BOOK TAG: Shelfie by Shelfie #1

The Birthday Shelfie


My brilliant and industrious book blogging buddy, Jennifer from Tar Heel Reader, brought to my attention a rather fun tag in which one shares a picture (or ‘shelfie) of a favourite bookshelf and then answers ten predetermined questions about the titles displayed thereon. The tag and logo were created by Beth of Bibliobeth (please do visit her blog for more in-depth details regarding this jolly).

My inaugural shelfie is unusual in that it pictures books received for my birthday earlier in the month. I thought it may be fun to flaunt the titles I was gifted (mainly by my mum, who always makes inspired choices).


The Shelfie



The Questions

1) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

No reason whatsoever – it was simply a matter of eagerly unwrapping, enthusiastically examining and briskly carrying off the books to my den before placing them in no particular order on a surface kept empty for new arrivals. I do this with all fresh additions before deciding whereabouts in the TBR section they should be shelved.

2) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it / a memory associated with it etc.

I’m afraid I’m unable to supply a memorable anecdote. All the books pictured are either titles I have coveted for some time or, in a few instances, have materialized unexpectedly. For instance, I was unfamiliar with The Book of Prefaces by the Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray prior to ripping off its attractive floral wrapping. Conversely, I had long been aware of Orientalism by Edward W. Said, but had never given it much thought beyond knowing it was a highly acclaimed work concerning Western imperialism. Nevertheless, I am now looking forward to reading both books when the opportunities arise.

3) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

These were gifts, if you remember? I would therefore hang on tenaciously to every one of them until the mystery enforcer lost interest or found his/her own book to read.

4) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Oh heavens, what a difficult question. I would without doubt rescue Tove Jansson’s tome because I could never forsake a Moomin in adversity, although, I should have a jolly good attempt at saving the rest.

5) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

The first book I placed on the shelf, simply because it was heavier than the rest, was The World of Moominvalley, an instantly adored pressie from my mum.

6) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

Oh ‘eck! This tag is becoming more complicated with each question. All I can suggest is the first of these titles added to my ‘TBR: Most Wanted!’ list was: Ali Smith’s Public Library.

7) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

After flicking-through Moominvalley and placing it on my bedside table, I currently expect the first book I will attempt to fit into my reading schedule will be A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé, quite simply because I’m excited by its themes of passion for literature, a bookstore and erm, a profusion of books!

8) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

Aha! Finally, a question to which I can provide a straightforward answer – although, I’m sure I detected several ill-tempered groans of, “Oh no, I thought she’d finally put a sock in it on this subject!” Unfortunately not, because the mug at the centre of the picture (which had bagsied its space before the birthday selection appeared), was purchased from the official Hay Festival Bookstore last May. Designed by Emma Bridgewater and made in Stoke-on-Trent, it depicts various books and ornaments on a shelf. The slogan reads: ‘Imagine The World. Hay Festival 2018.’ I doubt it will ever contain hot tea or coffee for fear of causing cracks, but it may at some point become a receptacle for favourite pens (a job currently taken by my Acorn Antiques the Musical! mug).

9) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

This shelf will probably lead the more polite observers among you to conclude that my reading preferences are diverse, if not downright chaotic: from the Moomins to Robin Lane Fox’s Augustine: Conversions to Confessions in nine books.

10) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I won’t nominate any individual blogger as this tag is open to all who would like to take part. I will, however, add my own question, which you can answer if you so choose:

Which one of your books provokes in you the most extreme emotions and why?

Thank-you for reading.

Categories: Features

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

49 replies

  1. Oooh I have never seen this tag before! But I like it 🙂 Great answers and congrats on getting so many books for your birthday! I never get any 🙁 Tho that might be because I am a random reader and my family would never try to choose a book for me. Instead they would get me a book gift card haha.

  2. Oh, I love this post so much, Paula! I hope I can remember everything I want to say about it! 😊 I am humbled by your description of me- thank you. And Happy Birthday! 🎈I’m excited that you took a birthday shelfie because how perfect is that! I also love that your thoughtful mom gifted you most of these books. I adore the mug from Hay and will always remember my first virtual trip to Hay was with you! The variety in your book topics is lovingly eclectic (not chaotic!), and I’m fond of the covers being mostly blue (my favorite color) and the lovely way you’ve arranged them. I would not be able to either! I like the idea of having a preliminary area for new books before you find their perfect home. Your post is amazing, and Beth is going to be so thrilled you completed her tag. Last thing, because you numbered it #1, I am getting the hint that you will be doing another shelfie down the road?! Yay! 😊

