33 Books I Would Take With Me to the Grave… A Really Specific Bookshelf Tour Because Everyone Loves Book Porn!

 

orangutan with stack of books

So I got this idea from a cool video by Leena Norms, who in turn came up with this because of Marie Kondo, who I heard about from my sister. Basically, the concept is you get rid of things that don’t bring you joy… which seems ridiculous when you’re talking books cos, hello, books are the ULTIMATE JOY in this world. Anyway, I won’t say I was “inspired” to do this, because frankly the thought of trimming down a well-loved book collection fills me with *horror*- instead I’ll say I thought this might be an interesting challenge to take up. It got me thinking about my own books and which ones I could never bear to part with (in the case of the zombie apocalypse, obviously). These will be a mix of pretty/not-so-pretty/sentimental/beloved books (which I think might differ from the video). Technically, this is supposed to be 30 books… but I couldn’t trim it down well enough and 33 has a better ring to it anyway 😉

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Complete Works of William Shakespeare– going along my bookshelves, this is one of the most obvious books to keep. I got it for a birthday present from my mum, so it has sentimental value as well. It doesn’t hurt that I feel like I’m getting round the issue of reducing the number of books by including ones that are technically collections- speaking of which…

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Seven Novels of Jane Austen– this was another birthday present (actually most of these are- my family are awesome 😊 ) and of course it’s also one of my favourite authors! Plus, LOOK HOW PRETTY!!

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Songs of Innocence and of Experience– this was an 18th birthday present from my family and it’s the pocket size so I take this whenever I go on a trip, like a lucky charm (you know, just in case I get a hankering for romantic poetry and don’t have access… as you do 😉 )

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Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales– I’m lucky enough to have a rather large collection of fairy tale books, but I have to say Arthur Rackham’s art makes this my favourite version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Also, you guessed it, this was a gift.

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Aesop’s Fables– another beautiful edition- my sister got this for me and I love it!

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Hans Christian Anderson– the reason I have this (and a lot of my other fairy tale books) is that I did a course in uni and I just love this copy of Hans Christian Anderson.  

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Riverside Chaucer– on the topic of uni, Canterbury Tales was my favourite course by far, because I had the best professor for it. It may not be the prettiest version, but I couldn’t bear to let this go.

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The Iliad– moving into the rest of my uni/school books, this is me being straight-up sentimental, cos I could probably get a replacement pretty easily for this. But I think it’s not only a great translations, but holds some of my (not entirely useful) notes.

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To Kill a Mockingbird– this is one of first books I ever fully annotated annnnd it’s admittedly not in the best condition because of that (also I’ve reread it a lot). Still, I’m ridiculously attached to it because of those notes.

Great Gatsby and Picture of Dorian Gray– I’m just putting these two together because, let’s face it, neither of them are good-looking copies. That said, I’ll probably love them more than any swanky new versions I could pick up, because I covered them with my thoughts. Personally, I think I made  these cheap versions far prettier by all the highlighting (in my opinion of course 😉). I will have to admit with this one, the notes were supposed to be colour-coded, but that system kind of fell apart over the years. And yes, this part of the post is just proving my point that sometimes annotating books is a good thing (I know controversial opinion… most places anyway).

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1984– I didn’t do this one for school or uni, but I did I painstakingly annotate this when I read it a few years back.

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The Hobbit– this is quite a tatty version, but again I’m more attached to this for sentimental reasons. I’ve mentioned this story on the blog before, but when I was reading the Hobbit for the first time, an absolute tragedy struck when I got to the end… the last page was missing! So my mum kindly took me to the book shop and this is the version we bought. I used to reread this every year in spring and though there are far prettier versions out there, this will always be my favourite.

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Lord of the Rings– I subsequently got a boxset in the same style for a birthday (they’re in storage so I can’t show my actual copies), after reading the Hobbit. Annnnd I was so so sorely tempted to cheat at this part in this challenge, (cos technically they were written as one book!) but since I’d already gone up to 33 I thought that might be cheeky even for a monkey 😉

 

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Harry Potter– I was soooo tempted to count this as one as well (this is why this challenge seems so unfair- imagine separating these book babies from each other- it’d be like splitting up twins at birth!). I actually borrowed the first 4 books from my brother (a real challenge when it came to Goblet of Fire, cos I had to wait for my other siblings to finish before I could get to it after it was released!) and then got the boxset for my birthday. The rest came in drifts and drabs as they came out. Anyway, I have to keep these because of what they meant to me as a kid (and still mean to me today)

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His Dark Materials– this is the second series I’m mentioning which is in storage… so you’ll have to take my word for it that I own this boxset. And there are so many versions that I struggled to find pics, so I’ve only got the covers to show you. I got this for a present after I read the first one (and fell head over heels for it of course!) annnd all this talk of it makes me want to dig them out and reread them again!!

