Bestselling authors explain how they organize their books and what they’re about.

Shelfies by Elin Hilderbrand, Diana Gabaldon, Garrett Graff, Vanessa Riley, Emma Straub, Hernan Diaz, Jennifer Weiner, Chris Bohjalian and Christopher Buckley


My bookshelves are messy. It’s not just that I have too many books and too little space. I’m just confused. This is not always the case. The shelves I’ve assembled over the years, before the kids, always have: a box full of poetry, recorded by the author, and a few boxes of fiction, and including the last names of the authors. These boards are mainly used as decoration or reference or as a bank for visitors. But there’s more: the pile that falls on my desk – lifting up the laptop I’m typing on it – and the books piled high in the bookcase in my bedroom and locked towers around my nightstand. These are books that are part of my daily life – for work, for fun, sometimes both. There is no rhyme or reason to how I organize them, but when I read one of the books I consulted (and then discarded) to help solve my little problem: “If this is where you thought, and then it was arranged.” I’m promoting my book organizer. Don’t tell my children.

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I asked nine authors to share a photo of a favorite bookshelf (or anything related to social media as a “shelfie”), describe the setting (if any) and tell me a little about what’s on that shelf. Here is what they said.

Hilderbrand is the author of 28 novels, including “The Island,” “Summer of ’69” and most recently “The Hotel Nantucket.”

This class is different – my other classes are organized by the time of my life when I read the books. So, for example, there’s a stack of stories I read in 1992-1993, when I was living in New York City commuting from Manhattan to my teaching job on IS 227 in Queens. There was a book I read when I was raising my first child, Maxx. There was a class I read when I was going through a divorce, when I was being treated for cancer, etc. But if the book is lucky, it is moved to this class! This is my “favorite book” class and my No. 1 favorite book. 1 of all time is “Franny and Zooey” by JD Salinger. I received a first edition for my 50th birthday from my children – which we can borrow from my ex-husband, who followed one. (He was looking for a signed first edition, but added a number.) Nothing – this is the best gift I’ve ever received.

Elin Hilderbrand reinvents beach reading – and creates a community in the process

Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander series. The latest episode is “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.”

This is part of my work collection, which includes 80-odd (some odder than others) drug guides; ten slang dictionaries; a “Claire” table, which contains medical prescriptions (like the Merck Manual that shows the physical limitation of her medical knowledge in the Outlander series) and stories written by doctors; medical history; Scottish things (history, language, traditions, world, stories and songs of the Scots, etc.); A variety of great books, from two collections of Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck stories by Carl Barks to books on historical clothing, maps and things like the history of hurricanes . Also, I have biographies of people I think I need to know about, medical history, a small collection of personal photos and a stack of family documents (my grandfather wrote the the occasional imaginative short story), my mother’s published book (professional – as in the teaching profession) and my grandmother’s Bible. There are about 2,000 books on my desk. There are another 1,500 down. Then there was a “real” library (as in, a room filled with bookshelves and nothing else) in my old family home. A beautiful and peaceful room. Whenever I’m there, I make time to just sit up and read quietly for an hour or so.

Feature: Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Go Tell the Bees that I Am Gone’

Graff is the author of, among other books, “The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert S. Mueller III’s FBI” and “Watergate: A New History.”

It often feels like “managing books” is my first job – buying them, reading them, passing them around the tables. When my wife moved from DC seven years ago, we had about 5,000 pounds of books, and I still collect about 200 of them a year. Despite that, I can tell you where every book is in my library. I first organize them by subject and then try to organize them by color and/or theme so the boards don’t look chaotic. I have my Cold War plates; my 9/11 classes; my presidential boards; and, of course, a handful of storyboards. I am sharing historical photos and pictures, which I have collected. My class on Richard M. Nixon’s tapes also has as a bookshelf a boxed hazmat suit that was found in George W. Bush’s presidential limo.

Watch: ‘Watergate: A New Story’

Riley writes historical fiction, historical mystery and romantic novels. Her most recent books are “Island Queen” and “Sister Mother Warrior.”

