15th May 2018

Every bookshelf tells a story …

Move over selfies, our spines are looking mighty fine! In an age where the iconic self-portrait populates our social feeds, we decided to celebrate the nostalgic and eclectic beauty of the ‘shelfie’ …

Last month, we challenged our editors to take their best shelfie shots, alongside a description of why their beloved bookshelves were so special to them. From the worn jackets of much-loved classics to unique snapshots of literary escapism (lovingly embellished with hygge-worthy collections of trinkets and personal mementos), every bookshelf tells a story.


Dan Graham, Publishing Director

‘Bookcases are far more than a place to keep cherished reads, they’re a portal that conjures up memories as vivid as any photograph. Exams studied for, irksome commutes, favourite holidays and children born. Age worn spines and dusty covers all trigger recollections of time and place that is often even more poignant than the crafted words within.’


Sue Mayes, Editor

‘My bookshelf is a mix of all sorts. A 1931 set of leatherbound AA Milnes rubs shoulders with Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Somewhere on there one of my childhood favourites, The Little White Horse (a favourite of JK Rowling too!) tries to get along with my Ian McEwans and Jane Austens. There’s even a generations-old little scrapbook of recipes, complete with embroidered cover that’s falling apart. The books are in no particular order – they go where they’ll fit – and they’re surrounded by favourite cards, pottery and memorabilia. Everything has some meaning in its own right. I love my book shelf!’


Gemma Cooper, Editor

‘On my bookshelf, centre place is Ahab’s Wife — one of my most favourite books and one that I’ve read countless times. Somewhere is a copy of David Sedaris’ short stories, which I alway turn to for a smile. There’s a set of leather-bound classics inherited from my grandma, and a book about 18 Folgate Street – my most favourite place to visit in London. I love crime fiction, such as Alex Grecian’s The Yard series and Robert Ryan’s Doctor Watson thrillers. I’ll read anything about the Tudors, and I’m desperately anticipating Hilary Mantel’s follow-up to Bring Up the Bodies and Wolf Hall. Some favourites from childhood will always be on my shelves: Roald Dahl, Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter. My current favourites are non-fiction travel writers The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester, Moondust by Andrew Smith, and Levison Wood’s Eastern Horizons. That being said, I’ve just finished Jessica Townsend’s Nevermoor, which was simply wonderful.’



… And what better way to conclude than with pictorial proof that a love affair with books spans a lifetime, beginning with the cherished titles that ignite that very first literary spark. Thank you to Dora (age 5) and Cece (age 8), who proudly shared their own shelfies with us, featuring favourite Willow Tree titles!


We would still love to see your shelfies – for a chance to be featured in upcoming blog posts, send your bookshelf shots to sarah@imaginethat.com.