The True Sea

The human mind, old films, literature and podcasts.

Judging a woman by her books

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Disclosure: The gorgeous Harrow table lamp was a housewarming gift from the lovely folks at Lighting Majestic. In April they also featured me in their Easter issue of Mega Majestic Monday.Chiaki Creates - Judging a Woman by Her BooksI read a lot. I always have. I try to use the library and second-hand bookshops as much as possible but if I’m looking for an obscure book, I often end up resorting to eBay. Because I read so much and so quickly I would end up with books everywhere in no time if I didn’t give them away when I’ve finished them. I donate books to charity shops, give them to friends or leave them in public spaces for anyone to pick them up. I also recently started bookcrossing. I really do judge people by their books so I thought it’d be fun for you to judge me by my book collection. The books on my shelves are of the following three categories.

Books that I haven’t read yet:

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension by Michio Kaku – Michio is my favourite theoretical physicist.
The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-breaking by Simon Singh – I have a slight obsession with codes.
Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life by Paul Ekman – I also have a slight obsession with reading people and understanding how people work.
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood – I adore Isherwood and I want to re-read this heartbreaking novel.
The Ipcress File by Len Deighton – I love the film from 1965 starring Michael Caine but I only recently found out that it was originally a book.Chiaki Creates - Judging a Woman by Her Books chiakicreates.comBooks that I keep referring to:

Tea and Cake London by Zena Alkayat ­- This is a brilliant guide to tea and cake places in London.
Colloquial Japanese H. D. B. Clarke and Motoko Hamamura – For learning Japanese.
Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Deangdeelert Cho – All bloggers should have a copy of this book.
Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho – Because I freelance.
Craft, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Your Creative Hobby into a Successful Business by Mateo Ilasco – Because I sell my handmade things.
Fun with Fabric by Jane Foster – Who doesn’t love Jane Foster?
The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry – This is a fantastic book which helped me figure out exactly what I want to do for a living.
Custom Lettering of the 60s and 70s by Rian Hughes ­- It would be odd if I didn’t own this.
The Encyclopaedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand – I’ve always been very fascinated with urban legends.
The Art of French Baking by Ginette Mathiot – I’m working on mastering the art of French baking.
The Cinema Book: 2nd Edition edited by Pam Cook and Micke Bernick – My film encyclopaedia of choice.
Joy Division by Kevin Cummins – One of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
Molecules of Murder: Criminal Molecules and Classic Cases by John Emsley – You probably know by now that I have a morbid streak.
Chiaki Creates - Judging a Woman by Her Books 3Books that have sentimental value:

Roald Dahl: Collected Stories – I grew up reading his short stories for adults but I didn’t read his children’s books until I was a teenager.
Now You’re One of Us by Asa Nonami – This book will haunt me forever. It’s fantastic.
The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde ­- I grew up reading his works.
Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edogawa Rampo – Japan’s Edgar Allan Poe, hence the name. I wish I had discovered him earlier.
I Am a Cat by Sōseki Natsume – Essential classic Japanese literature which I’m currently re-reading.
Strangers by Taichi Yamada – This is simply too good to let go of.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – My favourite contemporary novel. You can read more about my thoughts on it here.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto – When I read this novel it mirrored my own life in a bizarre way so I can’t bear parting with it.
Touching From a Distance by Deborah Curtis – I adore Joy Division and Ian Curtis.
Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook – I really do.
Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara – One of my favourite authors.
Autofiction by Hitomi Kanehara – She is brutal and full-on and absolutely amazing.
Psycho by Robert Bloch – One of the best novels ever written.

Apart from the three books that I’m currently reading, those are all of my books. Not bad for someone who used to have book shelves, cupboards and storage space full of books.

How about you? Do you judge people by their books?

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8 thoughts on “Judging a woman by her books

  1. I’m more judging you by your yarn, what is that beautiful rainbow stuff you’ve got there? :) x

  2. But how can you bear to part with them?? My books are like old friends. Sure, I’ll part with those that didn’t move me, but I love the way our bookshelves are a reflection of our lives over the years. From F. Scott Fitzgerald at uni, through Gloria Naylor whilst working at an indie bookshop, through to today’s reference books (I read a lot less fiction than I used to) my bookshelf is me. The hardest thing about clearing my parents’ house was dismantling my dad’s bookshelf, because it was him. Totally. I could no more give away my book collection than give away my fingers, my books feel like so much a part of me.

    • Oh I still find it really difficult parting with them but I have moved house around 10 times over the past 4 years and it’s such a pain lugging loads of books around. When I emigrated from Sweden about 4 years ago I sold, donated and gave away all but 7 of my books because I couldn’t bring them all with me. It was a tough decision to make believe me (although leaving my cat at my mum’s was even tougher!). I completely agree with you that they’re like old friends and I do truly miss having books everywhere. One day I will stop moving around, buy a house and fill my home with books again but for now I’m happy knowing that the books I give away will put a huge smile on someone else’s face as well.

  3. Oh absolutely! The first thing I go to in anybody’s home is their bookshelves (with permission of course!). I remember this one time when I was round the flat of someone I was kind of interested in and they were kind of interested in me and had invited me round to dinner. Among all the first date talking there was a bit when I was looking at their bookshelves while they were cooking. There were quite a few interesting books but every time I picked out a good one and asked about it (e.g. Kafka, the Goedel Escher Bach book), they would reply that it was left behind by an old flatmate or that they started reading it but didn’t really like it (about the Kafka!). The relationship never really developed any further from there!

    • That’s brilliant! I could never date anyone who doesn’t like Kafka (or Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails for that matter). How can you not like him? It’s the first thing I go to in anybody’s home as well. If it’s not immediately obvious where the books are (like if they’re in the bedroom or something) then I will ask “May I see your book collection?” and explain that I need to judge their character by their books. I’m completely open about it!

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