Sharing My Bookshelf

A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.
– Jerry Seinfeld

For the past several weeks, I have been mulling over adding a “Reading Room” widget to my sidebar where I can list the books I’ve just read and plan to read in the near future. I firmly believe you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of books the person reads.

Even in real life, I’ve found that talking about the books one has read helps me connect with people. If you’ve read the same kind of books, you can make excellent close friendships with people, which otherwise wouldn’t have happened.

While I was contemplating this for a while, I received an invite from a friend to join Shelfari, an online book-sharing site. Then, I came across Ergo’s post sharing his bookshelf. I too think it is a great concept and a great idea. Much better than adding a widget listing just a few books!

Think of Shelfari for books as what Bloglines is for Blogs, or Delicious is for bookmarks. Just as we like to share the blogs we read with each other through our Blogroll, we can share the books we read through Shelfari.

So, here is my Shelfari bookshelf. Feel free to add me as a friend, if you decide to sign up, so that we can share.

Note that all the books on my bookshelf are those that I’ve read and personally own. I’ve not yet gotten around to adding everything I’ve read! In some cases I chose hardcover editions as they had a title picture, whereas I actually own the paperback editions (which were without a title picture). Needless to say, the list is not exhaustive – I have several books without even an ISBN number that I did not find in Shelfari’s database. Also, a couple of tries to search for books using ISBN numbers didn’t succeed. Otherwise however, the site does a good job, as far as I’ve seen.

Happy reading!


17 thoughts on “Sharing My Bookshelf

  1. Well. This theme sure looks better than the previous one 🙂
    Shelfari uses Amazon web services underneath to retrieve book details. If Amazon does not have a book that you have, I think you should keep them reaaal safe. Those could be valuable on Ebay one day

  2. I firmly believe you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of books the person reads.
    Partly true. Additionally, I think it’s also important what one thought of a book. Two people reading the same book can have diametrically opposite responses to it. 🙂

  3. @ Amit:

    “Two people reading the same book can have diametrically opposite responses to it.”

    And the person, who did not like a book, about which reviews are only ga-ga in the web universe, can spend a whole life explaining her point of view… 🙂

    @ Mahendra:

    I have been on Shelfari a while. I soon found that many books only appear on my shelf and nobody else’s 😦 I also found that it takes an awful long time to find, add, tag a book. And that if I put my entire shelf online I will be there entering and tagging books for at least 2 years. Links ot my shelf are on my blog (right sidebar).


  4. Krish: thanks! Besides the look, the earlier theme didn’t load correctly in WLW, and that really was a pain!

    And oh yes – Amazon is an investor in Shelfari so no surprises there!

    //Those could be valuable on Ebay one day//

  5. Amit: Of course! I thought that goes without saying! 🙂

    Shefaly: Yes, it was somewhat a pain to add books…I went through the process as I figured it would be a one-time thing as part of initial setup. Your shelf looks pretty interesting already…if this is a partial shelf, it’s obvious that you’re a voracious reader!

  6. Mahendra: Thanks. Glad you found it interesting. I have 4 book cases (each with 6 shelves and 2 layers of books) yet to add to Shelfari so you can see why it is only partial… I do not shop for anything fashionable but I do invest in a good PC, super-fast web access and books. 🙂

    I have a backlog of 17 books in the last 2 months that I have been working hard at the thesis. Plus I have many in my shopping basket on Amazon so I can see busy days ahead.

    I also review on Amazon UK and have somehow managed to stay within the top-1000 reviewers (link on blog too). As you can see there too, I review books that probably nobody reads 😦

  7. //Those could be valuable on Ebay one day//

    I think they could get a price on eBay one day but their value to you probably exceeds that price tag vastly.

    I have a Calligraphy book from the 1890s which was my grandfather’s. The other oldest books I have are out of print, first editions or rare gems on early sociology of the information age. I am never going to sell them, and am planning to have a couple restored here in London by master restorers. 🙂

  8. I see that among all the books you have, there are just 3 I also have, among which only one I have read fully 🙂 😦

  9. I think they could get a price on eBay one day but their value to you probably exceeds that price tag vastly.
    Very true. In fact, I go around scouring for old books and there is this streetside shop in Chennai that is a motherlode of such treasures. I even found a 1930s travelogue by a S Mahadevan who accompanied Gandhi on his tours on the country.

  10. Shefali: I must try and get around to reading your reviews someday!

    Arun: In that case, why don’t you build your own bookshelf so I can learn about some new books? That’s the whole idea!

    Ashok, Shefali: yes, the charm and pricelessness of antique books in particular can be very addictive. Somewhat similar to how the little book store in You’ve Got Mail sounds more appealing than those Amazons and Barnes & Nobles…(not exactly, just romanticizing)

  11. I havent used shelfari but in past I had used and is based on wiki concept librarything works on the same concepts as shelfari. I have never able to update such site as being lazy.

  12. Bibliomom: I don’t know how you stumbled upon my blog…you’re most welcome! I can see from your avatar that you’re a real book-worm. Also saw some photographs of your books in a quick tour of your blog. Nice to have you here.

    JV: I can fully empathize. I started out with a txt file (80s), then an XLS (90s), then gave it up. So, I’m trying to rejuvenate myself all over again with Shelfari! 🙂

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