Circe– woohoo we’re moving into signed territory now!! I thought Madeline Miller was so lovely when I met her and am super grateful to own this copy. Also, the cover and the story inside are both gorgeous!

Holy Sister–  it’s no secret that I love both this writer and this series. But this book means a lot to me in particular, because I received it from the author SIGNED- and I can’t help but freak out over it a little bit (okay A LOT).

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Winternight Trilogy– not only is this one of my absolute favourite new series, but look how STUNNING these covers are!! Of course I had to get them when they came out cos I needed to know how the story ends… but also because I needed these editions in my collection!

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Strange the Dreamer– let’s be real, Laini Taylor is one of my all-time favourite authors. She’s the kind of writer I give 5/5 bananas to every. single. time. And for good reason! Her prose is perfection, her stories are exquisite and her worlds are heavenly- thankfully these covers are worthy of such beauty! The only reason all her books aren’t on here is cos I only have kindle versions- I’ll have to rectify that one day! (Yeahhh you thought this post was about getting rid of books… it’s secretly a shopping list 😉)

PHEW- that was TOUGH!! I can’t imagine ever having to do this for real cos there were a bunch of books I felt like I was neglecting… perhaps I will have to go around later and reassure them that I will NEVER LET THEM GO! Do you have any books you wouldn’t part with on pain of death? Let me know in the comments!

75 thoughts on “33 Books I Would Take With Me to the Grave… A Really Specific Bookshelf Tour Because Everyone Loves Book Porn!

  1. It’s funny how different our lists are! While there are maybe one or two “pretty” books that I would keep, most of the ones I would take with me aren’t collections but suuuuper beat up copies. Exceptions: my international Harry Potter books.

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    1. hehe well a fair number of these (especially from Chaucer to the Hobbit) are in pretty bad shape 😉 (also, the Harry Potters look like they’re in better shape than they are 😉 ) but you’re right, a lot of these are very pretty!

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  2. I’m surprised considering the amount of books that you have read, that you managed to get this down to 33 books 😅😅 Lol! Great list though. For me I would definitely add the Dragonlance Chronicles 1-3 and Dragonlance the twins trilogy. I just couldn’t live without those 😂😂

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  3. Goodness, you are a totally visual person. Though I get falling in love with a gorgeously illustrated version of a beloved book. And I think it’s pretty funny that you can’t count for beans. Your 33 is probably closer to 133 once you separate the collections into their individual parts. I can’t even do this challenge because the list of books I can’t live without is close to 500, and that’s pretty much just fiction. I’d be bleeding out on rack if I had to remove this book to keep that one – noooooo – you can’t take away either of them!

    I attended our book review annual meeting a few days ago, the one where we potluck ourselves into a dither while selecting the books we plan to read over the next year. I’d brought about 6 – 7 books, just so other members could glance through and get a sense of what I felt was worthy of reading. But I made clear, they were not for taking nor for borrowing. Cuz, every time I’ve ever loaned a beloved book, it’s never, and I mean never, been returned. I won’t say they’ve been stolen, but certainly left behind in someone else’s library, never to find their way home to mine.

    So imagine when a particular member requested about 4 times to borrow some of the books I’d made clear were off limits. I ended up getting angry – and now I feel kinda bad but I’m not backing down. No, you can’t borrow them because the ones I’m taking to the grave are exactly that. Non-negotiably all mine.

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    1. Ha ha ha I make sure to purchase a “lending copy” of my to-the-grave books … the hardcover pristine versions stay with me. The worn-out softcovers are for friends and the cottage and stuffing into my carry-on luggage.

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    2. Hehe I guess I am. hahaha I was actually hoping someone would pick up on that 😉 I was definitely drawn to more collections for that reason 😉 I completely understand that! It was a real struggle and I don’t have that many books (the only way I could do it was because I knew it wasn’t for real 😉 ) hahahaha!
      Oh yeah I completely understand that- I’ve had too many bad experiences lending books to do that again. I’ve had books ruined or never returned or both. It’s very depressing.
      I completely understand that- I know people who’ve borrowed books from me in the past who are affronted when I refuse to lend them anymore. I don’t even feel (that) bad about it these days. haha!

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  4. Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said “book porn.” I love the way you posed the books and the props you put with them … especially the props for The Iliad. So appropriate.

    I knew there was no way I’d have read all of the books on your list of 33+, but was relieved to discover there is a lot of overlap. I also like that you have a balance of old & new books.

