The Spice Of My Shelves

I have a hoarding problem…

But I know I’m not alone.


There are entire buildings, called libraries, dedicated to the collecting and storing and keeping and hoarding of books!


I jest when I call myself a hoarder.  Although my room is almost a library!  I have books here:


and here:


and here:


and here:


and here:


and in these two drawers:

So… I have a lot of books.  Maybe I am a hoarder!


But this post is for celebrating books!  I am actually going to do a ‘Spice of My Shelves’ once a week from now on.  It will simply involve removing five random books from my personal library, and showing them my faithful readers, along with quotes out of each of them.  So let’s do our 1st weekly

The Spice Of My Shelves: #1


Here is our first set of books, each chosen on a whim:


They are, from left to right:

Guide to Tolkien’s World: A Bestiary, by David Day

The Tea Party Book, written by Lucille Recht Penner and illustrated by Jody Wheeler

Mind the Light, Katie: The History of Thirty-Three Female Lighthouse Keepers, by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford

84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff


Lord of the Flies, by William Golding



I tried to get a nice variety of books that would interest history buffs, children’s book connoisseurs, dark fiction lovers, and Tolkien nerds alike!


Our first selection: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding


Isn’t that fly just adorable?


Here are some of the best quotes, (I think) from Lord of the Flies:

‘Startled, Ralph realized that the boys were falling still and silent, feeling the beginnings of awe at the power set free below them. The knowledge and the awe made him savage.’

‘”Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill!” said the head. For a moment or two the forest and all the other dimly appreciated places echoed with the parody of laughter.  “You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close!  I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are?”

The laughter shivered again.’


‘Beyond falls and cliffs there was a gash visible in the trees; there were the splintered trunks and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm between the scar and the sea.’

Type of book: A classic piece of fiction!

Synopsis of Lord of the Flies: A group of school boys, during World War II, are stranded after a plane crash on a beautiful, uninhabited island.  At first, they cooperate, but gradually the true nature of their humanity shows itself and results in terrible tragedy.


This is a pretty dark book!  However, it is a great read, and you can learn a lot from its powerful symbolism.  If you have read ‘The Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad, you will instantly see the influence that work on William Golding.  Keep in mind, it has mature and possibly disturbing content.


Moving on to some lighter literature  – this is a collection of letters written by Helene Hanff and her correspondents in England.  It is a hilarious, touching, and relaxing read!  It was a gift from a friend.


Synopsis: An author in America, looking for cheap but quality books, writes to a bookstore in England, and a long and meaningful correspondence ensues between her and the store employees.

Best quotes:


‘I houseclean my books every spring and throw out those I’m never going to read again like I throw out clothes I’m never going to wear again.  It shocks everybody. My friends are peculiar about books.   They read all the best sellers, they get through them as fast as possible, I think they skip a lot.  And they NEVER read anything a second time so they don’t remember a word of it a year later.  But they are profoundly shocked to see me drop a book in the wastebasket or give it away.  The way they look at it, you buy a book, you read it, you put it on the shelf, you never open it again for the rest of your life but YOU DON’T THROW IT OUT! NOT IF IT HAS A HARD COVER ON IT!  Why not?  I personally can’t think of anything less sacrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book. ‘

‘Dear Helene [From 84 Charing Cross Road] … Megan is still here but planning to go to South Africa to live, we are all trying to talk her out of it…

[From Helene to 84 Charing Cross Road]



Our next book is a nonfiction, historical book.  It was a gift from my grandmother and is all about ladies who kept lighthouses in America.  There are neat photographs and really cool stories within!



I never knew it could be so hard, romantic, and lonely keeping a lighthouse!  This book includes many first hand accounts. History fans, take note.

‘If the light went out, Kate got up to tend to it. “Our house was forty rods… from the lighthouse, and to reach it I had to walk across two planks under which on stormy nights were four feet of water.  And it was not too easy to stay on those slippery, wet boards with the wind whirling and the spray blinding me.”‘

‘”There isn’t anything unusual in a woman keeping a light in her window to guide men folks home.  I just happen to keep a bigger light than most women because I have got to see that so many men get safely home.”‘




‘The Tea Party Book’ is a delightful children’s book full of charming illustrations, and ideas for different tea parties (A Teddy Bear Tea Party, A Royal Tea Party, A Garden Tea Party, ect.).  Here’s a sampling of the pictures:


There are recipes and menu suggestions,  instructions for decorations and ideas for activities at each of these lovely tea parties!  I didn’t receive this book until I was outgrowing dolls, but I know I would have had a blast with this book as a little girl!  Actually, I have never outgrown tea parties anyway… why shouldn’t I still have a Teddy Bear Tea Party?!


Our final book is a helpful bestiary created by David Day for the complicated world Tolkien created known as Middle Earth.  In case, like me, you don’t know what a bestiary is, here’s the definition:

  • a descriptive or anecdotal treatise on various real or mythical kinds of animals, especially a medieval work with a moralizing tone.


Well, this book doesn’t really have a moralizing tone, but it is full of great illustrations, though some are of orcs and giant spiders and so are rather grotesque!


Here’s a sample of the illustrations!  I wish the one on the left had that brilliant white radiance in reality, but that’s just the sun glistening off the pages!


Within this work, nerds like me can read about anything from Turin Turambar to Ancalagon the Black, to Huorns,  to Mewlips!  There is a cool map, a timeline, and lots of information for Tolkien fans!

Here is what the author says about his book:

‘Primarily, I meant “A Tolkien Bestiary” to be a useful reference work to Tolkien’s world of Arda, but it is also a celebration of the imagination of a great story -teller and the creator of a world. This book was written and designed in the belief that, had the scribes of Middle-earth compiled a work on the natural history of Arda, the result would have been something very similar to this.’

-David Day


Well, I hope you have all enjoyed this post!  If you guys like it, it’ll keep coming weekly!  Let me know your thoughts, and have a great day!



11 thoughts on “The Spice Of My Shelves

      1. You’re very welcome! I’m doing great, and I hope that you are, as well. 🙂 Aw, thank you! I’ve gotten a bit behind in my normal blog reading, which is why I haven’t been commenting as much lately. I’ll go catch up right now!


  1. I’ve had such a problem with hoarding books over the years! At this point in my life, I’ve decided to do away with all of the ‘To-Reads’ I used to own…for years…haha and only keep the books that I absolutely love. That’s turned out to be quite a lot by themselves! 😂 That’s a lovely selection of books that you chose! Definitely do more posts like this; I loved reading this one. That first quote from ’84, Charing Cross Road’ is hilariously true! And that lighthouse book sounds very intriguing 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us, Shannon! I might have to do a post like this myself.


  2. I loved “84 Charing Cross Road” and have read it more than once. I have never run across “Mind the Light, Katie” and now I will look for it. Thanks for the introduction!


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