Shelfie By Shelfie #1

This is a tag that I first saw on Tar Heel Reader, which is run by the indelible, incredible Jennifer, and was created by Beth from Bibliobeth. Thank you to Jennifer for bringing this to my attention and to Beth for coming up with this awesome tag!

“If you want to join in, you share a picture (or โ€œshelfieโ€) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf.”

I told myself I’d do this post weeks ago and then–surprise surprise–I ended up procrastinating. Now we’ve gone from scorching sun to constant rain and I lost the opportunity to make use of natural light. So I dragged out two desk lamps from the closet and tried to create some nice indoor lighting. The result wasn’t…great.

Imagine a praying mantis–like this one!


Now imagine those two front legs as my table lamps. And imagine a camera resting against one of the shoulders.

That’s more or less how I looked trying to take this picture. Only 10 times more wobbly and 1000 times less fabulous.

Glitter and glamour, my life is not.



1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

…That’s a very good question! *Sweats* Is “I like the way these books look next to each other” a valid sorting mechanism? How about “I let my right hand guide me like a dowsing rod and these are the books it picked out for this shelf”? No? Okay.

I recently resorted my books and I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me. But these ones do share a few things in common: they’re mostly fantasy, most of them have LGBTQIAP+ representation, and they’re some of my favourites. You may also notice that I have a habit of not buying all the books in a series.

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

Six years ago, I got my copy of The Handmaid’s Tale signed at a university event where Margaret Atwood gave an hour-long talk about the zombie apocalypse.

Two things I learned on that day:

1. Atwood is very funny in a very dry kind of way. I couldn’t believe she was Canadian because I don’t generally associate our country with wry humour. Some guy asked during Q&A (in the most haughty tone imaginable), “What made you go into writing? Was it the elements of plot, the characters? Or was it the language, the words, the sentences?”

And she answered, “Well, it was better than Home Economics.”

I loved it.

2. Margaret Atwood may look like “a frail baby giraffe but [she] has the intimidation factor of a 8.0 earthquake” (actual words I found in my journal entry).

See, I’d brought The Handmaid’s Tale and my new journal to get signed after the talk–my new journal that I hadn’t written in for about a month. When I gave the journal over, she flipped to the latest entry, flipped to the front page, looked at the date and then at me and said, “You haven’t been writing.”

I squeaked out “Um, no!”

Which she followed with a shake of the head and a “You need to write more!”

Then she proceeded to scribble across half of an empty page, “For Kathy–write more on this page today! – Margaret Atwood”

I don’t know if I was more ecstatic or mortified. But I did write on that page that day. And the day after. Becaue when Margaret Atwood tells you to write, you write.

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

I think I would sooner ditch myself. BUT if my loved ones were being held at gunpoint, I guess The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg would do the job since I have another (larger) copy on a different shelf. ๐Ÿ˜›

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Beth, we haven’t even talked yet! Why do you already hate me? ๐Ÿ˜ญ I adore these books and two of them are signed and beloved, so I’m going cheat this time. I’ll get myself a Bag of Holding and just stuff the entire shelf inside.

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

Most of these are fairly new but I’ve had Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta since 2011!

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

That would be The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

I have already re-read quite a few of these, but I’m very excited to get to Blue Lily, Lily Blueย for the first time!

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There are several objects!

On the left: the miniature traditional Korean masks (“tal”) my mom got for me on her most recent trip to South Korea. The larger ones were/are used during ceremonies, rituals, plays, and dancing (which my dad used to do). We had them hanging around our house when I was little and they used to freak me out. These two are much more pleasant to look at.

In the middle we have the Little Prince & Fox figurines!

And on the right there’s a Joan of Arc-inspired mini sword that I got for myself last Christmas because I love swords and Joan of Arc is one of my favourite historical heroines.

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

That I read a lot of fantasy and that my methods of organization are a mystery even to myself?

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I don’t want to pressure anyone to showcase their shelves so I won’t be tagging anyone, but if you’d like to do the tag, go for it!

And go check out Jennifer and Beth’s shelves!

23 thoughts on “Shelfie By Shelfie #1

  1. PerfectlyTolerable says:

    First of all have you ever seen a preying mantis fly?!?! They are creepy AF! Haha but I love the visual of you trying to take the picture ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ It turned out really great!! I love the sword! And That is an awesome story of your encounter with Margaret Atwood!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bibliobeth says:

    Love love love!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜And thank you so much for doing this! I definitely don’t hate you haha and believe me I’ve hated myself at times for making up that question. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„ Love your Margaret Atwood story, I saw her talk once in the UK and she is so incredibly witty and quirky, I fell in love a little bit. Brilliant Shelfie and thank you again. ๐Ÿ˜˜

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jennifertarheelreader says:

    Oh, this makes me so happy, Kathy! And I have so much to say! You may think your organization is a mystery, but it definitely looks perfect from here. My shelves are all haphazardly arranged with different sizes, and yours are most definitely not. I learned so much about you from this shelf! Your Margaret Atwood story- wow! I enjoyed learning about the Korean masks and their meaning in your family. This is so lovely and more meaningful than any Shelfie Iโ€™ve shared! I had a new Shelfie over the weekend, and it is outright silly compared to yours. Once again you inspire me. Thanks for doing the tag and for sharing so much of yourself. โ™ฅ๏ธ xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky says:

      OH NO NO, JENNIFER, your shelfies are the complete opposite of silly!!! I love everything from your stair shelfies to your more traditional but still-haphazardly arranged shelves! They’re the reason why I’m doing this tag in the first place! Plus, this one was kind of my “favourites” shelf so I had a lot to talk about. Wait till I get to the shelf that’s filled with books from only one author. I have no idea what I would say about that one! ๐Ÿ˜€

      And praying mantises scare me a little (mostly because of the whole cannibalism thing :P) but they *are* super pretty โค

      Liked by 1 person

      • jennifertarheelreader says:

        You are so sweet, Kathy! I am sure Iโ€™ll love all of your shelfies, too! Even the one author one! Now I am trying to guess which author it is, but I may not even know the author? And I LOVE suspense, so you donโ€™t have to tell me! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I really do! All of this to say, I am impressed with the love and care you have for your books. Beautiful Shelfie! ๐Ÿ’— xo

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicole Evans says:

    Ohmygosh, your Atwood story is incredible! I would both be thrilled and mortified, too, if that happened to me!

    I also really enjoyed your “how you captured the photo” story above. Your stories are always fantastic. โค


  5. auroralibrialis says:

    Your Margaret Atwood story is seriously author meeting goals! That’s so cool! I hope you love Blue Lily, Lily Blue, it’s my favorite in the series ๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    I love the stories behind your shelf, your books and your objects! And just like everyone else has said – that’s some author meeting goals right there! That’s jealousy that I’m forcing down right now ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I may steal this one to do as it looks like fun!


  7. Norrie says:

    Love the sword!
    And yes, the books looking good next to each other is a perfect reason to place them next to each other. I follow this method as well quite often ๐Ÿ˜€

    Margaret Atwood sounds super awesome โค ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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