Saturday, 26 September 2009

The Yellow Shelf



During my rainbow bookshelves series I have been conscious that I had no yellow shelf to contribute. For some reason I don't own many yellow books (and yet have an abundance seemingly in other colours); what I do have can be seen below in a little stack, minus a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini that would have looked splendid itself in the pile but someone has borrowed it. However, Verity kindly offered to write a guest post as she -as you can see- has a yellow shelf! Welcome Verity and thank you for adding to my series.


I have greatly enjoyed Paperback Reader's series of Rainbow coloured bookshelves, and having been wondering about creating my own, I couldn't resist offering to do a guest post with yellow books when she said that she didn't have a shelf-ful of volumes in this colour. I then discovered that some of my very favourite books are yellow.

The largest collection of yellow books in the middle of this picture are my Greyladies titles. I came across this imprint earlier in the year, and finally got around to reading some of the titles this year. The books fall into what I would describe as a genre of children's books for grown-ups; they include some of Noel Streatfeild (writing as Susan Scarlett)'s lighter novels and include
adult school stories. I wrote about one of them here.

On the left, I have some non-fiction yellow books. Mrs Milburn's diaries are the wonderful second-world war writings of a housewife and give a fantastic insight into life on the Home Front. The child that books built is also autobiographical, tracing the origin's of Spufford's love of reading. I picked up Cornish for beginners on holiday this year; I love Cornwall and hoped to pick up some of the language, but I haven't yet got very far.

Deric Longden's A play on words is fictionalised autobiography, and absolutely laugh-out-loud-hilarious; I discovered him whilst still at school, and bought this with one of my leaving prizes. I didn't much enjoy Andrea Levy's Small Island, but I adored her other books, including the yellow-sounding Fruit of the Lemon. The bee season was a book acquired cheaply in an offer from The Times and is the literary equivalent of the film Spellbound, tracing a young girl's progress through school spelling bees. The ladies of lending is a library book with a title that grabbed me; as a librarian I love to read about others in the same role and I am looking forward to reading this one very soon.

It turned out that several of much-loved children's books had yellow spines. My Dad read Eve Garnett's Family at One End Street books to me when I was little, and the best in my opinion was this one, Holiday at Dew Drop Inn. Five go adventuring again is sadly faded, but another childhood favourite. Little house in the big woods was the first of Laura Ingalls Wilder books that I encountered, through hearing it read on the radio; I only acquired this copy last year. Two of my Chalet School books have yellow covers too.

The final two books relate to a current reading challenge - my attempt to read through all of the Virago Modern Classics. I read and reviewed the appropriately titled The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman back in August. And I acquired Excellent Women only last week to add to my collection of recently re-issued Barbara Pym books.


Thank you, Verity! I find it interesting that a lot of children's books have yellow covers and wonder if whether that is why I have so few. In my stack below you will see that Verity and I share the aptly entitled The Yellow Wallpaper. I also have the latest books by Jasper Fforde and Salman Rushdie (published in 2007 and 2008, respectively); a thrift book; Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks (which has the appearance of a lovely children's schoolbook); and one of Colette's Claudine novels, which is by far one of my favourite series designs (by Vintage).

I have family visiting this weekend but as always I love your comments and will respond at some point over the weekend.


26 comments:

savidgereads said...

Oh how lovely to have a guest post! I am encouraging my Gran to do that when she is next in town which promises to be soon.

I have to say I wouldnt have thought I would like a yellow shelf of books but they look so jolly!

Darlene said...

Oh how lovely! I must whip off to get ready for work but when I get back I'll pop in for a proper read. See you soon...

JoAnn said...

Verity to the rescue! I just acquired a copy of Excellent Women last week too, but the spine isn't yellow.

Thomas said...

I could be wrong about the completely unsubstantiated claim I am about to make: I feel like publishers in the US are a lot less likely to publish trade paperbacks with any kind of visual theme or consistent spine color. A publisher might do it for the works of a single author but they don't so much have a house style as seems to be the case with many British and European publishers. In fact the only spines that seem to have consistency over here are the Penguins (and of course that is British). Hmm, maybe I will need to go to the bookstore today and try and prove my theory one way or the other.

StuckInABook said...

Lovely! My favourite yellow books are Yellow by Janni Visman and a selected best-of Yellow Book. Original titles, no?

farmlanebooks said...

I've just checked my piles and I have very few yellow books. The few I have are ones that I don't really want to read. It is very strange - yellow books seem to have no appeal to me. Claire and I seem to have similar taste in books. I wonder if this is why she has so few yellow books too.

Kailana said...

The yellow shelf looks great together, which is weird because I don't generally like the colour yellow!

claire said...

I love yellow (but not as much as I do blue)! Verity's shelf looks so refreshing. But the only one I have here is also the same as Claire's Enchantress of Florence. I've other yellow titles as well but not very many.

Paperback Reader said...

Simon, it was lovely of Verity to provide me with a guest post especially this weekend when I'm busy.

