make-believe: library corner.

April 9, 2018

We have a few small bookshelves in our house, or, more precisely, places where we shelve books. This weekend, I reorganized them. I put into deeper storage the extra copies of my own book that I had stuck on the top shelf when it came out two years ago, and pulled out from a crate in the closet a stack of other books that I decided it might be nice to occasionally remember that I have. A few, I decided upon closer inspection, would better serve other folks.

The truth is that as much as I love them, shelves upon shelves of books in my own tiny space can make me feel crowded. The best solution I’ve found is to keep only a selection of true favorites and to store most of those where there’s space in the closet.* 

But I admit that there’s something lovely about running your hands across book spines and pulling down for yourself a well-loved book of poetry or, perhaps, a book filled with poetic photographs. How rich we are when on a quiet afternoon we can pull a book down from a shelf and get lost for awhile. Here, a make-believe in-home library for finding a bit of solace as we wait on spring. 

On the nose encouragement to read instead.

A set of bookends for holding everything up.

wall lamp for dreary day and dark night companionship.

A step stool for the hard-to-reach shelves.

A bookmark for place finding.

A set of sticky notes for returning to old favorites.

And books: On houses, and waves, and love, and hope, and sleep. And anything else you find yourself needing to sometimes reference. 

A bit of greenery.

A bit of freshener (just in case some of those old favorites have gotten a little musty). 


In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are two things we might do to encourage good bookish habits:

To keep people safe, healthy, and self-sufficient: Teach them to read. The non-profit Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities around the world to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading. You can learn more and get involved this way.

To help build strong libraries: Seek out diverse books. The Conscious Kid is an organization that partners with folks across the country to “promote access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups.” Follow their work and support it right this way.

*(Okay, fine, and there’s still a box or two of other favorites in my parents’ attic.)

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  • Reply Eva April 9, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Hide and Seek looks like such a lovely book! I love cabins and hideaways – so romantic!

  • Reply Amy April 9, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I’m currently torn between giving away books and keeping them. I did a whole KonMari decluttering a few years ago, and I have serious pangs sometimes about the books I let go. Serious pangs. But I also find rows of books feeling like clutter, needing to be dusted, and sometimes being just too much. Also, Mary Oliver is one of my favorites. The witchery of living. 🙂

  • Reply Sophia April 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    Really into that sconce.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 9, 2018 at 2:46 pm


  • Reply MK April 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    This is probably the only space where I will never be a minimalist. I love physical books. No matter how small my apartment or bedroom in a shared apartment has been, I have always had shelves of books. I keep all the ones I like and like having them in a place I can see them every day. My dream is a house with walls and walls of built-in bookshelves so I have room for every book I’ve ever loved and more. Right now, in our small (but not tiny) apartment we have two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room with 6 shelves each, a smaller one in the bedroom with 3 shelves, bookends on my desk to hold in the stack of books there, another set of bookends on top of the wardrobe for the books there, and two lines of books along two of our deep windowsills. And that’s not all the books we own; I keep several more shelves at my parents’ house 😀 I’ll go get them someday when I have more space. To each our own! Just wanted to share in case there’s anyone else out there who’s a book maximalist like me 🙂

    • Reply Stephanie April 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Book maximalists of the world, unite! I was the only kid in my dorm who squeezed a full bookshelf in my tiny half of the room and filled it with books that had nothing to do with any of the classes I was taking, much to the bemusement of everyone else in my building (laugh-cry emoji here …) But! This is my favorite method for culling books:

  • Reply Codrut Turcanu April 10, 2018 at 7:42 am

    I’ve gave away and sold some of my books because there wasn’t much left on my shelves.

    I’m a big advocate of minimalist design when it comes to home decorating.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Reply Allegra April 10, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Another great organization is Reading Partners! You get to work one on one with a student over the course of a semester and they work in over ten cities across the US. I loved volunteering with them.

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