Friday, April 22, 2011

For the love of books... Confessions of a book nerd




Writers and readers love to collect books. Nowadays many of our bookshelves are tucked away in an e-reader or online, like mine at goodreads.com.





Kristin's bookshelf: young-adult


The Things a Brother KnowsSnow Flower and the Secret FanThe Case of the Missing MarquessFlash BurnoutGreat HouseThe Memory Bank
More of Kristin's books »


Kristin's young-adult book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists


Kristin's bookshelf: young-adult


The Things a Brother KnowsSnow Flower and the Secret FanThe Case of the Missing MarquessFlash BurnoutGreat HouseThe Memory Bank
More of Kristin's books »

That digital display is fun, but nothing lifts my spirit like gazing at a roomful of books.

Clearly, I'm not alone. There's even a Facebook page titled bookshelf porn. (Don't worry, it's G-rated!) And have you seen Neil Gaiman's library?

While I'm still a heavy library user, and swapping books is green and generous, there are some books I just want to own for keeps. I loved The Book Thief so much, I was tempted to carry it about my day, hugging it close. Six months ago, I loaned The Amazing Adventures of Kevalier and Clay to my dad. He still hasn't read it, and I'm itching for its return to my shelves. The Hunger Games Trilogy has been circulating among my friends for so many months, I'm tempted to buy another set. Jennifer Donnelly's award winning novel, A Northern Light, and her latest, Revolution, inspire me to take risks with my writing. And those huge Harry Potter books... They bring me so much joy, I have them scattered throughout the house.

My bungalow in Oakland, California had built-in bookshelves on either side of the fireplace. When we moved to Michigan, I needed to buy a bookcase. My husband suggested our new bookshelves should hold more art, fewer books. Say what? Books are art.


Have you ever walked into someone's house and felt an instant kinship at the sight of their bookcase? The first time I visited the apartment of my friend, Joyce, I discovered we had all the same books, from Reviving Ophelia to The Color Purple, from Margaret Atwood to Barbara Kingsolver. Ten years later and living across country, we email to share new book finds. Her latest recommendation was A Short History of Women. It was already on my shelf.

So what's the take-away from this post? I haven't imparted any wise advice like my blog partners. How about I send you away with a free book?

To support Teen Literature Day last week, readergirlz promoted the Rock the Drop event. People were encouraged to drop a book in a public place - a coffee shop, the subway - for lucky readers to find. Years ago, I was delighted to discover a book left on a park bench, with a note tucked inside, encouraging me to read, then share. That book is long gone, but I'd love to share one of my recent favorites with you.

Here's what you need to do to win a free book:
1. Become a follower of this blog (click the Follow button if you haven't already done so).
2. Post a comment below, by April 29th.

I'll randomly choose one lucky commenter. The book will be new and YA, but otherwise it's a surprise - you'll just have to trust me.

*Note: some readers have had difficulty posting their comments. If it doesn't work for you, just send me an email at kristinbartleylenz at gmail dot com. I'll post your comment for you, and enter you in the drawing for a free book.

*Thanks to my friend, Todd Abrams, for the Books Are Art photo.

23 comments:

Katie McGarry said...

I've never heard of Rock the Drop, but I love the concept. Great post Kristin

Kurt Hampe said...

Kristen,

Well posted. I used to keep every book I bought or was given, but now I donate most of the new ones to the library. I have my keepers, though, including three copies of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a collection of Daniel Pinkwater, and of course The Phantom Tollboth.

Here's another fine way of leaving a book for someone else: If you finish a book on vacation and don't want to carry it home on the plane, see if the airport has a USO. They often need fresh reading material.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

I'm already a follower and I love surprises. Especially YA ones!

Tracy Bilen said...

I love the Rock the Drop idea! And your picture is so fun!

Katie McGarry said...

Oh Kurt - The Phantom Toll Booth - that is one of my favorites too!

Laura Ellen said...

I so share that trait with you! A few weeks ago my husband finally moved the rest of his books downstairs so now the bookshelves that line the entire back wall of my office is ALL mine. I'd been stacking up books in piles, but now they can breathe and be seen. There is something so calming to me to sit amongst my shelves of books :)

Sarah P. said...

Great post. I just finished ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis. If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favor! Fantastic book! I would say 'I couldn't put it down' but since I have two young children, I had to put it down, many times, but I didn't want to! :D

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks for commenting everyone! Some friends have reported problems being able to comment which has happened before too. If you're having trouble, try refreshing the page.

I'm pasting a comment through Facebook from my friend, Julie. "Liked your post! I also just finished Across the Universe and Matched - just checked out Clone Codes from the library - have to see how it is."

That makes two recommendations for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. I'll add it to my ever-growing to-read list!

Kristin Lenz said...

Laura - I want to see your office with the entire back wall of bookshelves! Too bad Blogger doesn't allow people to post pictures in the comments section.

Krysten said...

I always check out people's bookshelves, too. When my best friend and I went to visit the Edsel Ford home, we both went to check out the bookshelves ;)

Katie McGarry said...

Testing.

Kristen Simmons said...

I love this rock the drop idea! That is so cool!

Melissa said...

I love checking out someone's bookshelf! It also has the added benefit of being a good conversation starter - something handy for those of us who are shy ;). Congratulations on your post!

Kristin Lenz said...

Hi Melissa - thanks for stopping by!

Kristin, Kristen, Krysten... we've got all the spellings covered! I was always the only Kristin growing up - now I know so many others. :)

bethany griffin said...

I tried to do the 100 book challenge last year, and only got to 73 books.

Highly recommend The Unidentified by Rae Mariz and Suzanne Young's upcoming A Need So Beautiful. I have a huge TBR pile that I hope to get to once I finish revisions!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Kristen, congrats on your first post! It's awesome. I love Goodreads to keep track of my books, especially my TBR list. Sorry I wasn't here yesterday, but I was on WriteOnCon's live chat that lasted 2 hours. What a great giveaway! I'm a follower.

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks Natalie. For those of you that don't know her, Natalie is contributing to the Literary Rambles blog. http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com.
She's giving away a free copy of Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney this week.

And if you stop by the readergirlz site/blog (the link is in my post), they are showing pictures of the fun places people left books for Rock the Drop.

Joyce S. said...

Yeah, Kristin! I love it. Here's to a friendship born in books. Miss you!
Joyce

Kristin Lenz said...

Hi Joyce! I love that... A friendship born in books. Thanks for providing me with some inspiration for this post!

Colette Ballard said...

Love that idea and great post! I just finished Looking for Alaska by John Green-LOVED it!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I've participated in similar things to Rock the Drop, and yes, the bookshelf is the first thing I walk to when I go into someone's house. I can't help myself--it's like gravity. :)

Janet Tait said...

I can't help myself from checking out people's bookshelves when I go to their homes, and I get a kick out of people looking at mine. But I wonder how much e-books will change that hobby? So much of what I read now is on Kindle, that my shelves are becoming less and less representative of my current interests. Hmm...

Kristin Lenz said...

And the winner is... Vicky Alvear Shecter! I was going to give away a recent favorite, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, but Vicky already owns a copy. So, she's getting an older favorite, A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly. Thanks to everyone for commenting!