Shelf Obsession: Gerda Klaver

ABC snoops around Gerda’s bookshelves

You’ve been invited to dinner at someone’s home. Your host is busy in the kitchen and you wait in the living room. What do you do to pass the time? Admit it: you snoop around their bookshelves don’t you? We know you love shelf snooping just as much as we do, and now you can check out all sorts of bookshelves via the ABC blog.

When we asked you to show us your bookshelves, Gerda Klaver wrote to us:

bookshelves-gerda.jpgHere’s a photo of my floating bookshelves, which look as though the books are just hanging on the wall all by themselves. This solution was necessitated by the increasing lack of space in my bookcases!

You’re partly to blame: The American Book Center is way too tempting, filled with far too many interesting books. It would help me and probably many others, if you could do something about that in the future! Until that day I’ll always enjoy coming to the store in The Hague, leaving it happy with a pile of new books.

Everyone who saw Gerda’s photo of her bookshelves though immediately that we should feature them on the website. And we all wanted a set for ourselves! If you’d like to buy some, the wonderful BoingBoing blog has links to suppliers. Or you could make them yourself!


What are the three best books in your bookcase?

Het woud der verwachtingThe Bean TreesThe History of Love

It’s difficult to choose just three, but here they are: Het woud der verwachting by Hella Haasse, (translated as In a Dark Wood Wandering), The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

How do you organize your books?

Literature I organise by author. Other books, like history books, I organize by theme. I really love my history books!

What is the secret behind your “floating books”?

The secret behind my floating books is an ingenious little gadget: a hidden bookshelf!

GerdaWhich book is the most precious to you?

That’s a difficult question. I cannot name only one book because they are all precious to me. DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

Do you think your books reflect your personality?

I certainly believe my books reflect who I am and what I like. For example, I love travelling and music, and you find books on these subjects on my shelves. When you look at all my books you could write my biography!

Do you have any awful books in your collection – books you regret having bought?

No, because of the growing number of books and the limited space I have, I sometimes sell books that did not really touch me. This way I get money to buy new books and my old books find a better place.

Has your taste in books changed over the years?

I think so, but don’t ask me how. I like reading non-fiction more than I used to, but what I really enjoy most is a beautiful story (as you can see when you look at my top 3). And I know that as a child that was what I really liked, too.

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