Welcome to my Bookshelves, with Guest Poster Tracy Farr!
The first Bookshelf Tour for 2014 is exciting stuff, and I am proud to welcome Tracy Farr to the blog to show us her books. Tracy's debut novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt came out in 2013 and has since been a local hit (at least in MY bookshop!). You can read my review here.
Like most things in my life, my bookshelves are a mixture of compulsive order and flagrant disorder. We have dysfunctional shelves in the junk room upstairs, with too many books crammed and jammed in, double- and triple-shelved; it’s impossible to find any one book without unpacking almost all the others. Hopeless. But the wall of shelves in our living room is reasonably functional, and rather beautiful.
|Picture Credit: Liane McGee|
On these shelves there’s a rough divide into fiction and non-fiction, although they overlap and intermix. The non-fiction books are a mixed bag. There are plenty about science — Antarctica (my partner’s interest and career), seaweed (my interest — what used to be my career), oceans, maths and physics. Others are about music, film and theatre, writing, design. Some — like The Pursuit of Oblivion [http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/may/18/nicholaslezard] and Heritage of Pines [http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/2597193 ] — I’ve used as background reading or research or just inspiration for my writing.
On the fiction shelves, writers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada — the three countries I’ve lived in — predominate. There are runs of books by the same author — Peter Carey, Helen Garner, Fiona Kidman, Charlotte Grimshaw, Joan London, Damien Wilkins, Elizabeth Jolley, Tim Winton — but then a too-tall edition will break the run, end up on the tall shelf. Or I’ll just get lazy and file a book on the nearest shelf when I’m done with it.
There are some of my great-uncle Richard Beilby’s novels [http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/beilby-richard-courtney-dick-12191]. There are some titles by and about Katharine Prichard, searched out at second-hand bookstores during my residency in 2008 at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre [http://www.kspf.iinet.net.au].
There are gaps in the shelves in our house, from many many years when — particularly as a broke uni student — I bought very few books, and did all my reading from libraries. I’m still a great library user. Moving countries twice culled the books a little, too. There are the books that have been long lost, lent to friends — you must read this — but not returned. Sometimes you have to let books go.
Some books are inscribed. I was a gibbering slavering fan-girl when I faced Peter Carey over the signing table after a reading he did in Vancouver in October 1995. I don’t keep my inscribed books separately; they’re in amongst the others, little surprises when I open them.
There’s a shelf with literary mags, another of knitting, crochet, making and craft books; and there’s a shelf that holds copies of my printed works (vertically), next to some of my favourite books of poetry (horizontally, held down by Godzilla).
In our bedroom there’s a bookshelf that’s made from our old kitchen cupboards. It houses most of our crime and thriller novels, as well as just-read or to-be-shelved overflow. And by the bed are books still to be read, and — usually — the book I’m currently reading. That’s “book”, singular; I’m strictly a one-book-at-a-time plodder. I rarely don’t finish a book, once I’ve started it.
At the base of this pile is Kirsty Gunn’s The Big Music, which I read at a gallop in two days over Christmas 2013 — what a brilliant, rewarding, wonderful book.
Thanks Tracy! What a wonderful collection you have.
If you want to know more, Tracy will be a guest at the 2014 Perth Writers Festival!
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