What’s on your bookshelf?

I have the self discipline to keep myself from peeking in a friend’s medicine cabinet, even their liquor cabinet, but when it comes to bookshelves, I have to hover and peruse. What does this person like? Do they have books I have read? Books I want to read? Strange books? Runs on fiction by a single author?

Flickr is a photo service that lends itself to socializing by sharing annotated images. One Flickr image descriptor, or tag, that has taken on a life of its own is the “bookshelf” tag. Follow the link and you’ll see lots of pictures of people’s bookshelves. Some of them are even annotated with little callouts. Some are organized by color. Of course, the books you read and the books you show people are often two very different things. Predictably, some bookshelves are pretentious. Have you really picked up that book since your philosophy class? Did you even read it then?

I love shelves lined with puzzling books, disturbing books, tempting books. Looking at all these pictures makes me want to go organize my books and take some snapshots. Then again, moving books is work; building a virtual version of your library may be the next best thing. A company called Delicious Monster has cooked up something (for the Mac only right now) called Delicious Library that lets you create virtual shelves filled your favorite bookly booty, CDs, and DVDs. I wouldn’t mind having something like this, but this particular company seems to have swallowed a few too many wacky pills. So I’ll wait.

4 thoughts on “What’s on your bookshelf?”

  1. I’m actually that exact way with movie collections. Remember the music store nerds from High Fidelity? That’s me, except with movies. I end up making snap judgements based on people’s taste in film. For example, if you found it necessary to have anything directed by Michael Bay among your DVDs, I would have to re-evaluate my basic relationship with you.

  2. I guess you will have to check out my bookshelf next time you come over because mine only has stuff I read (not the pretentious crap… I give that stuff away). You’d learn a lot about me from my bookshelf.

    And Ben might not like the few DvDs that I have on it (star trek movies, and anything with Johnny Depp).

  3. i fear people making judgements of my based on what i read/listen to/watch.

    i put everything on my bookshelves, even the cheesy stuff that i probably wouldn’t want to admit that i love. i don’t have a “show” bookshelf, i just throw it all up there.

  4. No, I like Star Trek movies. I’m not only elitist, I’m a huge geek. Wait, come to think of it, it’s not like “elitism” and “geekiness” are mutually exclusive. And I tend to think Mr. Depp is actually a pretty good actor. You have to keep in mind that half the films I’m snobbish about are zombie flicks or Hong Kong action movies.

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