The Can’t-Miss Bookshelf


A few months back, Shawna and I bought a cabin in the woods.  It looks like this:

It’s surrounded by six acres of maple, birch, beech and pine trees.  Not to mention, zillions of birds.

When we took possession, our biggest decision wasn’t about what furniture or kitchenware to buy.  It was about books.  Specifically – what books should go north, and which belonged at home?

It was a grueling decision.  How can you separate your babies?  In the end we decided to bring a smallish collection of books to the cabin (i.e. 300 or so), but every single book needed to be a can’t-miss book.

It’s a cabin, after all.  Which means we’ll have lots visitors.   And what do visitors want when they stretch out in the hammock?  A can’t-miss book.

bookshelf 2

These aren’t all highbrow books, by any means.  You’ll find volumes by Steig Larrson and Paullina Simons tucked alongside the Richard Fords and Joan Didions.  But you’ll also find some surprises: Tennessee Williams’ short stories, Michael Chabon’s “Kavalier and Clay,” and the stunning “Special Topics in Calamity Physics.”

I defy you to sit down with any of those books and not get sucked in like a dust-bunny into a Dyson.

NOTE: I plan to add Barbara Kingsolver’s “Poisonwood Bible” to the shelf, along with Wallace Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety,” and Haruki Murikami’s “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.”

booksheld 1

Right in the middle, there’s our “powerful female memoir” section.  These are some of my favourite books.  But we’re always looking for more – any suggestions?  Jeanette Walls’ “The Glass Castle” is a must-have, but what else?

bookshelf 3 close up

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