Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What's on My Bookshelf

Dear Friend,

Today I'm linking up to the Modern Mrs. Darcy for the "What's on YOUR bookshelf?" synchro-blog event. This is a marvelous way for bookish types to get to know each other; bookshelves speak volumes about their owners!

Taking a moment to glance over a  person's books will likely glean many more insights about his or her worldview, taste, interests, concerns, and desires than could be disclosed in the same amount of time spent in conversation.

I'm planning to visit all the blogs who participate in the link-up this week.

If you are coming by Classical Quest for the first time -- welcome! I look forward to getting to know you. 
From the top: baskets contain needlework supplies and musical instruments. Boxes contain love letters from my husband and kids, and the seven year correspondence between my friend Jeni and me.
I read most of Willa Cather's works in my early twenties.
The Spy Doll was one of the first chapter books I ever read. (Charlotte's Web was the first.) I wrote a research paper on The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis during the short time I was in college. I purchased One Hundred and One Famous Poems when I was twelve with money I earned from cleaning my grandma's house. I've read it at least one hundred and one times.

If I had to pick one book out of my entire bookshelf that I think says the most about me, it would be Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Many of the titles on my bookshelf were purchased from public library book sales or consignment shops. I've read everything in this group except Les Miserables.

At age sixteen I discovered English author Daphne Du Maurier. I read every one of her titles that I could get my hands on. (I even read one while spending time on the grounds of a castle in Hungary.) I found My Cousin Rachel about twenty years ago in an antique shop. Du Maurier's style is a bit romantic for my current taste, but it was perfect for my sixteen year old self.

The books in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder are some of my all-time favorites. I've listened to the entire series read by Cherry Jones several times with my kids. I found On the Banks of Plum Creek last week for 50 cents.
I recently came across my copy of Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak. A slip of white paper fell out of it which was marked with a letter "A." On the back there was a note in my mom's handwriting: "Adriana wrote this "A" at age three."

I purchased The Great Palace of the Moscow Kremlin on the street in front of the Kremlin when I was seventeen.
I purchased the French dictionary from a school book sale when I was in grade school. I still refer to it from time to time.

Out of all the books in this stack, the slim unassuming black one has been studied the most. I bought it at the Biltmore Estate when I was nineteen. It's John Singer Sargent by Kate F. Jennings. 

Little Women and Anne of Green Gables were also some of my very first purchases. Strangely though, I just read Anne for the first time last year! (I could quote the entire movie with Megan Follows by heart though.) 

Great Hymns of the Faith is a new version of my childhood hymnal. 

I read Beau Geste when I was fifteen. I was desperate for something new to read, but wasn't yet old enough to drive myself to the library. I found this abridged version in our house. It turned out to be quite the page-turner!

Having Our Say is the autobiography of Sarah and Elizabeth Delany -- African American sisters who lived to be centenarians and never married. I think I'll read it again soon. It's charming, inspiring, and full of wisdom.

Unquiet Soul is a biography of Charlotte Bronte that my friend Jeannie Prinsen recommended. I haven't read it yet but I'm really looking forward to it.

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck and Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis are excellent chapter books for kids. I read A Year Down Yonder aloud to my family last summer when we went "down yonder" for a week long family vacation. (My kid's have told me I do a good Grandma Dowdel voice.)

I've read all these except for The Princess Bride. I found this copy at a consignment shop for a $1.00. It was recommended by Tim Fall.

Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King Jr. is underlined heavily. 

Redwall is another book we've enjoyed listening to as a family.

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle was recommended by Anne Bogel.  I highly recommend it for all spiritual/creative types.

I can remember listening to my dad read from  The Bible Story Library when I was young. It's full of famous Biblical art. I spent hours flipping through the volumes, studying each picture before I knew how to read.

Q: What do you call people who use Natural Family Planning?

A: Parents! :-)

Most of these are holiday titles that we will use this year for our Advent Literary Countdown.

Young Children and Worship helped me change my methods for imparting faith to my kids. It's kind of like Montessori for Sunday School : less lecture and more wonder.

I bought the John Hopkins Family Health Book before I had internet access. Now it serves as a nice leaf and flower press.

We've read The Child's Story Bible  by Catherine Vos through with our kids three times.

Sewing School was a Christmas gift for my daughter a couple years ago. We've enjoyed creating projects out of it together. The authors of this book also have a fun blog.

