Burning Question: Yourself On A Shelf

Oprah has inspired me (how many guys have ever said that sentence?).

A few days ago, I was making dinner. Sherry was watching Oprah in the other room (i.e. drooling over Nate Berkus in the other room). That’s when I overheard Oprah say “I love seeing what’s on people’s bookshelves.” I realized I do too, and so does Sherry, so we thought we’d ask.

Pick a bookshelf or bookcase in your house and tell us 3-5 items on it that say the most about you (and why, if you’d care to explain). Maybe there’s a book you’re especially proud to have read, or one that you’re slightly embarrassed to own? Perhaps there’s a special family photo, travel souvenir or collection that you like to display? Or heck, it could even just be a decorative accessory that you think is especially telling of your style. We can’t wait to peek into your world through your bookshelf description. Sound off at the beep. Beep.



  1. Melissa says

    My collection of ceramics (made myself), harry potter and gone with the wind books, and my civil engineering text books (nerdy I know).

  2. says

    I have one bookshelf in my appartment and it’s chalk full of cook books! I hate clutter and waste so I always get my normal books (novels, etc) from the public library but I just love to have stacks of cookbooks to flip through. To fit my criteria a cookbook should have a picture to go with every recipe. Gotta love those glossy pages.

    Other than that it just has a few storage boxes that essentially take the place of desk storage. Not as interesting.

  3. Kim says

    1. A cheesy old book called Dress that we found in our garage–it’s from a 1950s home-econ class, and says that women should dress up for when their husbands come home from work. And wear long gloves.
    2. A toy pink car that our daughter gave us for our 15th anniversary (when our marriage was old enough to drive)
    3. Pam Houston’s book Waltzing the Cat, which I stole from the library (and then paid them for)
    4. A wind up nun that spits fire
    5. Tom Robbins book that he signed for me

  4. Amanda says

    Our bookcases are filled with university textbooks. Since I’m in academics professionally, and my husband’s an electrical engineers we are constantly adding to the collection! However, we do through in some fun stuff, like Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopoholic, and some autobiographies like Barbara Walter’s Audition and Barack Obama’s Audacity of Hope – slightly surprising I expect since we are Canadian :)

  5. Beth says

    Awwww…this is a great post! I have some senitmental things on my shelves in the office. A black and white photo of my Grandparents walking down the street of Calgary, AB during WW2 (my Grandad is dressed in full military gear too!), a collection of old books from my Dad, and candle in the shape of a football with a Clemson Paw on it!

  6. Jennifer says

    In one side of our great room entertainment center/shelving unit:

    1. a silver tea set that my husband (then-boyfriend) brought me from Turkey paired with some tiny colorful pottery my best friend brought me from the Philippines
    2. two of my favorite pictures of my husband and I framed
    3. a small fertility statue (I collect fertility statues from different countries which I plan to one day use to decorate my office as a nurse-midwife- I’m in midwifery school now!)
    4. 3 coordinating photo albums filled with pictures of my husband and my 8 years together
    5. several midwifery and feminism books, the ones I’ve actually read and treasure
    6. a woven basket from Pier One with Wii parts and games!

  7. Heather says

    We just got married and are very much still adding to our collection, but a few decorative accessories we have are the big, white artificial flower I wore in my hair on our wedding day, a giant conch shell from our honeymoon and the ‘W’ we had on top of our cake :)

  8. says

    Bookcases in our family room houses many things but the 3 most significant ones to me personally are

    1) Art books we have brought back from countries we have travelled to. Art transcends all languages – we even have books that are not in a language we know

    2) Scrapbooks and photobooks I have created over the years

    3) A framed enlarged photo of the back of a circus elephant sitting and a boy sitting beside him with his arm around him. It’s a popular print but I love it because my husband bought it from the breakfast cafe near the first apartment we lived in, also my first residence after moving to the US.

  9. Ashley says

    1. My Bible
    2.Picture frames with photos of my and my boyfriend (one from Valentine’s Day two years ago and one in front of a really old gorgeous movie theatre).
    3. Twilight and Harry Potter.. the two series every book connoisseur should have! :)

  10. says

    Our big Expedit:
    1) A pretty Waterford bowl we got as a wedding gift
    2) A samurai sword from a friend in Japan
    3) My collection of Phillies’ bobble head dolls.

  11. tab says

    i only have one book shelf in my tiny house. One of those ikea cube ones.

    The is an entire row of architecture books, pictures vacations, and a few tinkets and odd toys like a tin duck that rides a bicycle when wound

    What is says about me is pretty obvious, i love architecture, traveling, and am playful by nature.

  12. says

    My bookshelves are overrun with colorful board-books in various shades of touch and feel… that pretty much sums up our lives with two kids under 2!

    BTW- I imagine one could glean quite a bit of information about you, that your bookshelves are organized down proper color order- ROYGBIV! I bet if I could read the titles I see they’re alphabetized too!!! :) Rock ON!

  13. says

    We haven’t put anything up in our new house yet, but at our townhouse we had floating shelves in our living room that had photographs that I took in Africa, pottery that I bought at an artists fair in Arkansas, and an old Native American vase that belonged to my grandmother. :)

  14. says

    Green storage boxes: we have about 6 Ikea green storage boxes strategically placed in two bookcases to hide clutters. I am a hater of clutter, and therefore, anything that cannot be beautifully display gets dumped into these boxes. They are green! It is my favorite color.
    Fun reading books: I only like to display great books that I purchased to read FOR FUN ONLY. All academic books are stored elsewhere.
    Diplomas: our high school diplomas are proudly being display as key items. It’s funny how our subsequent diplomas achieved are not on display.
    Other decorative items: such as colorful vases, cute book ends and pictures are also placed in prominent places.

  15. ChristinaMarie says

    My favourite items on my bookshelf are (in no particular order…)

    *A small wine bottle my brother filled with the Mediterranean (water, rocks and shells) while in Spain.

    *My ampersand bookend.

    *My favorite books from childhood: Where the Wild Things Are & The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles.

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