Bookshelf Meme

Avisannschild at She Reads and Reads blog tagged me for this meme. This took me back to my bookshelves looking at the books I’ve owned for years. It’s inevitably made  me want to read these books again and others too that I haven’t mentioned.

The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:


My parents gave me Bible Stories for Children: a First Book by Muriel J Chalmers for my sixth birthday (aeons ago). They bought me the Second and Third books for my seventh and eighth birthdays.

A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):

tuscan-sunUnder the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes because it reminds me of holidays in Tuscany. In this book she describes how she bought and renovated an abandoned villa. It’s full of the pleasures of living in Tuscany – the sun, the food, the wine and the local people. It makes me want to do the same! Bella Tuscany is the follow up book with more details about the restoration of the villa and its garden, plus recipes. Two of my favourite books.

A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):

of-chameleonsOf Chameleons and Gods by Jack Mapanje, a book of poems. Mapanje was born in Kadango Village, in southern Malawi. He became the Head of English at the University of Malawi and worked as a research student in linguistics at University College London. This book was published in 1981 and on its second reprint it was banned in Malawi and he was arrested without trial and imprisoned for four years. He was released in 1991 following intense pressure from fellow writers and activists. I heard him speak whilst I was at an Open University Summer School at York University in 1993. Our tutor invited him to speak to the group I was in at a seminar the next day and we were all bowled over by his experiences. He signed my copy for me.

A book that’s been with you to the most places:

When I go abroad on holiday I take books that I haven’t read before and sometimes leave them for others to read and lighten my luggage coming back. So I never take a book to different holiday destinations. We moved to this house 15 years ago so all the books I had before then have been with me everywhere I lived. My husband says that’s far too many books and if/when we move again we’ll need a separate van just for the books. He’s exaggerating! .

The most recent addition to your shelves:tangled

Two books arrived together in the post this week – The Madonna of the Almonds by Marina Fiorato and Tangled Roots by Sue Guiney, both review copies, which I’m looking forward to reading. Tangled Roots should have come from LibraryThing as part of the Early Reviewers Programme, but it didn’t arrive, so Sue kindly had a copy sent to me. I’ve looked at it briefly – it’s about a scientist John and his mother Grace. Their two stories intertwine involving various emotional issues between them.

madonnaThe Madonna of the Almonds is from the publisher, Beautiful Books. This is to be published in May. It’s the fictionalised story of the artist Bernadino Luini, who was a protégé of Leonardo da Vinci. A young widow, Simonetta meets him and becomes his muse. She is trying to save her home in Lombardy and stumbles upon a new drink made by infusing almonds into alcohol – the origins of Amaretto. How did the publishers know I love Amaretto and Amoretti biscuits as well as Italy?

A bonus book that you want to talk about that doesn’t fit into the other questions:

map-bookI love maps. The Map Book by Peter Barber is the book for map lovers. From the introduction;

This book is a celebration of the map in its myriad forms over time. It attempts to penetrate beneath th esometimes glossy, sometimes plain surface to look at why they came into being, who their creators were, what purposes they were intended to serve and what their relationship was to the society in which they were created and whose values they inevitably represented.

It is just wonderful.  It includes maps from all over the world, arranged in date order – maps of oceans and continents, countries, towns and countryside from 1500 BC fossilized prayers to the image derived from satellite data of Mount St Helena just after the volcanic activity of March 2005.  Here are some images:


 This woven tapestry map  is based on Christopher Saxton’s county map and was one of four comissioned by Ralph Sheldon showing the land he owned. It measures approximately 4 metres high and 6 metres wide.

Ogilby’s English Road Map 1675

 A Road Map from John Ogilby’s atlas Britannia 1675 shows roads in strip form on a scale of 1 inch to a mile. This section is the road from London to Bristol.

Plan of London Houses 1748

 A detailed map published within weeks of the great fire in London of 1748 showing the houses that were destroyed. the purpose of the plan was to launch an appeal for the survivors. Individual occupants and occupations are identified and places such as coffee houses, insurance offices and booksellers.


Interstate Route Map 1941

This map was published for the Standard Oil Company of California. It doesn’t show physical features, the roads appear to cross flat and featureless plains, but there are views of major natural features and monuments numbered and linked to the map for tourists to find routes to places of interest.

The Rules – see below are to tag other people, but I always find this impossible and anyway I know some people have already done this meme. So if you haven’t and would like to do it please consider yourself tagged.

1. Tag 3-5 people, so the fun keeps going!
2. Leave a comment at the original post at A Striped Armchair, so that Eva can collect everyone’s answers.
3. If you leave a comment and link back to Eva as the meme’s creator, she will enter you in a book giveaway contest! She has a whole shelf devoted to giveaway books that you’ll be able to choose from, or a bookmooch point if you prefer.
4. Remember that this is all about enjoying books as physical objects, so feel free to describe the exact book you’re talking about, down to that warping from being dropped in the bath water…
5. Make the meme more fun with visuals! Covers of the specific edition you’re talking about, photos of your bookshelves, etc.

4 thoughts on “Bookshelf Meme

  1. The Map Book looks wonderful, like you I love maps, can pour over them for hours quite happily.
    I’m interested in the poetry book. One of my sons is currently working in Malawi, I must look it up.


  2. I’m another map lover and could surely spend many happy hours with The Map Book! Under the Tuscan Sun was a favorite several years ago…must read the follow-up one of these days.


  3. I’m trying not to buy too many books this year but oh, your map book looks lovely. Yes, another map fan here. Surprising how many of us there are and how many are women. Gives a lie the myth that women can’t navigate! Interesting answers.


  4. I’m glad you were into doing this meme, Margaret! That map book looks fascinating! I’m also interested in Tangled Roots. I can’t exactly tell what’s on the cover, but it looks intriguing.


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