Shelf Love, Part 1: The Unreads


The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory… and just a tiny bit false. There are six books pictured that I have read:

  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. The Ghost Dance by David Humphreys Miller
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  4. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamont
  5. The Ghost Dance by James Mooney
  6. Naya Nuki: Shoshone Girl Who Ran by Kenneth Thomasma

More about those five later (I promise!). But for now, The Unreads:


As you can see, I’m collecting anything by J.R.R. Tolkien. I absolutely adore The Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies and tried reading the books about ten years ago, with shockingly no success. I could not follow all the characters, places, histories, etc. Now that I’ve seen the movies a bazillion times, I feel confident that I will be able to get through AND enjoy this classic.

The more I watch the LOTR movies, the more fascinated I become with Middle Earth and all of its histories, legends, and myths. I saw a documentary once that stated Tolkien created this fantasy as a way of creating an ancient history for England, replacing the lost history that the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Normans destroyed. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it’s right up my alley… and what prompted me to buy The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, and The Children of Húrin

I have an endearing love of Beowulf and throughly enjoyed reading Tolkien’s essay Beowulf: Monsters and Critics, though I believe it was within a different compilation. In my search for this and his other translation (not pictured, as I have not found it yet), I came across his The Fall of Arthur and had to add it to my collection.

The Fall of Arthur recounts in verse the last campaign of King Arthur who, even as he stands at the threshold of Mirkwood, is summoned back to Britain by news of the treachery of Mordred. Already weakened in spirit by Guinevere’s infidelity with the now-exiled Lancelot, Arthur must rouse his knights to battle one last time against Mordred’s rebels and foreign mercenaries. (GoodReads)


About five years ago, my brother gifted me a box set of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. He assured me I would love it, even though I’d never heard of it. But I tried it anyway, but couldn’t get into it because (again) I could not keep all of the characters, places, and histories straight!

Then about a month ago, a friend convinced me to try the HBO series based on the books and I was hooked – line and sinker. We’re all caught up with each season now and I’ve decided to try reading the first book, even though a.) I’ve had previous bad experiences with it (though now I have faces to go with the names) and b.) I’ve heard some very interesting criticisms of his writing style, mainly that he is long-winded and unnecessarily focuses great detail on characters that end up having no significance.


A few years back, I watched what I like to call The James Bond Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, knowing there was a book, but allowed myself to be swayed against it (for reasons I can no longer remember). I’ve since heard raving reviews of this stark crime drama and cannot wait to dive into this Millennium Trilogy.


I’m not as excited about these, but I’m determined to get through them, nonetheless, for various reasons:

  1. O, Pioneers! is a book that I think I’ve read and think I remember not liking, but have no real memory of reading it. My aunt loved her and so I’m determined to give Willa Cather another try.
  2. The Dante Club is a book that I’ve heard a lot of praise for, but don’t know much about. I’m a sucker for period crime dramas, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it (whenever I get around to it).
  3. The Six Wives of Henry VIII is a book my grandmother had on her shelf and I remember leafing through it as a young teen. I’m not sure what happened to her copy, but I found mine super cheap recently and am excited to start this gigantic history of a fascinating man’s wives.
  4. I had never heard of Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis until I randomly came across it at a library bookstore. The cover and title intrigued me, as did the subject matter. I love old photographs and am eager to start this biography soonish.
  5. Child Life in Colonial Days was given to me by my aunt (same one who loved Willa Cather) when I was pretty young. Surprisingly, I’ve never read it, not even a page, despite my deep love of history and interest in Colonial times. I must remedy this!
  6. Come an’ Get It: The Story of the Old Cowboy Cook belonged to my father. When I moved out after college, I stole this from him (shhh) because I knew that he was going to throw it out during one of his down-sizing purges. I don’t regret the theft, but I haven’t read the book yet!
  7. Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur was a gift from a family I used to tutor. I’ve read portions of it and other works about her life, but not the full story. I will someday!

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