Updated Bookshelf Tour

Happy World Book Day! In celebration of this literary event, I thought I’d take you on a little tour around my bookshelves. Please buckle your seatbelt and don’t stick your hands out the windows.

Since my last bookshelf tour, my shelves have gone through quite an overhaul:

  • Last year, I moved out of student accommodation after graduating, which meant all of my books were in one place once more. This forced me to go through a rigorous rearranging process to accommodate all the new arrivals.
  • I donated a significant part of my collection, after admitting that I probably wasn’t getting around to reading about 5,000* books (*mild exaggeration, but still).
  • Still, my collection ended up essentially doubling — not only did I go to the 2019 Kolkata International Book Fair, but I also lived near secondhand bookshops all throughout 2018, which was a bad idea (or a really good one, depending on how you see it).
  • Cue more rearranging, squeezing books onto shelves and strategically disguising stacks around my room.

And here is the final result, after months weeks okay, days of hard work. To clarify, I have two bookshelves, and I’ll be referring to them as “the first shelf” and “the second shelf” throughout for clarity (or lack thereof).

Tier 1

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I decided to stick with the colour coordination, as the amount of effort it took me the first time around still hasn’t paid off. The first tier on my first shelf houses all the dark titles (not necessarily only because of their covers — please note the copy of Perfume by Patrick Suskind, which gives me the creeps, and a collection of Roald Dahl’s short stories).

Front and centre is a special edition of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman– i.e. proof of my lack of self control when it comes to beautiful books (I already own a copy of this book, but apparently that wasn’t enough).

And yes, that’s a photo of a goat with a Santa hat on the second shelf. No, I don’t care to explain.

Tier 2

Notable new additions to tier two of the first shelf include Lullaby by Leila Slimani and The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore, which I bought after visiting an exhibit on the Romanovs at the Science Museum in London.

On the second bookshelf, the next two levels hold the blue/purple titles, and yet more proof that beautiful books are the bane of my existence (please take a moment to appreciate the masterpiece that is The Binding.)

Tier 3

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Next up, we have a bit of an ombre and a gorgeous edition of Inkspell (are you noticing a pattern here?). I saved some flowers from a bouquet I got for my birthday, which now find a home here as well.

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Tier 4

The final tier in the first bookshelf has some more beautiful editions, including A Journey to the Center of the Earth with gold sprayed edges (which I got for one pound?!) and an illustrated version of How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

On the corresponding levels on the second shelf, there is the absolute GIANT The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon — which I was dumb enough to buy at the airport and then had to lug around for the rest of my journey — and, to be honest, any books that wouldn’t fit anywhere else.


If you’ve stuck with me this far, I thank you wholeheartedly for reading. I’m happy to chat if you have any thoughts, and once again, happy World Book Day!

Until next time!

Slightly Spooky Reads // Letters to October (13)

Dear October,

There are many things I like about you. The way the leaves glint copper and bronze in the sun. How there are fewer bugs around. And the countdown to Halloween… to some extent. As fun as the anticipation and festivities are, I’m not so fond of the actually scary parts of Halloween. Anything that remotely looks like it might have a jump scare or a girl with hair dangling across her face and I’m done. (In this context, ‘done’ means my bags are packed and I’ve moved to the other side of the planet.)

So, as today is Friday the 13th, here are some slightly spooky (and some not at all spooky) books for my fellow scaredy cat readers.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

This story is narrated by Katherine ‘Merricat’ Blackwood, who lives with her sister Constance and their uncle. Years ago, the rest of their family was killed in an incident involving arsenic and now, the Blackwoods are something like outcasts in society. Apart from necessary trips to the village, they manage to live in their little bubble until one day, an arrival from a distant relative starts to unravel their peaceful existence.

At the start of this book, you will likely get the sense that something is not quite right. There’s a sense of unease and tension from the very beginning, which only grows until the horrifying climax.

Spooky rating: 4/5 non-spooky ghosts
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Continue reading “Slightly Spooky Reads // Letters to October (13)”

Matilda at 30 // Letters to October (11)

Dear October,

This year, you bring the 30th birthday of a book very close to my heart. Roald Dahl’s Matilda is my favourite — I’ve written about it quite a few times (here’s a letter to the eponymous character and a post on why Roald Dahl is my favourite author). To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the novel’s publication, Puffin has released three special editions in which Quentin Blake imagines what Matilda would be doing as a 30-year-old. He sees her as an astrophysicist, a world traveller or chief executive at the British Library. He also thought up other possible scenarios (see this article by the BBC), and others have been joining him in imagining Matilda at 30 (see this article by The Guardian).

As such a fan of the book, my mind has also been churning with potential ideas since I heard about these special editions. So in today’s letter, let’s you and I imagine what little Matilda Wormwood could grow up to be.

1. Teacher

My strongest belief is that Matilda would want to help other children the way Miss Honey helped her. Before Miss Honey, Matilda didn’t have a real companion who recognised her potential, wanted to help her flourish, and most importantly, loved her. I think Matilda would be likely to return to the classroom, perhaps inheriting some of Miss Honey’s learning techniques. Imagine learning about quantum physics through rhyme.

Continue reading “Matilda at 30 // Letters to October (11)”