Musing Mondays – Bibliovoyeurism

Today’s question from Should Be Reading is:

Do you like looking at other people’s bookshelves?

Er. Yes. Next question.

Seriously, I can’t walk past a bookshelf without looking at it. I’d get stuck a lot more often in my own house if my bookcase wasn’t behind the door in the main room.

London being unsociably large and most of my friends still living in share houses, which means that their books are usually tucked away in their bedrooms rather than in communal space, deprives me of regular opportunities to booksnoop. However, I take every opportunity that I can! And it’s not just physical bookshelves that are ripe for inspecting – sites like Shelfari, Librarything and Goodreads enable me to snoop virtually.

It’s not just the book contents that I love inspecting either. How do you think that sites like Bookshelfporn come to be? Claire at The Captive Reader runs a weekly Library Lust item. Entire groups are devoted to sharing photos of bookshelves on Librarything.

Let me ask a question: how can you not like looking at other people’s bookshelves?


12 thoughts on “Musing Mondays – Bibliovoyeurism

  1. Vicki 15 August 2011 at 10:03 pm Reply

    Answer: I can’t NOT look! I don’t think I could keep myself from looking if someone paid me not to.
    Here’s Mine

  2. Arlee Bird 15 August 2011 at 10:07 pm Reply

    I’d love to visit someone who actually had an entire room that was devoted to books–their own personal library. I’d like to have that myself.

    Tossing It Out

  3. Iris 16 August 2011 at 9:26 am Reply

    I cannot help but go through bookshelves of friends too. I often feel I am infringing their privacy, but I cannot help it!

    • readingwithtea 16 August 2011 at 11:10 am Reply

      I’ve not encountered anyone who minded yet!

  4. Nymeth 16 August 2011 at 11:07 am Reply

    RE your question: exactly! Booksnooping is the best. I’m also guilty of trying to see the cover and title of whatever people are reading in public spaces. I do try to be discreet about it rather than outright creepy, though 😛

    • readingwithtea 16 August 2011 at 11:09 am Reply

      Oh yes, that’s me too. I don’t tend to travel by public transport all that much any more thanks to having a bicycle, but when I do and I see someone reading something I know is good, I get very excited 🙂

  5. Debbie Rodgers 16 August 2011 at 5:53 pm Reply

    I can’t understand how so many of my guests don’t pay ANY attention to my living room bookshelves! When I find someone who shares my passion for looking (& reading!) I drag them all through the house to see all my other bookshelves.

    • readingwithtea 19 August 2011 at 6:56 pm Reply

      We don’t have that many bookshelves (sadly), but that image is very familiar…

  6. Dorothy W. 19 August 2011 at 7:32 pm Reply

    Well, yes! I look at other people’s shelves with great curiosity and am disappointed when they don’t have all their books out where they are easy to see, or if they don’t take me into their studies and let me look around. It’s one of the best ways to figure out what to think about someone! 🙂

    • readingwithtea 19 August 2011 at 10:56 pm Reply

      My shelves don’t necessarily give a proper report – they show what books I want to read, not what I have read, as I only hang on to my absolute favourites (no space to keep the rest!)

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