must be a wonderful experience! I have seen the six word memoir on a few blogs, and it's great to see what people come up with..I'm going to have to give it some thought :)

    Debi: Glad you liked it :) I have been enjoying seeing everyone's posts too! You should do one, you know :P

    Valentina: They're neat and tidy because they are new :P Give them a few months!

    Melody: Yeah, that's the way my books were before I got this shelf too. And after this one's full there's absolutely NO room for more, so basically I'll go back to piles on the floor. Hopefully that will take a while, though.

    Trish: The sentimental value of a book is definitely very important. It's too bad you lost some of your treasured books :(

    Rhinoa: I just love that edition of Wicked! I want to make sure that I get the edition of Son of a Witch with a similar cover. Your friend is just beyond lucky! I'd be too jealous to look him in the face too :P

    Deslily: Signed books by favourite authors are very special indeed! I've been enjoying reading everyone's posts a lot too :)

    JP: Glad you liked the picture. I know what a bookshelf voyeur you are, so I imagined you would :P

    Tanabata: I have the feeling I will be lacking it again in the near future (Must.stop.myself.from.getting.more.books) I'm glad you enjoyed reading it :)

  12. I had wondered where the name of your blog came from. I love the quote! It's so fun to see which books you treasure, and hear why. You do have some treasures!

  13. Love the bookshelves and the way that you have them arranged. They look great. Love the postcards and everything too. I'm so excited for you as I know from personal experience how wonderful it is to have new bookshelves and how fun it is to get them all set up.

  14. These are very nice bookshelves. And very neat! Where's the dust?

    And you're right. Things that mean a lot to us a long time ago will continue to be special. Because even if we have changed over the years, these special things are part of the reason for our growth.

    I love your Londo Mollari figurine. But you need a G'Kar to stand next to him to complete the set. Preferably with Londo's hands around G'Kar's neck.

  15. Thank you for sharing how your blog got its name - that is special and so true!
    Your new bookshelves look great and those poppets are the perfect touch :)

  16. You have my favorite Futurama character on your bookshelf!

    I have The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, and it's much less exciting than I thought it was when I opened it a couple Christmases ago. The thing is, the books are so enormous and heavy that it's uncomfortable to read them unless you're sitting at a table. You just don't want such heavy things in your lap. But first you have to make sure the table is approximately 1000 meters by 1000 meters, and then you have to clear a giant space for the book, and then you have to haul the book over to the table, preferably with a tractor.

    Beyond this, the books do not fit in any bookshelf. This means that they sit around in their original box (you know, the open-ended kind boxed sets come in, only as large as a cave housing an entire city of grizzly bears). And sitting around in the original box, they collect dust. And since no single human being has the strength to lift the entire set of three books, they sit around on the floor, which means hiring seven burly men to move them every time you want to sweep the floor. Really, you're so much better off collecting Calvin and Hobbes in the original paperbacks.

  17. Robin: I actually had the impression that I had done a "Where does the name of your blog come from?" meme at some point, but checking the archives I see that I didn't. I probably just thought about doing it. Anyway, now you all know!

    Carl: The postcards from Scotland are a new addition. Looking at them and remembering that I've been to those places never fails to make me smile. Getting everything set up was lots of fun. I'm glad you like the way they look!

    Dark Orpheus: Like I told Trish, just give them a few months :P You are SO right. A G'kar next to Londo would be absolutely perfect. This reminds me, I need to get around to watching the first season DVDs that I was given for my birthday. I miss watching that show.

    Iliana: I'm glad you like them! And yeah, bookshelves without Poppets just look incomplete to me these days :P This is what blogging has done to me!

    Dewey: He's my favourite character too! I find gim so adorable in an awkward sort of way.

    And lol! That both cracked me up and made me glad that I don't have it. I wish they'd made it more like The Complete Peanuts - more volumes, but books you can actually read.

  18. Oh what a great great post!! I love pics of bookshelves :) I agree that you need a Marvin. When the Hitchhikers movie came out they had an awesome little Marvin robot plush and a little robot, but I was too slow in getting it and now it's sold out :(

    I love the stories behind your favorite books and the signatures. And I love that we got the story behind your blog name...I knew there was one there ;)

  19. Great post - like I said before, I love peeking behind the scenes!
    You know, it IS fun to get special editions of your favorite books, but it seems like I always go back to the worn and slightly tattered copies that I've been reading for years...
    I can't believe I missed the Kozelek connection in your title - my only excuse is that I tend to think of each of his albums as a single entity, and so I don't really know many of the song titles (I do the same thing with hem,Iron and Wine, Keren Ann, and old rem records).
    April is an amazing record - I've probably listened to it at least once a day since it arrived on my doorstep. I love your story of the book-signing - I think you were lucky to have caught Mark in a pleasant mood! I saw the Red House Painters once back in '94 and he kept his back turned to the audience during the entire performance - it was an incredible show, in spite of it.
    And now, presented for your edification - here's a live set of Sun Kil Moon
    from 2004, I hope you enjoy it:

  20. Chris: Somehow I'd missed your comment here until now. I didn't know the Marvins were sold out! I saw some in Nottingham at Forbidden Planet, but it was towards the end of my stay and I really couldn't afford to add to my luggage...but now I wish I'd bought one :(

    Ken: There is definitely a lot of charm to old, well-read copies of one's favourite books as well.
    I do feel very lucky! I saw him last November in London and he was in a good mood too. I didn't get to talk to him, but he played "Have You Forgotten" has a request from a guy who was proposing to his girlfriend. Plus he joked around a lot, and not at the expense of anyone in the audience :P
    Thank you SO much for the link to that show! What an amazing recording. The strings are killing me. So so beautiful. I really can't thank you enough!


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