I've kept you long enough, but here are two quick bonus shelves --
This is where I store the books I'm working through for my Well Educated Mind project
And last but not least . .  . the cookbooks! Yay! 

I often use recipes from Barefoot Contessa, Better Homes, Joy of Cooking, and Fanny Farmer.

I did not include the bookshelf in our office (mostly reference materials), the playroom (children's books), or my virtual library on the Amazon Cloud. 

So that's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour! Don't forget to visit other blogs who have linked up to Modern Mrs. Darcy!

Peace & Joy,


P.S. Don't forget to "Like" Classical Quest on Facebook! Thank you!


  1. Ahh, books! I used to purchase great quantities of books. Now I am a bit more selective in my book purchases. But there is nothing like finding a hidden treasure at a used book sale

    1. Times have changed, haven't they Melissa? Most of the books on my shelf were purchased before I had the internet or an e-reader. I am more selective now too, but, yes, those hidden treasures are irresistible. :-)

  2. How fun! I want to do this, too. Maybe I'll find time today.

    I used my copy of Natural Family Planning until it fell apart. But the book that truly encouraged (me most of all) to trust God with our family size (and caused us to end up with five children) was definitely A Mom Just Like You by Vicki Farris.

    I'm reading On the Banks of Plum Creek with my kids right now.

    And I do the same thing with my WEM books. They are like a little family all their own.

    Thanks for sharing your books. It is like when I walk into a new friend's home, the first thing I want to do is peruse their bookshelves and learn all about them.

    1. I'm SO glad you linked up, Ruth! How fun! The bookshelf your husband built was amazing! And I would love to flip through your illustrated copy of Shakespeare's works. I could get lost in your house for quite a long time!

  3. I spy Hitty! My third grade teacher gave me that book as an end-of-the-year present but I've never known anyone else who's read it.

    1. How special that your teacher gave you a copy of Hitty as a gift, Katie! My copy came in a box of hand-me-down goodies. I was excited to get it because at the time I was on a quest to read through the Newbery Award winners. I read most of it aloud to my two oldest kids on a blanket in a meadow one summer. ♥

  4. Wow, that is truly an amazing collection, Adriana. I saw Daphne DuMaurier's "My Cousin Rachel" there; isn't that a page-turner of a book? Her "Rebecca" is still one of my favourite books ever.

    "Having Our Say" sounds really good! I'll have to hunt that one up -- I love (auto)biographies.

    I haven't read "Bud, Not Buddy" but have heard it's excellent; I've read Curtis's "Elijah of Buxton" though.

    And I love "Walking on Water" too -- really amazing book about faith and creativity.

    I could go on and on!

    1. Rebecca was my first DuMaurier and probably my favorite of her novels. It was unlike anything I had ever read up to that time.

      I really enjoyed visiting your bookshelf today too, Jeannie. This has been such an enriching event!

  5. This post made me smile so big, dear friend. :-) So many of your favorites are mine too!

    1. Of course we have many of the same favorite books! We're kindred spirits, Krista! ♥

  6. I expected great things from your bookshelves and these didn't disappoint! Although I am having twinges of regret--we have the softcover Story of the Worlds, and your hardbacks are so gorgeous! Sigh.

    Thanks for sharing your shelves!

    1. Thanks for hosting the link-up, Anne. I'm blown away by the number of participants! :-)

  7. Wonderful post! I got lots of ideas for new reads from your shelves. And I loved getting the "behind the scenes" stories about many of your books.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! You know, I almost feel like my dear old bookshelf is a bit like an over-sized scrapbook! :-)

  8. Oooh! I see several favorites on your bookshelves - Story of the World, Willa Cather, Anne of Green Gables - such good stuff! I also love your matryoshka nesting dolls! I used to live in Russia, so I have a special place in my heart for those dolls! :) Thank you so much for sharing - loving this link-up!

    1. Ginger, oh my word! I just took a quick peek at your bookshelves and I felt them pulling me in. I'm going to go fill up my tea-cup and then head over to your place for longer visit. So glad you stopped by! :-)

  9. HAVING OUR SAY is on my shelf, though I've never, ever read it. But I can highly recommend THE PRINCESS BRIDE. It is so incredibly fun.

    1. Oh my goodness! I don't know how I missed this comment, Caroline. I apologize. Yes, HOS is wonderful. I hope you'll enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by back in November!


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