Shelfie!

02 July 2014

While the world has become obsessed with taking selfies, we've been taking shelfies. A bookshelf tells you a lot about a person, we think. Organised or disorganised, by colour or by genre, or all thrown in together. Here, five Picador authors share their shelfies. Send us yours on Twitter and Instagram @picadorbooks

Rebecca Wait Rebecca Wait, author of The View on the Way Down

Rebecca Wait's shelfie

As you can probably see, there is no organising principle behind the arrangement of my bookshelves. This is a constant source of distress to my boyfriend. He is an alphabetiser. But I generally know where everything is, and if I don't, I enjoy browsing. 

Gabriel Roth Gabriel Roth, author of The Unknowns

Gabriel Roth's shelfie

There’s no particular order to our bookshelves except loosely by size, which is surprisingly useful since you generally know how big the book you’re looking for is. Visible in front of the bookshelf, at the bottom of the picture, is a children’s book called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which belongs to my three-year-old; over the past year I’ve read it perhaps a hundred times, which is 99 times more than Wolf Hall or Rabbit at Rest. It’s terrible. 

Megan Abbott Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The Fever

Megan Abbott's shelfie

I'm a compulsive biography-reader (when I'm in the midst of a novel, it's hard for me to read fiction, so a lively biography always comes in hand). The particular band of books in this photo, though alphabetically arranged, reveals a few key favourites, including several books about Raymond Chandler, who first sparked my interest in writing crime fiction. The snapshot of the woman with the extraordinary beers is the result of another long-term hobby: buying old photographs at garage sales and antique stores.

Ellen Feldman Ellen Feldman, author of Scottsboro and The Unwitting

Ellen Feldman's shelfie

This is my friends' shelf – fiction, biography, history, art history, and more. The only unifying principle is that all the books are by writers whose work I admire and whose friendship I cherish.

Emma Straub Emma Straub, author of The Vacationers

Emma Straub's shelfie

This is one of my reference shelves. As you can see, I can access all kind of information very quickly: a map of the states, grammar, pictures of old movie stars, and pictures of my favourite 1990s boyband. There's also a tiny copy of Middlemarch on top for good measure. I think I have four copies scattered around the house. You never know when you're going to need Dorothea.