Saturday, March 10, 2007

What's on Your Bookshelf?

I was recently talking to a librarian friend of mine about what books we were currently reading and I mentioned to her that when I first go into someone's home, I am drawn like a vouyer to their bookshelf.

"The eyes are the windows to the soul" the old saying goes. But I disagree.

Give me ten minutes to peruse your book collection and I'll be able to tell more about you than anyone can tell by looking at your eyes. Paperbacks or hardcover? How worn are the books? Any classics or is it all pop fiction?

Favorite authors, favorite genres, favorite characters, favorite themes: these all reveal, at some level, our own aspirations, dreams, and fears.

And when it comes to non-fiction and how-to type books the number and type can reveal quite a lot. The aspirations, dreams, and fears are in no way hidden with these books. They were bought specifically to learn something that can be applied. So what, really are you doing with Stories Guide to Raising Beef Cattle? And doesn't that copy of Surviving Infidelity tell a little bit more than you really want the neighbors to know? Why is that copy of the Karma Sutra so well worn? (Maybe that's covered in one of the chapters of Surviving Infidelity?)

Are your books displayed out in the open or are they on shelves in private rooms? How many books do you own? How does your book collection compare to your video collection?

Some of you may be asking questions such as I asked once I first realized how revealing books can be. I know someone who has more televisions in his house than he has books. How do I view into his soul?

The answer is obvious: those without books, have no soul.

Or maybe they just keep them hidden from nosey people like you and me.

--Julian Franklin

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