    I’ve had to break up my personal library several times due to international moves and it’s always painful. Some that would go on my “must keep” list would include the complete works of C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, and Tony Hillerman … there, that’s only 7, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe no I wasn’t kidding 😉 Thank you!
      I’m glad there was overlap as well 😀 And thanks! I was happy it turned out that way as well.
      Oh I can understand and relate. Oh great picks! I really love Lewis and Christie is great as well 😀 haha yes for sure.

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  5. There are SOOOOO many gorgeous books here! I love the Jane Austen cover!

    Choosing what to save will be very difficult. I suspect I won’t know till the flames are at my door (and even then I’ll probably be trying to save almost all my books)

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  6. I’ve followed Komdo’s advice about how to fold clothes and it works. But no way will I ever follow her advice about books. So a casket wouldn’t be big enough to take all the books with me I’d want to keep. I’d need a whole mausoleum to myself.

    I love the sentimental reasons you included some of those collections.

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  7. I love how you included some omnibuses and anthologies in this challenge. I love them as a way to hold onto a bunch of books at once (though they’re not always ideal for reading because of the weight). His Dark Materials Trilogy is also one of my keepers. Another favorite of mine are the Realm of the Elderlings books, though I don’t know if I could keep all of them and also include other books on my list. Maybe just the ones that feature Fitz and the Fool!

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  8. This was a FAB collection, and I love that so many of my favs are on your list too!! Tolkien’s works, Grimm’s Fairytales, and Queen Jane Austen are up there for me too. I have a similar, pretty, hardcover collection of four of Jane’s books, and it’s one of the ones that I wouldn’t ever be able to part with either 🙂

    twinklexthoughts.blogspot.com

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  9. OMG like so many… my signed Stiefvater books (4), signed Kristoff books (15?!), my beautiful Goldsboro editions (there’s only 1 that’s not a double up Kristoff), my original HPs (7), my first ed hardcover of The Shepherd’s Crown, signed The Hating Game, Stiletto ARC (huh, which actually takes me to 30). Everything else is either replaceable or I’d be sad, but not devastated.

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      1. I got the signed Stiefvaters through Fountain Bookstore in Virginia. They ship worldwide and Maggie drew a horsehead in my copy of The Scorpio Races (it’s like she knew it was my fave book ever). I have a lot of signed Kristoff’s because I lived in Melbourne until June this year! 🥰

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  10. Amazed by your collection. Work by Shakespear and Harry Potter [all series] are my personal favs. If it would be me then i would have surely added the work by JOHN GREEN AND NICHOLAS SPARK. A good book indeed makes you feel like heaven.

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  11. It’s definitively a very eclectic list and yes, the idea has also crossed my mind to turn my graveside into some pharaoh style tomb. Just to realize that I would rather bequeath my collection of books to some poor sod who loves books but doesn’t have the money to buy them. If I would have to take everything I love into my grave, my wife would be number one, and I rather don’t. On the countryside in India they still fight with this custom of widows being forced to climb in their husbands funereal pyre.

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  12. My copy of The Hobbit is one that I won’t let go. It’s the fancy green hardback version, with gilt lettering and such. It’s the first book I remember buying for myself with my own money, so it has sentimental value as well as being a great book. 🙂 I also have a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales (same or similar cover to yours) that was a gift which I won’t part with, and I just recently bought a complete Canterbury Tales that is quickly becoming a part of my keep-for-ever-and-ever shelf. This is a fun list! I’m not sure I could do it for real, though. I have too many books I don’t want to part with. 🙂

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  13. Love your choices (and yeah, 33 does have a nicer ring to it)! I got really excited when I saw so many books I loved on your list 😀 and there does seem to be a number of amazing books I should check out!

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  14. I love the idea of counting bind-ups as one book, ha ha. I think it’s very efficient! 🙌🙌🙌

    So many lovely covers, too. 😍

    The sentimental aspect always comes first for me, too. Sure the illustrated Harry Potters are beautiful, but if I could only keep one set it would be the well loved editions we bought for my son, and were read several times each by his father and myself, too. They are tatty and wobbly, and have coffee stains on them, but they are so full of memories. 💕

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  15. Wow, fantastic copies! 🙂 Even the ones that are cheap and tatty… but all the more precious! 🙂
    When I moved from Ireland, the reasonable thing for me to do was to sort through my book collection- see what comes with me, what goes to a new home. I ended up giving away about 80 books… I still think about them every day but my choice was based on simple criteria- will I read them again, am I going to be sad if I don’t have it on my shelf again, is it signed by author, is it an arc, is it a unique copy, etc.. weeeelll… a lot of questions but I managed 😀

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