I follow a blog called the Secret Library Book Blog, and this week they posted a challenge: the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt, which they traced back to another site called the Book Nut (which I now follow: thanks!). The challenge is to find books on your own book shelf that fit 20 categories. Some of my answers are a bit of a stretch, but here’s what I found on my own shelves. My collection slews heavily toward science fiction and fantasy, so that’s most of what you see here.
1. An author or title with a Z in it.
Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja. Funny science fiction.
2. A classic
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Atmospheric and creepy, and my all-time favorite opening line.
3. A book with a key on it
Dave Barry in Cyberspace. This is a stretch, but I didn’t have any books with actual door keys. This collection of funny essays about computers has a keyboard on the cover.
4. Something on your bookshelf that’s not a book
One of the many fish in my collection, swimming among my books.
5. The oldest book on your shelf
I picked two answers here. Iceworld by Hal Clement is my oldest physical volume (held together with a rubber band). My parents owned this copy from when it was new, in 1953, and I inherited it. My copy of The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie is only a couple of decades old, but the book’s copyright is 1922, making it the oldest one by that metric.
6. A book with a woman on it
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I have lots of books with women on the cover, but this one is all about bringing women front-and-center.
7. A book with an animal on it
Watership Down by Richard Adams. The richly imagined life of rabbits.
8. A book with a male protagonist
There are so, so many books I could have picked for this, but I chose Unbound by Jim C. Hines. There is an epic magical battle between good and evil, but there is more. Isaac, the protagonist, deals with issues of depression, and his friends try to understand and help him. I love that the author gave equal weight to both the inner and the outer struggles.
9. A book with only words on the cover
Just My Type by Simon Garfield is a delightful look at fonts and type faces.
10. A book with illustrations in it
Dungeon Crawlin’ Fools by Rich Burlew is the first in a series of print version of Burlew’s wonderful comic about self-aware characters in a Dungeons and Dragons world, the Order of the Stick.
11. A book with gold lettering
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, they book on which the TV miniseries is based. Just having fun with demons, angels, and the end of the world.
12. A diary, true or fictional
I couldn’t find any books that could be described as diaries, so I took a picture of one of the journals I use to plot out new stories. It includes dated entries in which I ramble on about my thoughts, which is as close as I could get.
13. A book written by an author with a common surname (like Smith)
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson. According to Google, Anderson is the 11th most common name in America, so I think this one counts. It’s an intriguing exploration of life in a relativistic universe.
14. A favorite childhood book
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. I no longer own any books I myself read as a child, but this is one I read to my children and loved.
15. A book that takes place in the earliest time period
I decided not to use anything where the time period is uncertain or where the location is fictional, such as a different world. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis because much of it takes place in our real world in the 14th century, during the Black Plague. My copy is signed by the author!
16. A hardcover book with no dust jacket
I couldn’t resist choosing Quantitative Research for the Behavioral Sciences by Celia Reaves. Yes, that’s me. I published this college textbook back in 1991, and though it never really took off it was modestly successful for a few years.
17. A teal or turquoise colored book
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke. Classic science fiction.
18. A book with stars on the cover
Death by Black Hole presents a series of essays on all matters astronomical written by Neil deGrasse Tyson for Natural History magazine. Another copy signed by the author!
19. A non-YA book
Most of my books are not for Young Adults, so I had lots of choices here. I picked M is for Malice, one of the alphabet murder mysteries by Sue Grafton, partly because the big M on the cover seems to mark it as Mature!
20. A book with a beautiful cover
Far Horizons is a collection of science fiction/fantasy stories from 1999, edited by Robert Silverberg. The cover has a surreal painting of flying dolphins and is unusual in that the only words on the cover are the title: no author or editor, no publisher, no blurbs.
So that’s my scavenger hunt. It was a lot of fun to do! By the way, the shelves in the image at the top of this blog were designed and built by my husband, and allow me to fit hundreds of paperback books into a closet. Brilliant!
Try the challenge yourself. I invite you to check out your own bookshelf and see what you can find!