The Margaret Atwood 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).
You are no doubt all too familiar with the ancient Greek cliché: to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. Well, my second Shelfie by Shelfie aims to meld two reading activities into one post. Through November, fellow Atwoodians across the book blogging community celebrate Margaret Atwood Reading Month. It is an annual challenge hosted by Naomi at Consumed by Ink and Marcie at Buried in Print to encourage participants to read, analyse, discuss and generally roll around with abandon in the works of this uniquely talented author’s work. The Atwoodfest begins for me with a shelfie.
1) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?
Due to an unfortunate muddle at the design stage, my library lacks lofty shelves – I therefore struggle to accommodate tall books. Although my Margaret Atwood section does at least have the required height to stand a hardback edition of MaddAddam upright, it is also somewhat compact (i.e. cramped) and lacking in length.
The shelf you see in the picture is temporary, and over time, I hope, nay expect, to increase my Atwood collection. Since this is an interim arrangement, the titles haven’t been chronologically or alphabetically ordered. So, there they will remain, randomly clustered together in typically Atwoodian heterogeneity, until I move to a new house (soonish, I hope) and establish a functional and more aesthetically appealing billet for my books.
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.
Please don’t think me a contrarian (at least, not unreasonably so), but this story relates to a book not currently on my shelf.
When I examined the picture in detail, I realised one of my Atwood’s was missing: Oryx and Crake, the first Speculative Fiction novel in her MaddAddam trilogy. After the initial shock, which required a whiff of smelling salts as I lay verklempt on the chaise longue, I recalled packing it in my suitcase for Cyprus some years ago – leading me conclude that I may have left it at my friends’ apartment (now shut up for the winter). I will leave no dust sheet undisturbed when I return there in September – and woe betide the culprit if it is propping open a door or stabilizing a wonky table leg. Until then, I will quietly mourn its absence.
3) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?
We’ll have none of that, thank you very much. I point blank refuse to part with another Atwood. They’re “mine, I tell you. My own. My precious.” Oops! Wrong author.
4) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?
Hmmm… Can I not save them all? Well, I suppose if for instance a tsunami was about to engulf my home, I may grab The Handmaid’s Tale. It is, after all, one of my all-time favourite books.
5) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?
Although I first read The Handmaid’s Tale in the mid eighties, the copy I devoured was on loan from Llandudno Library. The edition you see in the shelfie (published by Vintage in 1996) was acquired several years later. Since we’re seeking longevity, the title that takes the crown is Atwood’s Man Booker Prize winning The Blind Assassin, which I purchased new from Quality Paperbacks Direct in 2000.
6) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?
The newest addition was a gift from my mum last August and is also visible in my inaugural Birthday Shelfie. It is Atwood’s 1976 parody of Gothic romances, Lady Oracle, published by Virago Press in 2009.
7) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)
I’m invariably most enthused over whichever Atwood title I have in my hand. At present it’s her 1981 novel Bodily Harm.
8) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.
The object you see is a cuckoo chick sitting in a nest. It was a gift from a very dear but dotty American friend on my 21st birthday, and I must say, it made an intriguing change from the many decorative keys to the door and other shiny coming-of-age trinkets I recieved – most of which are now packed away in the loft. I know, I know… it seems so ungrateful, it’s just… Well, what do you do with them?
Anyhow, the eternally immature cuckoo, while having nothing whatsoever to do with Margaret Atwood, has always sat on her shelf because it appears to be content there. She is, after all, a life-long conservationist and birder, so I’m sure she doesn’t mind.
9) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?
It’s a wild guess, but this shelf may well lead others to conclude that I’m partial to the works of Margaret Atwood.
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 fancy taking part, but I encourage Atwoodians everywhere to share their shelfies during November.