Thursday, September 29, 2016

Virtual Bookshelf Tag

Consider yourself tagged.  I found this on Dreamland Book Blog quite awhile ago.   

This tag asks you to look through your bookshelf for different types of covers and books.  My at-home bookshelves are sparsely populated, so I decided to look at my online bookshelf--the "read" shelf on Goodreads.  

I tried to choose books that fit at least two of these categories
  •  a book I'd rated 4 or 5 stars 
  •  a book I did actually own at one time in my life
  •  a book that was maybe less well known than the most obvious answers.

Ready?  I think I managed to get all 4 or 5 star books, so get your TBR list out!

1. Find an author’s name or title with the letter Z in it.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I read late in high school. I thought I was supposed to read certain books, and this was one of them. It was a good book, and it was the perfect age to read it. I owned it for many years.

2. Find a classic

If you want to know all my favorite classics, go here. But one that I've always had on my bookshelf--and still own a physical copy of--is Tess of the Durbervilles. It is so frustrating to read how society's standards of female behavior destroy Tess's life, but that was kind of Hardy's point.  

3. Find a book with a key on it.
My answer is not very original, but it's a book I own in my classroom, and when I read this question, I could picture those golden keys in my mind. Bitterblue, the conclusion of Rae Carson's excellent Crown of Embers trilogy.  

4. Find something on your bookshelf that’s not a book
For this one, I actually went to my actual bookshelf, for obvious reasons. There are family photos on top of my bookshelf, as well as family photo albums (my mom's and my great-aunt's) on the bottom shelf.

5. Find the oldest book on your shelf 
Well, that depends on what you mean by "oldest." The Taming of the Shrew, published in 1593, is the oldest full book I've read, although we studied Beowulf, parts of The Canterbury Tales, and Greek myths in school. The most aged book I own is a family bible dating to the late 19th century.

6. Find a book with a girl on the cover
The Girl in Hyacinth Blue was very popular when it came out, but may not be on your radar. It tells the story of a (possibly) Vemeer painting, starting in the present day with a math teacher secretly owning it, then tracing its history backwards, owner by owner, through decades and wars, love and loss.  

7. Find a book with a boy on the cover

The Crossover is still popular in my classroom, and justifiedly so. A novel in verse, this coming of age story about twin ninth grade basketball stars and their family, is a great story well told.

8. Find a book that has an animal in it
I suspect that Born Free might outrage PETA, and possibly even my grown-up self, but I sure loved this story as a kid. Plus the histronic song in all its seventies glory.  

9. Find a book with a male protagonist

Um, okay. How about most books? But I'll go with Twisted, which has a great teenaged boy voice.

10. Find a book with only words on it

A cookbook might be cheating, but I do actually own this one. It was a wedding present nearly 15 years ago, and it taught me how to make risotto, and chocolate truffles, and how to cook chard. You might even say it can tell you How To Cook Everything.  

11. Find a book with illustrations in it
Ooh, this was another one where the right book popped into my head as soon as I saw the question. I bought Twenty and Ten on a Scholastic Book Order way back when, and its portrayal of French children (and nuns) standing up to the Nazis by hiding a group of Jewish refugees stays in my mind as much for the black and white illustrations as for the thrilling story.

12. Find a book with gold lettering
And another one that is both obvious and already popular. Still, I love Graceling a whole bunch, so I don't mind featuring it here.  

13. Find a diary (true or false)

Okay, so maybe I'm really not doing well on the whole less well known thing. The diarists that came to mind were Bridget Jones, Anne Frank, Greg "Wimpy Kid," and Junior. Oh, and the fake diary in Gone Girl. Anne is in a class of her own, and I have a soft spot for Bridget, but the book I recommend over and over is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.  

14. Find a book written by someone with a common name (like Smith)

I went with the example. Again, plenty to choose from, but I was blown away by Tom Robb Smith's Child 44.  

15. Find a book that has a close up of something on it

We're not talking microscopic close-up here, but usually a photo of a person includes more than shins and shoes. Tales of the Madman Underground is a great "Misfit Finds a Place" novel.

16. Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period
I like to read about people, not dinosaurs, so Clan of the Cave Bear is as far back as my preferred settings go.  

17. Find a hardcover book without a jacket

My actual, existing, physical copy of Heidi may or may not have ever had a jacket. The cover is highly decorated all the same. If my Roman numeral skills are adequate, it was published in 1959.  

18. Find a teal/turquoise colored bookThis one was hard to do without looking at real books. The cover of Click Here to Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade to has many colors, but the background is decidedly turquoise. Looking for a fun middle school story? Try this.


19. Find a book with stars on it
At first, I was all "pretty golden stars!" and then I was all, "Wait, real stars > fake stars!" Rocket Boys was made into a movie called October Sky. It's a fascinating memoir of Appalachan teens in the 1950s and how they got involved in the nascent space exploration program.

20. Find a non YA book
Okay, fine, I do read a lot of YA, but I've read a lot of not-YA too, from picture books to classics to smut. Yet another book I do still own is How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed, which has to be one of the best titles ever. It's a collection of essays by a Czech writer (born in then-Yugoslavia), and when I read it shortly after my first stint in Latvia in 1992-93, I found it illuminating. 

21. Find the longest book you own

Coming in at 1216 pages of tiny type, A Pattern Language is the longest book I own. I won't claim to have read every word, but I've certainly read most of it. One of the most interesting nonfiction works I know (which is why it's also the most expensive book I've ever bought; it was worth it to me to get my own copy!).

22. Find the shortest book you own
I hope this isn't cheating, since it's actually on my daughter's shelf, but it's the first book I bought and read to my kids when we adopted them. In 20 pages of simple rhymes, two children get ready for bed. Good Night, I Love You is one of the first English phrases they learned.

23. Find a book with multiple PoVs
I really love these, and spent some time pondering the strengths of various contenders. I'm going to have to go with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, in which the different viewpoints are so vital to the emotional impact of the story.

24. Find a shiny book
For some reason, this one absolutely slayed me. Again, it would probably be easier if I were looking at real books. Gold letters are shiny, but often are placed on dark backgrounds. Newbery and Printz awards certainly add a certain shine, but those weren't how the covers were designed. I finally decided to use this excuse to sneak in another favorite, The Thief. Shiny silver award sticker, shiny gem in the picture, shiny gold curlicues around the title.

25. Find a book with flowers on it
Of Love and Shadows is, I believe, Isabel Allende's most accessible novel. Straightforward, short, romantic and tragic.  

This was a lot of fun, and I hope you give it a try also!


  1. Oh this is such a fun tag! I LOVE IT. And also yayy for 20 and 10! I like never ever see that book mentioned but it made such an impact on me growing up. I'll never forget how that teeny tiny piece of chocolate was like gold to those kids and they cried over getting to eat oranges. omg. It's stuck with me forever! XD
    And I just recently read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. SO VERY GOOD, I AGREE. (Except for the fact it was libraried and someone had mangled the cover so badly it barely looked like a book anymore...oh dear. Eeek.)
    I loved this (virtual) tour, Wendy! :D

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. YES, that chocolate scene made a huge impression on me too! Part-Time Indian has made the most-challenged list in US schools every year since it came out, so I feel delightfully subversive having it in my classroom.

  2. I’ve never seen this tag before. It sure has a lot of questions. I’m going to look up The Clan of the Cave Bear. That sounds like something I need to read.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. It's a weighty series, and when I read it in middle school, let's just say I learned more about sexuality than I did in health class. As I recall, the first two books were the best. After that is was "Odd numbered chapters, Ayla invents something (braiding hair, cooking meat, ballet, whatever); even numbered chapters Ayla has great sex."

    2. LOL, this morning I found a cheap used copy of The Clan of the Cave Bear. I’m totally blaming you for making my TBR mountain grow.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!


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