I'm looking forward to Granny Savidge's post! Hopefully you can persuade her. I'd love to hear her thoughts on all of the Atwood novels she's read.

Yellow is such a cheerful colour; it reminds me of Easter and newborn babies!

Darlene, looking for you... ;)

JoAnn, Verity's a gem, isn't she?! I'm hoping to acquire the same copy of Excellent Women soon; I'm looking forward to your review once you've read it.

Thomas, I'm looking forward to your findings... It's an intriguing concept and one I imagine is completely about marketing.

Simon, very original titles! I wonder whether Yellow Dog by Martin Amis has a yellow spine.

Jackie, I was surprised how few I had but not surprised to find out that you don't have many either. I don't think it is as popular colour as others, perhaps it's because it's a colour that easily fades?

Kailana, I love yellow! The colour works as a shelf though.

Claire, it is such a refreshing colour and reminds me of new beginnings and eggs! I don't like eggs though...

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Oh, that is gorgeous. It's like sunshine - I'd love to wake up to that every morning... specially in the winters!

I could just find one yellow book on my "outside" shelf: How To Paint A Dead Man. Looks like yellow ain't the colour for me.

Paperback Reader said...

anothercookie, it is like sunshine and happiness-inducing.

I would love to add my own copy of How to Paint a Dead Man to my own little yellow stack; it's such a great book and an interesting cover and colour choice (the combination of cover and text).

Darlene said...

So buttery and bright! The Greyladies publications sound delightful and I'm quite sure will one day adorn my shelves. Mrs Milburn's Diaries is a title that made me sit up and take notice but I really should read Few Eggs and No Oranges first as it's on my shelf.

I love it when Verity mentions books and her Dad, so touching.

Paperback Reader said...

Buttery was my first thought, Darlene! I do love the childhood touches in Verity's posts too.

Jenny said...

Love it! I just recently got a new bookshelf, and I'm trying to decide if I have enough energy to reorganize by color. The color-coded books are sooo pretty.

Paperback Reader said...

Jenny, they are definitely pretty and striking. I say go for it! You can always change them back.

verity said...

Am so glad that you all enjoyed my yellow post; it was lovely to get back from the latest swim and see all your comments.

I remember reading Yellow Dog by Martin Amis a while ago with my then boyfriend. It had an awfully yellow cover (I didn't like the book at all!), but apprently had also been issued with the same colour but with the black and yellow reversed, for people who didn't like so much yellow. I meant to write about that in my post but forgot.

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, thank you again for writing the guest post. How curious that I brought up The Yellow Dog when you had meant to mention it! Bizarre information about the dustjacket. I wonder whether publishers tend to avoid yellow books because they don't sell so well unless particular niche markets (like the lovely greyladies books).

Claire, I meant to say: I hate the paperback edition of The Enchantress of Florence!

verity said...

Yes, I'm not sure if Yellow is a great colour for book jackets or not. I have to say that I don't hugely like the Greyladies titles covers, they're not as nicely done as the Persephone books or even the Bloomsbury group books.

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, sorry to hear they are not as nicely produced as our other republished forgotten classics. I think the Armada Chalet Schools have wonderful colours - I'm a sucker for a glossy paperback dustjacket!

verity said...

Sadly my Armada paperbacks are falling to bits, and not at all glossy.

I think some of my Armada Enid Blytons which are currently in storage and even more falling to bits (hence being in storage) are pretty yellow too.

I shall take a look for yellow books the next time I am somewhere with lots of books. Sadly all I can see from my desk is the Yellow Pages! (I can't believe I didn't include that, especially as the latest edition has just come out)

Paperback Reader said...

Haha, I'd forgotten about the yellow pages!

Have I mixed up publishers? What's the imprint of the Chalet School stories and others that we looked at in Foyles? It's those ones I was referring to and that I covet.

verity said...

Girls Gone By...(who I'm posting about later this week :))

Armada produced the original pbk editions.

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks; I'll look forward to the post.

Serena said...

I wonder what the advantage to shelving books by color has?! I'm new to the blog and always thought it would be by author or genre?!

verity said...

Serena, I entirely agree! All of my books are shelved by author, and the nonfiction in a sort of genre organisation (the picture in the post was created just for the topic I'm afraid!), but I do have my Grey Persephone books together and am wondering about keeping my green Virago modern classics together.

I think the delight of coloured bookshelves is that they can look appealing, and when one artificially creates them it is interesting to see what is brought together.

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Serena, thanks for commenting. For me, shelving by colour is purely for aesthetic reasons; I love how it looks. As Verity says, creating additional coloured shelves -in addition to the ones I have- for this post series is out of curiosity to see the patterns in genre and publisher when it comes to colour.

I don't shelf alphabetically because I find it too large an undertaking, especially at the rate that I add new books to my shelves. I have genre shelves, coloured shelves, author shelves and publisher shelves (which are also coloured).