Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hide Your Books, I'm Coming After You Next

Some guests look through their host's drawers. Some guests nose around in the frig. Me? I snoop around other people's bookshelves.
It's a bit of a compulsion with me. I'll be sitting in my hostess' living room, nodding and smiling as she chats with me, all the while stealing quick glances over her shoulder at the imposing wooden bookcase just beyond. It's crammed with books- some are even hardcover! My mind races, and I'm just dying to know which books she's got there. Maybe an old favorite of mine? Maybe a newly released bestseller that's not yet available in the library? Or- dare I even think it? Maybe, just maybe, a great biography or a coffee table book about archaeology complete with some kick-ass pictures of ancient ruins?
And I'm just dying to get rid of my hostess for a few minutes so I can run over and paw my way through her books.
The best scenario, of course, is staying overnight in a house that has great books. Instead of sleeping, you can stay up all night reading. (And in the morning, when you look awful, your hostess will assume that you didn't sleep well because the bed was uncomfortable, and she will feel bad and make you a great breakfast. It's an added bonus.)
Needless to say, the ultimate goal is to select two or three books from among the treasures, gaze at them rapturously, and act surprised and delighted when your hostess offers to let you borrow them.
Just don't forget to return them within a week or two or next time she won't let you anywhere near her bookcase, and that would be a real shame.

Recommended recent reads:
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
Rashi's Daughters, Book 1: Joheved by Maggie Anton
Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine


rickismom said...

written like a fellow "reading addict".....

Rafi G said...

I also go for the bookshelves

Garnel Ironheart said...

I don't mind the people who persuse my bookshelves. I find it quite flattering, actually. It's the people who do it with the cholent and challah crumbs dripping from their mouths as they push their faces into the text that bug me!

ProfK said...

You mean that people notice other things besides books when they are in someone's home? Isn't that the purpose of walls? To provide space for book shelves?

Garnel Ironheart said...

Hey hang on! I checked that list of yours! You need to read the ones I appear in as a character!

Lady-Light said...

I, too, gravitate towards the bookcase. I always want to see specifically, what sefarim they have. English books come next.
Do guests look in the fridge? I can't believe that (no interest in that whatsoever)!
I used to keep a list of books that I had read over several years, but I haven't done that in a long while.
Might try reading some of yours...

SuperRaizy said...

I see that my obsession puts me in good company!

sheldan said...


Thanks for this column! I am also a bookshelf browser when I am at other people's homes. And I invite anyone to browse my bookshelf when they are in my home.

Recently found your blog...I will check it out often.

Sheldon Dan
Memphis, TN

Lion of Zion said...

i don't mind people looking at my shelves, as long as they keep their hands off.

i once posted a picture
that happened to have some of my shelves in the background.

someone enlarged the picture to see what i had and then commented on one of the books.

i thought about starting a meme where bloggers would post a picture of a bookcase. but i hate memes so i never did it.

Phyllis Sommer said...

i am lol because i do just the same thing. i think it was anna quindlen who said something like, "my idea of decorating is putting up lots of bookshelves..." that's a good list of books. i'll have to check out the dna one, i haven't read that yet. i'm reading the yiddish policemen's union - not bad!

SuperRaizy said...

Thanks for visiting!
Well, if you don't let me touch your books, then I'm not coming to your house!
( :
The DNA one is really fascinating and easy to read. I'm not sure that all the conclusions that the author draws are completely accurate, though.
Goodnight Nobody is a very funny "chick lit" book. I enjoyed it a lot.

Jack said...

I wonder about people who don't have bookshelves. Every now and then I visit a home and can't find nary a book.

Baila said...

Me too, me too!!!

I am a big book "borrower"--always making sure to return, and return quickly so I can borrow again.

Read The Book Thief! (if you haven't already).

Mrs. S. said...

One of the best parts about our recent home renovations is that B"H we now have room for all of our books. Before, they were all jumbled up together in messy piles, and we had no idea which books we had. But now that we took the time to organize them, the entire family is having a great time rereading our "new" books.

Gmar chatimah tovah to you and yours.

Frayda said...

I love Jennifer Weiner books!