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How many books does it take?

Updated on January 7, 2015

The start of a library

I have no idea how many books I've got so far. But I'm positive I have a respectable number of "must-haves", essential titles you should read at least once in your life and keep them in your library — those books you can't just give away nor sell.

I also have some worthless stuff, some of which I would feel embarrassed even to give away. A number of books in my shelves simply got there, I don't know how, I don't know when — weird gifts from weird people, free stuff that just came packed with orders, things my mother just put in there because that's where all the books are... But because of that, I've already ran out of shelf space a few times.

Like every book lover, I constantly dream about a perfect room with stylish shelves and how beautiful they'll be after I put every title in its place (I sort my books by genre, author, and theme). And after my last hub, about organizing, I found myself a little obsessed with decoration for libraries. So, this is a kind of "part 2" of inspirational images for your office or private library.

[WARNING:] Strong images ahead. May not be suitable for the faint-hearted.

Bookshelf and home library porn

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Nigella's home library.
Nigella's home library.
Nigella's home library.

The most beautiful libraries in the world

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First steps to a personal library

I remember how I loved a series of Brazilian comic books called "Turma da Mônica" (something like "Monica's crew" in English) when I was a child and how I used to spend every penny I had on it! This was actually my first collection; besides the weekly numbers I had special editions, holiday editions... at an early age, my rack was already full of reading material. I still keep some of those comic books, the ones with my favourite stories. Later, as a teenager, I started buying books on the subjects I had an interest on... mostly, horror books like "Goosebumps" and "X-Files". Those are with my teenager cousin now.

The first "real literature" book I've bought for leisure reading — not aiming school work — was Bram Stoker's "Dracula" or Anne Rice's "Queen of the Damned". And the rest is history... well, histories...

Collecting books is a lifetime process and you'll always find yourself remembering some funny or interesting stories about how did you get this or that title. For example, my copy of Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" was on a bench in a street in Paris; I just passed by this bench with a pile of books on it and I decided to sit and check them. After reading Pope's book for awhile, I took it with me.

So, back to my first steps. After reading Anne Rice, I've became quite fond of vampires, so, I started looking for books about vampires, vampirism and novels with vampires as main characters. That is my first tip to start a good collection: find a subject in which you have a deeper interest and buy books about it.

When it comes to a teenager who enjoys vampires, well, Anne Rice is basically God. Therefore, my goal was to buy at least all the "Vampire Chronicles". And here is my second tip: if you fall in love for a specific title, look for other works by the same author. By this time, my English level was better and I also bought some copies of Rice's books in English. I used to find them in bargain stores, used-books shops, and to buy from friends who didn't want their copies anymore. So, the third tip is: look for good deals. Now, with internet, there are much more options available and you can find stuff for incredibly low prices!

Getting older did not dicrease my taste for horror; on the contrary, as I got into Literature and Languages college I discovered a great wide range of possibilities and went back to my first books, so I could reread them with a more mature perspective. I've acquired new titles and added a big number of text books, companions and academic magazines. I also could afford fancier editions and started to collect my beloved graphic novels, which are now a major part of my research.


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