Gallery | Inside My Bookshelf

Time for another featured blog/blogger!  

This week: the fabulous and very unique blog Inside My Bookshelf, written by my friend Sarah. As a professional in the youth arts non-profit community, Sarah has a lot of books on her reading list, and somehow she makes time to actually read them (you know, between the long work week and being a new mom)!  

Inside My Bookshelf is an archive of these books - Sarah posts a photo of the book and quotes/passages that she marked, all without commentary.  It's a continuing roll of inspiration for me.  I'm excited to learn more about the thinking behind her blog.

Sarah, what is the idea/purpose behind your blog?
I was an English major in college and met many people who worshipped books in a way where dog-earing the corner of a page was like swearing in church. I'm the opposite. I read books with markers, pens, pencils, highlighters and mark my way through them. These highlighted passages become like field notes. A few summers ago, I took a sabbatical from my job at New Urban Arts. I did a lot of reading that summer, and also a lot of rereading my markings in books I poured through as a graduate student studying Arts in Youth and Community Development at Columbia College, Chicago.

In revisiting these texts, and starting new ones, I realized that articulation of my values and philosophies in doing this work were lost inside the pages of a bookshelf. References were left unnamed, on the tip of my tongue, in many conversations and trainings. I started a blog as a way to archive what I am reading, and what I am highlighting inside these books, so I could revisit these ideas with more frequency and familiarity. Like friends you want to keep in better touch with.

My blog is a peek inside my bookshelf for others. It's a quotography for me, a way of remembering and keeping close the mirrors and reflections that keep me going. Not only does an archival blog like this serve as a resource for others, in the way that someone's photo albums, clothes or fridge magnets tell the story of a person, I find that our literary cannons provide an interesting glimpse into who we are and who we want to be. 

What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your blog?
For awhile, I followed Portland State University's online bibliography for one of their graduate programs on art and social practice. I would research their running list of titles for additions to my own. I hope that my blog serves as this kind of resource for others.

Where do you get your ideas for posts from?
I only post books I am reading. I include book covers and the passages I highlight or underline. Sometimes it takes me a few months to add a book I've read to my blog. I have started a blog for my son with a similar format. He can't read yet, but he already has a growing library. You can find it here: 

What's one tip or insight that you'd like to share with other bloggers?
Within the first year of blogging, a good friend commented that she was surprised to learn I had my own blog. I was embarrassed, like I had been caught doing something behind people's backs.

When I realized she had read my blog, I kept making apologies for why it wasn't finished, why it wasn't "ready yet." In relaying this to my husband later, he said, but isn't that the point of a blog? You're always adding to it? It's always "ready" but never finished? Readership was a major lightbulb for me. 

What do you envision your blog being someday down the road?
I imagine editing down this collection of quotes some day. I'm not sure how or why yet. Sometimes I wish I had a zine of these lines, something I could hold. Something I could find unexpectedly, misplaced in a pile of bills. With a blog, I need to go out of my way to be in its company. I prefer relationships that allow for serendipity.

Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah!  Check out Inside My Bookshelf to see some of the books Sarah's been reading. 


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