It’s mine The purpose of shelfie is to have things that make me laugh or think. This table is close to my work desk and appears frequently on my Zoom phone. Above are my Barbies: Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, African Goddess (designed by Bob Mackie), Ida B. Wells and Katherine Johnson. Then came the books. My favorite authors and titles, the ones that moved me, the ones I learned from, the ones that changed me. My reading habits are different. I need “Something Like Love” by Beverly Jenkins next to “The Mirror & the Light” by Hilary Mantel. There is nothing like finding the works of Henry VIII’s court after the political struggles of Olivia Sterling. The latest from Jayne Allen, Kristan Higgins and Nancy Johnson keep me in the present, while Kate Quinn, Maya Angelou, Sadeqa Johnson and Denny S. Bryce relive the past in new ways and property. And of course, my achievements – my titles and awards – round out my grades. Perhaps on the floor next to this bookshelf is my new book, reimagining my past and present theme.

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Straub’s latest book is “This Time Tomorrow.” He is also the owner of Books Are Magic bookstore in Brooklyn.

I would describe our bookshelves as alphabetical, with rocks and children’s pictures and little mysteries scattered around. Pictured here: Dan Chaon, Michael Chabon and Lauren Groff complete the pieces, a paper cutout of me and my husband in front of Books Are Magic, created by Lorraine Nam, an amazing artist, and given to us by Mabel Hsu, a child of children. a book editor who worked part time at a bookstore, totems made of wood and rope, a rock that sat in my older brother’s bedroom when we were kids, a pinecone painting, some cars, some love books, some unread. book In short, a slice of life.

Watch: ‘This Time Tomorrow’

Diaz is the author of the novels “In the Distance” and the most recent “Trust.”

This is a separate or small part of my archive, which represents most of the story. If the taxonomy here is unclear, so is my attempt at alphabetization. Different languages ​​coexist with promiscuity. Even if this sounds chaotic, at least the picture shows that I’m not a spine-breaker. The books lying on top of the books (spiraled, red, yellow) are documents in different stages of completion. Dickens and Tintin stand guard.

Watch: ‘Trust,’ by Hernan Diaz

Weiner is a novelist whose books include “The Summer Place,” “Mrs. Everything” and “Good in Bed.”

My house is a large white room meant for a woman with a large wardrobe. I don’t have a lot of clothes, but I have a lot of books, so the closet is now an office/library, there are shelves in the living room, the office and the bedroom . I organize my books by color — sorry not sorry — but books, in addition to being magical portals that provide escape and transformation, are also physical objects that you live, and there is nothing wrong with arranging them in a way that you find aesthetically pleasing. Here, I keep favorites that have been with me since college, friends’ books, TBR books, books I’ve read as research for my own books and books with ideas special – the copy of “Almost Paradise” by Susan Isaacs was a gift from me. mom, written by the author for my 40th birthday.

Watch: ‘That Summer,’ by Jennifer Weiner

Bohjalian is the author of many books, including “The Lioness,” “Hour of the Witch” and “The Flight Attendant.”

My novel is organized by author, and my novel, moving chronologically. So the Vikings preceded the Puritans, who preceded John Pershing’s World War I Doughboys. But my collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald is large (not rich, but large), and so I am ending the alphabetization of my fiction to give his work and his work about him in two parts own class. I usually take out one book for my own pleasure when I walk into my library every morning, and this time my Armenian translation is “The Great Gatsby,” which I appreciate because I’m Armenian. me

Watch: ‘Hour of the Witch,’ by Chris Bohjalian

Buckley’s books include “Thank You for Blowing,” “Losing Mum and Pup” and “Make Russia Great Again.” Her new book, “Has Anyone Seen My Toes?,” will be published in September.

All the books in this section are not just recorded, not just chaotically, making for endless and time-consuming searches. Then one day my agent called to tell me my book was now tanking. I was so sad that I spent the next three days alphabetizing them. I don’t know why, but for some reason, it helped.

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