    • Thank you so much for all your lovely comments, Jennifer. No need to feel humbled, it’s an absolute pleasure – you know how much I enjoy reading your reviews and other features. 🤗 I appreciate the “Happy Birthday!” (it was on 6th Aug). My mum (now 84) has always been a keen reader herself, although her favourite genre is crime fiction, but she’s so happy that I read and write reviews. We’re great chums (probably similar to you with your own mum from things you have said) and I feel really fortunate to have such a close bond with her. Yes, there were certainly a lot of blue book jackets in that picture (the orange one looked rather out of place wherever I put it).📘 📙 Yes, in answer to your question, I have every intention of posting a Shelfie #2 at some point! 🌺🦋

      • How wonderful that your mom is a reader, too, and that you are great friends. Yes, my mom is my best friend, too. I will be looking forward to Shelfie #2, and thank you again for all your kind words. I am forever grateful to have connected with you and to be able to talk all things books and Wales! And birds! We cannot forget the birds (and butterflies). 🌸 🌺 🌹 🦋

  3. Eclectic shelves are the best! Please tell your mum my birthday is in July… 😉

  4. What fun! Hmm…first I would have to decide which bookshelf in which room…

  5. Yay for Moominvalley! 🙂 Said’s Orientalism I’m familiar with, but never read the whole of it, only bits and pieces… An intriguing collection!

  6. This shelf does tell us something else about you – that you are a super organised reader. Your shelf for new arrivals is an interesting approach. Mine just get stuffed wherever I can find space right now.

  7. How lovely to have someone with a flair for bookish presents who know you so well! I haven’t read Alasdair Gray for ages. Maybe I’ll pull Lanark off the shelves.

  8. Love this meme, definitely nicking it. A Novel Bookstore is indeed a lot of fun; enjoy it! (Also, niche brag of the day: my best friend helped Robin Lane Fox organise his footnotes for Augustine. I think she’s in the acknowledgments somewhere.)

  9. What an interesting shelf and what an inventive mum you have too – wonderful! I’m sorely tempted to join in, though frankly I wouldn’t know which shelf to start with… Very intrigued by the Book of Prefaces – not one I’ve come across before! And seconded about Lanark – amazing book! 🙂

    • Thank you, Karen. I will pass on your lovely comment to my mum – she will be delighted to have been described as ‘inventive’ (which she is). I do hope you decide to join in with the shelfies. I’ll let you know about the Book of Prefaces when I eventually get around to reading it!

  10. I can just picture it your rescue attempt – that you would “rescue Tove Jansson’s tome because I could never forsake a Moomin in adversity” made me chuckle!! x

  11. What an interesting set of questions. Always great to get your answers. Imagine the World is a great slogan btw.

  12. Thank you so, so much for doing this Paula, I’m over the moon, honestly. Sorry that a few of my questions were awkward but I loved your answers!!

    • I should be thanking you for creating this brilliant book tag and sharing it with everyone. Your questions were clever, concise and fun to answer – not awkward in the least. I merely made things a tad more difficult for myself by choosing a birthday shelfie. Please don’t change anything, it’s just perfect as it stands. Anyhow, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my answers. I will be posting a Shelfie by Shelfie #2 in the near future. Look forward to exploring more of your shelves, too! 😊

      • Thank you so much 😊 I look forward to exploring some more of yours too! I’ve got one of my better organised bookshelves coming up soon so hopefully it will not look like complete chaos! 😂

  13. Your added question is a great one. I hope you don’t mind if I answer it here, as I’m not able to make time to do the shelfie questions in their entirety anytime soon. I’d say the two books that provoke the most extreme emotions are Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Russell’s The Sparrow. They leapt immediately to mind, and only afterwards did I realize that they both have to do with religion.

    • Thank you for responding to my question, Jeanne. That’s very interesting – religion is such an emotive subject – and has become more so in recent times, I feel. It’s no wonder your chosen titles provoke a powerful response. Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece has a similar effect on me, but I’m ashamed to confess I haven’t read The Sparrow. 😳


  1. Book tag: Shelfie by Shelfie #4 #shelfiebyshelfie #tarheelreader – Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader
  2. Winding Up the Week #32 – Book Jotter
  3. Book tag: Shelfie by Shelfie #5 and the much-requested Stair Shelfie #1! #shelfiebyshelfie #tarheelreader – Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader
  4. Book Tag: Shelfie by Shelfie #1 – Thoughts Become Words
  5. Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #10 | bibliobeth
  6. Book tag: Shelfie by Shelfie #6 and the much-requested Stair Shelfie #2! #shelfiebyshelfie #tarheelreader – Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader
  7. Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #11 | bibliobeth
  8. Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #12 | bibliobeth
  9. BOOK TAG: Shelfie by Shelfie #2 – Book Jotter
  10. Book Tag – Shelfie by Shelfie #13 | bibliobeth
  11. Book Tag – Shelfie by Shelfie #14 – Stephen King Shelf 1 | bibliobeth

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: