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Friday, August 29, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Shelfies

Posted by on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 4:44 PM

1409345725_tmp_readerbookcasepic.jpg

I'll get right to the point: I added [the above] photo of one of my bookshelves to my online dating profile and I would like it if other people started doing the same thing. I'm trying to start a movement here. Maybe you can help me spread the word? Of course you are featured on my bookshelf photo. (I chose your first book to show how far back "we" go!)

Thanks for being you—I grew up homeschooled by religious fanatics in the deep south but I'm an out, bisexual, and GGG feminist today thanks in part to discovering your column.

Have a great holiday weekend,

Book Lover

As a lover of both books—physical books, not ebooks—and the people who read them (particularly the people who read mine in any form), BL, I fully support this concept and sincerely hope your movement catches on. People who read books on tablets or Kindles can post pictures of their reading lists. And I hope that you and all "Savage Love" readers out there have a great holiday weekend!

 

Comments (46) RSS

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1
Yes, joining your movement. Just have to crawl under my Studio, so I can capture the plastic boxes and boxes and boxes of books that don't fit in my room.. A holiday weekend for you guys? Have a good one.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 29, 2014 at 4:51 PM · Report this
2
Don't most online dating profiles already offer a place to discuss favorite books?
Posted by Tyler Pierce on August 29, 2014 at 5:03 PM · Report this
3
Discussing/listing your favourite books is so very different to the moment you walk into your date's house and see their bookshelf for the first time, it lets you know so much. There are books that say this will be a fun night, books that tell you there could be something more and books that make you realise you should leave.
I love this idea.
Posted by AskMM on August 29, 2014 at 5:20 PM · Report this
4
Idea: #ShelfieSaturday as a counterpart to #ThrowbackThursday, for those of us out of teh dating pool.
Posted by R.Taylor on August 29, 2014 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 5
Ugh, don't you people at least group according to subject matter? And put your fiction in alphabetical order? Or should I run all over the house and grab the twenty most interesting titles and put them together for the photograph so I seem interesting myself? Or should I just photograph my shelf of Australian Aboriginal Art books? I'm so stressed out now!
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 29, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this
6
I think the problem with this movement will be the problem with all photos on dating sites, showing off by ... what do people do? puff up, photos from a younger age, to outright fakes... to impress.

Faking a Shelfy would be even simpler.

http://www.theonion.com/video/new-kindle…
Posted by jnonymous on August 29, 2014 at 6:46 PM · Report this
7
I'm with Fnarf: I shelve my books alphabetically, with various sub-categories. May I suggest a slight variation on this? What books are on you nightstand/next to the bed, for reading in bed solo or with someone? There'll be the book you're trying to read, the book you mean to read, the book(s) you are actually reading. Plus bonus shot of pillows/alarm clock/other fun things.
Posted by Chicago Fan on August 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM · Report this
8
I think that photo is pretty hot and if I were part of the online dating scene, I'd definitely do this and an interesting book shelf (nice rack!) or reading list would add to someone's attractiveness. And alphabetizing or grouping by topic? Well, for some, that is probably a turn on but I sort of like the disorganization. Matches my own shelf.
Posted by From the South (as in CA) on August 29, 2014 at 8:17 PM · Report this
9
I like it, just because it shows not only what books you read/think make you look good, but also for the clues to character and lifestyle given by how the books are arranged.

I remember a man, years ago, telling me he knew a lot about me just from walking into my apartment and seeing all the orange paperbacks in the bookcase - "Ah, she reads a lot of Penguins!"
Posted by agony on August 29, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Fnarf 10
@9, orange Penguins are definitely an aphrodisiac.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 29, 2014 at 8:56 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 11
I kinda like it, and I'm actually on dating websites, I might give this a spin... and I'm not going to re-organize beforehand either.

Maybe I'll add a photo of my dvd collection too.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 29, 2014 at 9:28 PM · Report this
12
[non-HA]

I congratulate LW on surviving fundamentalist homeschooling and thank LW for illustrating how Mr Savage may be one of feminism's great polarizing forces. I frequent some feminist venues where about once or twice a month someone calls Mr Savage a horrible human being and draws a huge crowdthink response of how obvious that is, and others where he is regarded with guarded general approval. Strangely, both the feminist and the anti-feminist with whom I most agree (of the various members of their respective camps) - or least disagree - speak of Mr Savage in practically identical terms of usually agreeing with him.

I mention this because I've been following several threads in various locations in which feminists have been presumed to be highly monolithic, and only yesterday or the day before saw a strongly anti-Savage feminist comment. (Strangely, I don't think I've seen any commentary in other circles about his attempt to turn over the weekly thread completely to the women, and I was wondering how people elsewhere would react to that.)
Posted by vennominon on August 29, 2014 at 9:35 PM · Report this
13
I guess even knowing what people pretend to have read is revealing. E.g. I prefer to date people who pretend to read Woolf over those who pretend to read Roth.
Posted by Jude Fawley on August 29, 2014 at 10:10 PM · Report this
Ophian 14
Well: Lawrence Sterne, Zora Neale Hurston, David Bohm, and some George MacDonald Fraser...but of course that's just what I'm reading right now.

Sherry, anyone?
Posted by Ophian on August 30, 2014 at 12:41 AM · Report this
McBomber 15
@13, indeed. I would have to assume that any "shelfies" were staged, but so what? I recently read that the Coen brothers have never read The Odyssey, but still created Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, simply based on "cultural osmosis." They did a pretty good job. So if you can talk about a book intelligently, does it matter if you've actually read it?
Posted by McBomber on August 30, 2014 at 12:41 AM · Report this
16
Thanks @14; Sherry would be nice. I've been going thru my Bloomsberry books or at least reading about Francis Partridge and Carrington. In between whatever novels I like the sound of. Hard to find a good engrossing novel. Any suggestions?
Do not read Wolfe or Roth.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 30, 2014 at 2:09 AM · Report this
17
If you do that on OkCupid, the picture will get flagged. People only. I've had it happen from a picture of my hair.
Posted by Glitterkick on August 30, 2014 at 5:46 AM · Report this
nocutename 18
@17: I've seen all sorts of photos on OkCupid that don't have people in them. I think that despite the official policy, OkC isn't going to bother removing a picture unless a user flags it. Someone has to find the photo offensive to flag it, and I doubt that anyone would bother to flag a photo of books. (I've seen extreme closeups, pictures of dogs only, pictures of cars only, landscapes without a person in them, non-representational sculpture, signage, etc.)

And yes, it's true that these photos would be as staged and manipulated as anything else people post in an effort to attract others, but you have to already have the books in the first place in order to take the photo, no matter how artfully arranged or disarranged or staged. So that would tell you a lot.

My books are organized according to principles that make sense to me, but may not to others. And then where they fit. And then whether I recently acquired them and whether or not there's space for the newly-acquired book(s) where they "should" be. And then . . .
Posted by nocutename on August 30, 2014 at 6:40 AM · Report this
COMTE 19
What Fnarf said. And while I'm not quite that borderline OCD with my organizing system, they are arranged by-subject, so the question then becomes: WHICH of the shelves do I include? History? Arts? Biography? Light Fiction? Classics? Sci-Fi? Philosophy & Science? Or maybe I just go with the "to read" pile on my nightstand?
Posted by COMTE on August 30, 2014 at 8:19 AM · Report this
fletc3her 20
I love this idea. I'd probably assemble a small shelf of what I'm reading now and some of my favorite books. Books are important to me so I like the idea of demonstrating that visually.

Really it's a good idea to post a picture of whatever your passion is on your profile. The classic car you're working on, your garden, your musical instrument, 3d printer, boat, home remodel, whatever.
Posted by fletc3her on August 30, 2014 at 8:38 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 21
As John Waters said, "If you go home with someone and they don't have books, don't fuck them."

My home library has over a thousand books. Seven bookshelves that are 3 feet wide by 7 feet tall. All full, with overflow books stacked on top of other shelves books, stacked on the corner pieces intended for knick-knacks, stacked on the nightstands in my bedroom.

True story: when I moved in and had to organize my 63 boxes of books, I hired two college guys to help me. They were advertising nude housecleaning, so I hired them instead to do nude alphabetizing. That was a lot more fun for them. They're organized by subject or genre, then alphabetical by author, then by title unless they're in a series, in which case they're sequential.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on August 30, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 22
@17 - Wouldn't be too hard to take a picture of yourself standing beside your bookcase(s).
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on August 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Ophian 23
@16, if a rollicking romp through the Victorian Era with plenty of sex, violence, and insightful historical endnotes sounds appealing, I heartily recommend The Flashman books.

Cheers. *sips sherry*
Posted by Ophian on August 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
24
I once spotted a self-help book on a GF's shelf called "The Fifty Mile Rule". She lived more than fifty miles away. I asked "What's that?" and she said that she didn't know what it was or how it got there. That was over with pretty quick.

Also avoid partners whose favourite book is a self-help volume called "The Dance Of Anger" and only have "The Prince" (not the little one) on her bedside shelf. That one didn't last long, either (surprise).

So, yeah, look at the actual bookshelves.
Posted by SifuMark on August 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM · Report this
xjuan 25
Ever since I moved six years ago, many of my books remain in boxes. There are too many windows (nice!) and too little walls in my house, so I've never got to reorganize them, except some sections. Also, I have to be honest: I haven't read them all. I am waiting for my old years so I can catch up (or so I try to convince myself of). Maybe the honest thing to do is to include the books one has read although there are book that are influential even if one has never really read them.
Another question: Is it proper to include in the shelfie the one or two or six books one has written even if they've never sold many copies or would that be considered an act of banal vanity? WWDD? (What Would Dan Do?)
Posted by xjuan on August 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM · Report this
AFinch 26
This is genius. I used to make a point of leaving books out that I thought might convey a message to visitors (dates) but doh...never thought of this. I have no online dating profile any longer, but if I did, I'd totally do this. Genius. I would most certainly include some titles from Messr. Savage...probably Jay Wiseman too...just to remove any ambiguity.
Posted by AFinch on August 30, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
27
@23 - I heartily second that recommendation. An enormous amount of fun.
Posted by agony on August 30, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
nocutename 28
Yes, Flashman!
And anything else George Macdonald Fraser wrote.
Posted by nocutename on August 30, 2014 at 12:41 PM · Report this
29
Thanks, Ophian.. I do like a bit of naughty in my books. People don't often write naughty well.. And cheers back. Don't often have
sherry( never really), but this ones a nice drop. How generous of you to share.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
30
@25; you've written one or two or six books? Impressive .
Of course, put them in your shelf photo, well maybe not the six, one might be enough. Or two. Well done.
Thanks Agony and Ms Cute.
Posted by LavaGirl on August 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
31
@25 well, I don't know WWDD, but as a published author myself I would recommend you include some of your own if (a) it was published by a "real" publisher, or (b) if self-published, if you are very proud of it regardless of sales, or if you're not but it sold well include it anyway, what the heck.

I had dinner once at a very famous author's house who had sold 100s of thousands of copies and had one bookcase completely filled with just a single book -- identical copies of the author's most famous work! -- but in over a dozen different languages... that was actually kind of cool. I would have thought this vain but the person was actually extremely modest and unassuming, as well as gracious, and it turned out to be a charming quirk. All depends on context!
Posted by delta35 on August 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM · Report this
32
Thank you , Ophian for the titles and Ms Cute for the author. 12 books? First couple have been ordered.
Did read Roths " Portnoys Complaint". Helped me understand my Jewish husband.
Tried " Bonfire of the..", think may have got to pg 50 or so.. ( sorry nocute, forget where to put the apostrophes, quick lesson if you got time; I took on board your explanation of using " but". I do remember, " one takes things off a xmas tree, and from a person". That " i comes before e except after c.." And " the acute little mouse runs down his grave",think that's right, from my few French lessons. Such a beautiful language. Of course one shouldn't start a sentence with " and", I ignore that rule).
Posted by LavaGirl on August 30, 2014 at 3:28 PM · Report this
Cynara 33
Why not just do LibraryThing.com?
Posted by Cynara on August 30, 2014 at 3:36 PM · Report this
nocutename 34
LavaGirl: Guess what? It's totally okay to start a sentence with "and." And with "but," "so," or "yet."
(Technically, its okay to start a sentence with "or," but that really makes no sense.)

Go for it!
Posted by nocutename on August 30, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 35
Screw all y'all who organize your books and/or music in any way whatsoever. Part of the fun of being a disorganized slob is going out in search of a particular author or artist, then stumbling upon someone/something else you've forgotten about and picking it up for a refreshing visit. Also, it's a real time saver!*

*assuming we're talking about time saved not organizing, and not the hours & hours regularly wasted digging through humungous piles of decades old National Geographics and/or empty CD cases looking for some random old collection that I'm not even 100% I didn't give away to someone years ago.
Posted by mikethehammer on August 30, 2014 at 4:54 PM · Report this
36
Did it already! When my girlfriend and I started dating, we were on OKC. I knew things were getting serious when she wanted my bookshelf shot. Oh, the hours I spent carefully choosing and arranging those books...
Posted by Anna the Hammah on August 30, 2014 at 6:30 PM · Report this
37
I am an outsider here (old married guy), but doesn't it make you look kind of insecure to show off the books you read? And that's just for the first five minutes, before everyone starts gaming the system -- either by reading books just to impress potential dates, or by taking pictures of book's they have not read.
Posted by yuiop on August 31, 2014 at 12:22 AM · Report this
38
That's cute, but I own seven Billy bookshelves. OK, only four of them are full of books, the other three are CDs and DVDs. But still. If they were even all lined up together, a photo of them would not let you make out any of the titles.
Posted by Auros on August 31, 2014 at 1:20 AM · Report this
39
That's a cute idea, but I own seven Billy bookshelves. (All with the height extension, so they're basically floor-to-ceiling.) OK, only four of them are full of books, the other three are other media (music, videos, games). But still, if they were all in the same room, lined up together, a photo of them would not let you make out many of the titles.

There's already a prompt on the profile to list favorites; how about just *writing* something in there, rather than forcing people to squint at the glare-obscured spines? The increased ability to use pictures instead of words on the internet seems to have caused some people to think that a picture is *always* the better way to convey information. It is not.
Posted by Auros on August 31, 2014 at 1:26 AM · Report this
40
(Is it just me, or is the comment system acting weird? I'd stray-clicked submit, but then it seemed like the comment hadn't posted at all, so I rewrote from scratch. Annoying that there are no edit/delete buttons.)
Posted by Auros on August 31, 2014 at 1:37 AM · Report this
41
and a great holiday weekend to you too, dan
Posted by delta35 on August 31, 2014 at 6:03 AM · Report this
42
[transcends categorization]

Just to make an on-topic contribution, I'll say the obvious, and recommend photographs of books from which one can quote lengthy or numerous passages with substantial accuracy.
Posted by vennominon on August 31, 2014 at 7:35 AM · Report this
43
@37 It's not "show off" books, it's "show" books. Can't, offhand, think of anything that gives more insight into who a person is than the books they like. And the books they think someone else would be impressed by is also pretty revealing, in a different way.
Posted by agony on August 31, 2014 at 5:04 PM · Report this
44
@35 you win the internet for this comment. Respect
Posted by chaya760 on September 1, 2014 at 6:03 AM · Report this
45
I once took a wonderful photo of the books my academic father had stacked on the counter next to the toilet. Today is the 12th anniversary of his death--a good day to be reminded of this.
Posted by David Holzman on September 1, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Fortunate 46
Im with @35. Organizing books? Why?

First unless you have a dedicated library it's not practical. Since I don't have room for all my books in one place if I organized as some would suggest I would have to put a lot of my favorite books in more inconvenient locations.

On top of that most of my book cases have varying sized shelves. Some books go on certain shelves simply because they are the only shelves they will fit on.

I have books in every room, but my only organizing is that my favorite books that I read regularly go where I can get to them easier, and the rest get evenly distributed. No matter what room you are in you will probably find something to read that interests you, which wouldn't happen if I had all books of a certain kind in one place. Your chances of stumbling on something that interests you would decline significantly.

When I visit someone's house the first thing I do if I can get away with it is snoop their books. I don't care what is in their bathroom cabinets or bedside drawers. I want to see what is on their bookshelves. Second by what is in their music collection (get harder to snoop now that people are more likely to download music and you would have to snoop their computer to find out), and last their movie collection.
Posted by Fortunate on September 2, 2014 at 8:12 AM · Report this

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