Whenever I visit someone’s house for the first time, I try to sneak a peek at their bookshelves. It’s amazing what you can tell about a person from their books. Take my old roommate, for example; she had a small collection of Christian lit. and YA novels. Just by glancing at her shelf, I knew that she was religious and liked to occasionally read for fun. I’m sure I’m not the only person who plays this game. It’s like puzzle, and each book is a clue about someone’s interests and personality. This is also a great way to spark conversations with your new acquaintance. (“Oh, you’ve read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Is it worth the hype?)
Recently, I started to wonder what my books said about me. If someone glanced at my bookcase, what kind of person would they think I am? As a little experiment, I tracked down all the books I’m currently reading (I have a horrible habit of reading four or five at a time) and put them in a pile. Here’s what I’ve got: Christopher McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes (World War II history book about the Cretan resistance), Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave (fantasy novel about young Merlin), Herodotus’ The Histories (classic account of the Persian wars), Louis L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man (memoir of a prolific Western-fiction author), and Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (collection of essays about the writing life).
So, what do these books say about me? I honestly have no idea. They only have two things in common: they’re all books, and I’m reading them. Other than that, they’re completely random, with no unifying themes, subjects, or genres. Would someone looking at this stack think I was well-rounded, or just nuts? I’ll compromise and say I’m generally curious and a tad eccentric in my reading life.
This has been an interesting little exercise. I’d encourage you to take a look at your own collection and see what it says about you. You might be surprised.