Full Shelves

I’m visiting a university today as part of the job process in finding an assistant professor position in an English department. I have some free time until my next appointment, and the department I’m visiting has kindly set me up in an office.

This office is full of books. It is distracting. I’m trying to focus on preparing for my research presentation later and revising an article manuscript, but instead I’m taking pictures and blogging about it.

Have you ever seen a full shelf of just Beowulf? Now you have.


What about Chaucer? And this picture didn’t even capture all of it!


And this section contains Ovid, Virgil, Homer, and Dante.


Books are beautiful.

42 thoughts on “Full Shelves

Add yours

  1. I admit that I have seen a shelf of Beowulf before, but I love these pictures. I have a reference section (aka a built-in china cabinet) where I keep these sorts of books (plus other traditional reference books).

  2. I think I might have an “intellectual fetish” for pictures of shelves full of books. My own are bursting with books, and looking at them I realized you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shleves (provided the books are “real”, meaning not those matching old-looking spines that make their bookcase look right for visitors). This is a subject worth exploring, like What Do Your Bookshelves Say About You

  3. I hope all goes well with the job search. Hmmm, yeah, I’ve seen shelves such as that. As a matter of fact, it was a friend of mine, and he was a Chaucer guy too. Hmmm, what’s with those Chaucer people anyway?

    The third shelf is definitely my favorite. She/he (?) has the Fagles’ translation of the Odyssey! Very good choice. hahaha. Interesting post.

  4. Emily,

    I laughed out loud at: “Have you ever seen a bookshelf full of just Beowulf? Now you have.” Thanks for the laugh. I love the pictures you shared. When I go over to someone’s house I will immediately gravitate over to their bookshelves. It never fails! I would get excited browsing through their entire collection of books. How can I not look at them? Then it would lead up to me sparking a thorough conversation about it, because not only are the sight of books pleasing, comforting and they make me happy, but so does talking about them. Ha. Also, when a friend happens to own a book that I own too, or loved, then I deem them extra cool in my book!

    With that said, I agree with the above comment that you can learn a lot about a person through the books they read. I love it.

    Good luck on the job hunt!

  5. Ha! I love this! I wish you luck on your presentation, but happy to see you are as easily distracted by books as I am.
    You know those little one-room school houses that are set up as museums that you can take your kids to to see how school used to be? I always spend my time looking at the old books locked up inside the windowed cabinets. They fascinate me. Always there is an old Anne of Green Gables.

    1. Me too! I love old books. I once saw a first edition copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn at a thrift store, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it.

  6. Hope your presentation and all that jazz went well, Emily. So you ran into a shelf full of chocolate—I mean books. Some addictions don’t need identifying particulars. Sounds like the lure and pull of the interior world held you under it’s allure. Caught up in the rapture, ye was.

  7. I can’t be certain, but the typography on the Dante suggests it’s Sinclair’s translation and I prefer Ciardi. The shelves of Beowulf and Chaucer just about make up for that, though.

  8. I love books too; I have a English Literature degree, didn’t do much with it but your post reminded me of my university days. I miss reading classic literature.

  9. Good luck on your job hunt! Maybe one day you’ll have an office to fill with smart books too to distract future guests. I love the shelf of Beowulf. That’s fantastic.

  10. Wow! Now that is an office! Lucky Emily. Not that I should be talking about distractions. I could be unpacking bags after returning from a conference instead of reading blogs. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Emily J. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: