Revealing Almost All

I spent my early years in what my therapist would later refer to as a war zone. My armor, my exoskeleton, and my daily protection, was found inside the pages of books, some of which sit on the shelves you see. As a child I disappeared almost completely into the stories and lives of characters who for better or worse, lived a life I wished to be a part of as they seemed more desirable than the one I struggled through. Although my life changed for the better in every way not long after my fourteenth birthday, books have remained constant companions and books in abundance require bookshelves of some sort.

John has created a marvelous space for me and built bookshelves exactly as I wished them to look. Having had built-in bookshelves that were filled to overflowing in four rooms of my Atlanta home, I had to do a big sort through as I could bring only those that mattered most to me when I moved to Cornwall. I gave away piles of books, offering them to friends after boxing up more for my book-loving daughter than she will probably want in the future. The rest I sold or donated before shipping what you see here.

(A view from my desk)

Nothing is placed without thought on my shelves and I wanted to share a closer look in the direction of a few special areas. I am always curious when seeing a friends bookshelves for the first time. Feel free to look around mine if you wish and thanks to all who have shared my enthusiasm and excitement as this space has grown from a garden space in the backyard, to a warm and welcoming work space.

20 thoughts on “Revealing Almost All

  1. I heart shelves indeed, and bookshelves above all. It is all amazing….you both have been busy bees! The room looks incredible and thank you for the nosey tour of your books. I share some literary interests with you too. Enjoy!

  2. Those shelves look so great. I love the way you have arranged everything. The room looks just perfect, and like it’s been there forever.

    I just gave my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird to my daughter to read, and she loved it. We had a great chat about why it was a sin to kill a mockingbird, who were Harper Lee’s mockingbirds in the story and I told her that Harper Lee based Dill on Truman Capote, her childhood friend. She wasn’t as impressed as I was to learn that…

    I completely echo your thoughts on books, I have some of my early books that I could no sooner part with, than I could part with my best friend.

  3. Great little room with so many special touches! Thanks for the tour!
    One more thing to be jealous of. No wait, I mean one more thing to be INSPIRED by!! πŸ™‚

  4. What can I say? It is a beautiful space. Very very lucky! πŸ™‚

    No chance of that happening here, not unless I put my husband in the garage, and I get a room back.. he pinched it the minute we moved in, now I want him out, so that we can strip it bare and decorate.. i cannot describe it, YUCK. Messy. Cluttered, ..

  5. It looks like a lovely space for you to feel safe. I believe that a persons bookshelf gives an insight into them. From the books on it to the nic nacs that nestle inbetween. I love looking at photos too. I feel nosy if I go to someones home for the first time and I am drawn to take in all the details of their “stuff” but I usualy find that if I show interest and ask about a particular item the owner is usually delighted to tell the stories of them.

  6. E, What a beautiful room! It is a wonderful space. The orange curtains are my favorite. Before you left, some of the books that could not fit in your conestoga shipping crate were thoughtfully placed in good homes. As a grateful recipient of some of those books, I have had the pleasure of reading books I would not have bought for myself. Since I am a “non-reader”, I got the picture books! Through your books, I have a better understanding of decorating for small spaces, how to de-clutter, 301 storage options, a how best to use color. I have an enriched appreciation of art and movies. And although I hate to admit it, I have identified with and learned quite a lot from some of the self-help books. I am thankful for your generosity. Through gifts of your books you left reminders of yourself and our shared interests. Now, as I look over my own bookshelf, in my own study,(which has more do-dads than books) I ponder which book I should pass on to someone, to connect and enrich, just as you have with me.

