I love public libraries and as my series of posts The Library Stack shows, I am always browsing them and borrowing books when I can. A couple of years of ago I studied and embraced Minimalism trying to live a simpler lifestyle and letting go of things that I thought cluttered my life. I decided to stop buying books and just borrow them from the library.
Then in December 2018 my husband suddenly died and things shifted in my life on a large scale. And in early 2020 the pandemic hit and more shifting occurred to include examining how I could redefine a “simpler lifestyle” and have the physical things I enjoy in my life.
Our local libraries closed for what seemed like endless months during the early days of the pandemic and when they reopened it was only for curbside pickup. Currently they have fully reopened but have many strict protocols (beyond mandatory masks) and there are not that many patrons in the library anymore. It feels like something is lost from whole public library experience (and it is strange to see the librarians behind glass).
Pre-pandemic I was really in to audiobooks. Something shifted in me during the pandemic and I began to crave reading physical books rather than listening to them. I also remembered my secret dream of having an extensive home library like the ones I see in the home decorating books I borrow from the public library.
Like this one below:
With all the above things in the background of my mind, a couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to proceed with curating my own home library. Nothing as extensive as the image above but a nice collection with books that I’ve read and loved (and want to read again) and books I want to read (and might read again).
So how to do this and not “break the bank”? Well I used the following sources to find books for my home library:
- Thrift Stores
- Garage Sales
- Independent bookstores selling used books
I was able to buy books from 50 cents to $5.00 from these four sources. Most books I paid between $1.49 and $4.99.
In addition to amassing a collection of second hand books over the past couple of months, my partner John also added an additional bookcase to the front room beyond the two he already built for me.
So here is the current version of my home library which used to be the front room/sitting room in my house:
I had so much fun hunting for books at thrift shops (one local thrift shop has 1/2 priced Saturdays).
I’ve loved the books by the authors Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child and I’ve read at least 85% of their entire catalogue of books. So I put together a collection of their books of my very own (previously I had borrowed them from the library):
I do not have their latest books as those are not at thrift stores yet or reasonably priced on Thriftbooks.com but it was so fun finding each book one at a time while hunting at thrift shops.
At the beginning of my home library book curation process I thought about filling part of my home library with classic novels and books that might impress a book collector. But that thought lasted only a couple seconds. I have no need to impress anyone with my home library except myself. It is only filled with the kind of books I will read (and my partner too).
Like lots of Science Fiction and Fantasy (especially Young Adult Fantasy, I love it):
You might wonder what I did with my craft book collection. Well it is on the opposite wall organized by craft or topic (like art quilting):
All those books – got to have a cozy place to read, right? Here is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer sitting in my favorite reading spot:
And here is Mike and I snuggled cozy under a warm blanket on a cold Saturday reading (it was quite a delicious morning with my pot of tea next to me). I rediscovered the joy of reading a while, napping, waking up and reading some more!
Note these images were taken before my partner put up the third bookcase last week.
In case you are curious, I am still occasionally getting a “Library Stack” from my local public library, though not as big as the ones I was getting (the ridiculously large stacks like in the post The Library Stack Is Back!) when the library first reopened. Here is my current linrary stack:
Speaking of libraries, some of the second hand books I’ve purchased over the past several months are former library books! I’ve gotten pretty good at removing the library’s plastic dust cover with all their library specific stickers so the books sitting on my home library shelves does not look like I stole them from a library – ha!
As I mentioned earlier in this post I used to listen to a lot of audiobooks. Current I am only listening to podcasts now, taking a break from audiobooks. I am currently enjoying holding a book in my hand and reading it. Quite a different experience. I am taking a break from multitasking in life and just enjoying a solitary task of reading a book!
Over the past several months of going to thrift stores to find books for my home library, I’ve come across many curious items for sale at thrift shops.
Here are my top 5 favorite finds that gave me the chuckle (and I promise you I did not buy any of them):
Number 5: If you need a lamp and a place to store your leftover yarn, would this not be the perfect solution?
Yes it’s – YARN LAMP!
Number 4: Patriotic pants – they defy any further comment (but my apologies to you if you happen own these…)
Number 3: Donated photo frames with family photos still in them.
I could not believe how many donated photo frames I came across with family pictures still in them at various thrift stores, like the example below. Wouldn’t you perhaps remove your family photos before donating?!?!?
Number 2: An outfit for a very adventurous and crafty person.
Though it was on display way before Halloween, I think this was supposed to be a suggested Halloween outfit (hopefully as you would get a lot of stares should you select it for a cocktail party…)
And Number 1 is…
Something that you absolutely cannot imagine living without…
A cattle leg (yes real cattle leg) with hoof attached Barometer!
Yes, now you can remember the favorite steer you raised on your farm and know the current barometric pressure!
My regret is I did not buy it and put it away as the ultimate future “White Elephant” Christmas gift! (Could you imagine the look on someone’s face when they opened their gift!)