Bookshelves. How one organizes and relates to the books that live in them is an evolving process. Books move.

The books I am currently reading and the stack of books that are on my to be considered next live on top of my bedside bookshelf.  After reading a book, it lingers. We had a relationship. It takes a while to let it go too far away. When I’m ready, the book will migrate to a more permanent home.

Moving to another shelf is not a simple task. Perhaps that is why I avoid it.

It may cause the moving of other books.  A memoir put amongst novels;  a book of essays muddled up with poetry; the short story collection placed with essays; the book that needs to be placed in the to be considered next shelf; books that have done their job taking up valuable bookshelf property.

Moving a book off of my bedside table is no simple matter.

My book bag is another story.

Below is one gorgeous poem. It lives among others in the book Many-Storied House. If you don’t own it, get a copy to live on your shelves.

On Those Shelves

by George Ella Lyon

From the landing you step
down into a room
out over the garage:
This is the room that made us who we were:
book lovers, scholars, people of the word,
who found a safe place between hard covers.
Deckle- or gilt-edged, the wide world opened:
story, knowledge, emotion we’d been taught
to hold in.

                  On those shelves Papaw built
into the wall below the windows
stood the many mansions of our house.



5 thoughts on “Bookshelves

  1. Living in a house with another reader means that nearly every wall of every room has at least one bookcase. Along with the bookcases are the book stacks. I feel you — the moving of books is no small matter! George Ella’s poem got me thinking about the bookshelves of my childhood, and the love of learning and reading that my parents passed on to us. Thank you for this post. It made my heart happy.

  2. “We had a relationship. It takes a while to let it go too far away.” Love this as it captures exactly how I feel after reading a good book, almost disloyal if my eyes stray to the next adventure between “hard covers.” Thanks, too, for Lyon’s poem. Too quick I am to forget that she wrote more than “Where I’m From.”

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