  7. Oh, I LOVE those built-in book shelves!! I was already in love with them from the previous post and couldn’t wait for you to show more. And the completed project even exceeded my anticipation. There is just something about bookcases, isn’t there? This room is so wonderfully cozy and absolutely charming. What a wonderful inspiration, only surpassed by your amazing husband who did all this for you! πŸ™‚

  8. So interesting to see the results opf your mega cull and where iyt might overlap with mine. I see many familiar “faces”. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who has been most helpful tpo me during the last year. Books in French, although most of mine, acquired during my University days, I gave away to an ex-boyfriend from that time who had a midlife turn of career and went into teaching languages. Books about writing, although you have more than me, mine are more newly about script writing and so on. And oh my, there is a pot in my loved Orange Tree design which several years ago, having discovered Ebay, I bought several pieces to go with the one solitary bashed up saucer I sequestered from the digs I was living in many years ago before moving to Hampshire. You don’t happen to collect Winton rose bud design in green as well, do you?!?!

    My books are something of a comfort blanket for me also and I am embarrassed to admit how many I have. A friend called it “probably the most expensive wall paper, inch per inch,” he’d ever come across, and a part of me is looking forward to having less of them. I admire you for your thorough sorting! Thank you for letting us be “nosey” to see what you have felt you really wanted to keep.

    I think the mirrored wall is also inspired. giving your room a more airy feel that the books alone might not have let happen as well as teh current configuration does. A very nice and welcoming place.

  9. One of your most intimate posts, yet — I feel sort of voyeuristic yet also compelled to look at your bookshelves (I guess we all have this inclination!) — thank you for sharing this look into your most private, exquisite space.

    It’s TOTALLY BRILLIANT!!! I am insanely jealous, and wish you great, great happiness as you spend precious time there.

  10. I love the way the couch turned out, and the bookshelves make the entire room seem so cozy. And my favorite thing about bookshelves is the way they reveal so much about us, and become larger than life keepsake boxes to hold treasures that have special meaning to us.

  11. So much to identify with and comment on here, but I will limit myself to expressing my delight at seeing Uta Hagen’s book along with Stanislavsy’s on your shelves. I think “Respect for Acting” is one of the best books on the subject I have ever read — I’m an alum of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC and am familiar with practically everything ever written on acting.

    I have always wanted to visit Cornwall, probably since reading Wuthering Heights as a child. There is no other place that strikes me as quite so romantic.

  12. i am in complete awe of this space. so much thought put into every little detail – seems to be a story of your life. i also must say i am totally envious of your space – so many wonderful creative touches. enjoy!! i know you will.

  13. Lovely shelves and books. I chuckled at the “heelan Coo” lurking there. πŸ™‚

    I let go of three boxes of books when I moved countries. I have most of mine packed still. The first three houses we rented I unpacked everything, but this last move I’d just been diagnosed with the fibro so I only unpacked basics and “can’t live withouts”… which was mostly my cook books. LOL

    I must take some photos of the book case in our bedroom. It’s the seriously pared down “me” selection, but that might make it all the more interesting.

  14. I’ve been away just a couple of days, but have missed so much!! I loved “meandering” through your bookshelves with the close-ups. . . . and I love the art pieces and photos of Miranda mixed in. You must feel REALLY so at home now. I miss my bookshelves sooooo much, it gives me so much comfort to see my books, which reflect my lifelong interests, together. Thank you for the privilege of seeing yours! (even though I know these represent a small sample. I love how your poster above gave your books a second life!)

    Well, well done to you and John!! Congratulations.

  15. Hi Elizabeth,

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago. I spent at least 4 hrs.
    catching up on your most exciting and blessed life. I don’t get on the web for fun things but a few times a week. One of my hobbies is to research any thing I can find out about my grandmother. One could think I would know all about her writings, but like most teenagers, I didn’t always pay attention. I have found her work, as well as, my grandfather’s, Sarge on the web. I’m afraid the written word on paper will vanish one day leaving us without a book to hold in our hands and the scent of a library.

    Thank you for your kind words . I love to hear the stories and memories from others as they knew Wylly Folk St. John. Please write more. Also, thanks for the courage to finally write you.

    Jenny (cousin, as you know)

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