Kevin Brown over at Diglotting posted on his new bookshelf and its slimmed down contents. Like Kevin I enjoy seeing what other people have on their shelves. At least in that respect, Kevin you’re not alone, and it’s not a boring life. In many ways I can sympathise (and empathise) with the tormenting feelings of what to do with one’s books, especially if that collection has more than ‘a few’ (which here means c. 1/32 of the collection). The shared struggle continues with the struggles of having to slim down.
Before my lovely wife and I moved from Cincinnati back to Atlanta before swimming the pond, I off-loaded roughly 150 books. That dropped my collection to just below 800. I think I cried that day. The second stage came when we moved from Atlanta to Cheltenham, a stage where tough decisions had to be made, simply because I could only (afford to) ship one box of books. I could only bring ‘a few.’ I have since made up for the loss, with the help of little used books shops in town, the goldmine of Hay-on-Wye, my University’s library sale and a close friend.
That aside, and getting to the meat of this post: I am responding to Kevin’s request. Below are pictures of my collection, although it’s the collection I had in Cincinnati and before trimming the 150 or so. (I readily admit that these pictures illustrate one of Kevin’s important concerns–i.e. too many books and shelves in a tight space can look a bit messy. That said, excuse the mess). Come Monday I will add two or three additional pictures to reveal my meagre collection here in Cheltenham. But until then, here we go (circling the room from left to right, all the way round):
Top shelves (spanning both): hermeneutics/exegesis, Bibles, Jewish texts, post-Apostolic texts
Second shelves: historic creeds, OT introductions, NT introductions, Jewish/OT theology
Third shelves: NT theology; special studies on the Gospels, Acts and Pauline literature
Fourth shelves: historical Jesus, Christology, James, Paul
Fifth shelves: more Paul, St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley
Top: rest of John Wesley, Spurgeon, D.L. Moody; early Christian theology, systematic theology
Second: more systematic theology, specific theological topics
Third: additional theological topics, general Christianity, journals
Fourth: more journals, Greek philosophy, slightly more modern philosophy
Fifth: more modern philosophy/critical theology, introductions to philosophy
Top shelves: more journals, logic, Christian apologetics
Seconds: more apologetics, ancient history, Israelite history, Greek history, Second-Temple Judaism
Thirds: Roman history, 19th century US church history, ancient literature, Shakespeare
Fourths: modern classic literature, modern novels/fiction
Fifths: Christian literature, notebooks for classes
Floor (left side): assortment of don’t-really-fit-in-with-established-categories
Top: OT commentaries, NT commentaries
Second & third: more NT commentaries
Fourth: remainder of NT commentaries; Greek language, grammar and syntax; German
Bottom: theological dictionaries and other reference types
Floor (next to desk): library books, so not mine–with the exception of the notebooks; those are.
That just about does it for my collection (then). If anyone would like to see a list of my collection, let me know and I’ll add it to this post. (I have a feeling that demand will not be very high, but it seemed polite to offer it).
UPDATE: here are the remaining pics of my shelves, this time involving the ones here in Cheltenham. I’ll start with the two at the house and then end with the one at the office. Some of my eagle-eyed readers will notice a few repetitions from the previous pictures.
Top: odd mix of Farrar’s Life of Jesus and Ludlum’s Bourne series.
Second: Doug Adams, Tolkien, and an assortment of classic Greek texts
Third: another odd mix of Sherlock Holmes, Hebrew, educational stuff, German, maps
Bottom: nothing important
Top: Stephen Fry, funny learning aids, maps
Second: Pauline studies, Jewish studies, ancient history/texts, philosophy and ethics
Third: nothing major, except my two favourite paintings
Bottom: our assortment of movies (and TV shows)
Top: reference books, and Lenski’s Power and Privilege (borrowed from my second supervisor)
Second: a slew of library books on various topics, (American) football, Hebrew and Greek bibles
Third: language aids, OT history and theology, hermeneutics, primitive Christianity, epistolary theory
Fourth: Christian history, Pauline materials, random few
Bottom: journal articles needing to be (re)read.