… but the music isn’t ours, ’cause we write love songs in C, we do politics in G, we sing songs about our friends in E minor; so tear down the stars now and take up your guitars and come on folks let’s try this at home…
I apologise for starting this blog post with a Frank Turner song (it’s not the first time), but it’s a brilliant one – “Try This At Home”:
It kind of sums up why I like Frank Turner – he doesn’t consider himself to be better than everyone else just because his music’s quite successful, you know? Anyway, seemed appropriate as a title for this post. Which I will now start, 110 words into it…
I don’t know whether it’s just my group of friends, but I haven’t been to many of their houses. I’m wondering if this is what Facebook etc has done to our generation – we don’t really ‘hang out’. If we do, we go to the cinema or shopping, we don’t spend time at each other’s houses as we used to when we were younger. But perhaps it’s just that we don’t want to have to cross paths with our parents… who often don’t like our friends. I don’t know.
Anyway, the few of them whose houses I’ve been to have very different bedrooms to mine. I’m not talking about size or colour (though mine is significantly less pink than many of them), but about content.
Their rooms are plastered with posters, photographs of themselves as kids and with friends, DVDs, toys from their childhood, a few books, a beanbag…
My room only has one poster on the wall. It’s a map of Middle Earth. Until a couple of days ago I had an entire wall of pictures of ballet dancers, but I took it down. I also had various pictures of penguins etc, but I took all those down too and then pulled the hooks out of the walls. I don’t have any DVDs in here – the few that belong to me are downstairs with the TV. My toys are all in cupboards or have been given away. I’ve wanted a beanbag all my life, but haven’t got one yet, or anywhere to put one – I have two swivel chairs instead.
And I have a lot of books.
I don’t have posters because I don’t need them. I have the books.
I think a bookshelf can say more about a person than a band poster. I’m not just talking about the content of the shelves themselves – whether or not someone’s got the Lord of the Rings is always an indicator, though. I’m talking about what they put where.
If someone’s only got one shelf, then granted, all their books are in one place. I have about twelve shelves of books, and I had to decide what I was going to put where.
What was I going to put on display for anyone who should walk into my room, and what was I going to hide away on a shelf that no one ever sees? What books did I want in the background of my videos and what did I want to pretend I didn’t own? The books you choose to show everyone, the ones you’re proud of owning, are a strong indicator of the kind of person you are.
My most visible shelf is probably the one above my bed, because it’s isolated, surrounded by blank wall. So what did I choose to put there?
I’ve got a few research books for novels – four books on Celtic mythology or similar, two books about life in the Soviet Union, three books on learning Russian, and the memoirs of Shostakovich.
Then I’ve got some of my favourites. Now, they’re not all my favourites, and they’re not all of my favourites, either. But on that shelf there are:
– 8 books based around ideas from Celtic mythology
– 2 sci-fi novels
– 2 books of debatable genre – steampunk or futuristic?
– 3 fantasy novels (Bartimaeus series, if anyone was wondering)
– 1 historical novel
– 5 YA novels that don’t fall into any of the above categories
So, what does that suggest interests me? The main one is Celtic mythology, evidently. All except two of those books are YA books (and one of those two is found in the Teen section in the library, though has a warning about adult content on the back). So, I’m probably a teenager, or a writer of YA (or both). There are five books, one of which is a trilogy, by the same author, so I probably like them a lot. Some of the books have plastic covers on and were evidently bought from a library. One is signed. One is ancient (well, from 1912).
What do your bookshelves say about you?
And for those of you who want to know what’s on the rest of my shelves / in the rest of my room, here is a video: