Book Of The Month offered John Green's new novel Turtles All The Way Down as a bonus selection in October. (You can get the book free if you join BOTM this month.) Since I had a book credit, I wasted no time in adding it to my order. I loved The Fault In Our Stars and I was curious to see what he'd come up with next. Not that there was any pressure.
When the book arrived, I fell in love with its accompanying bookmark. "Reading was her great love." Truer words were never spoken. I wanted it as a tattoo.
I wanted to lay in a pile of my favorite books.
That idea took hold of me. BOTM was hosting a contest involving the bookmark. What if I surrounded myself with favorite books while holding the bookmark and Turtles All The Way Down?
The tricky part was figuring out how many books I'd need and then which ones, as complicated by the fact that most of my books have been in storage for over two years. I'd recently purchased used copies of A Prayer For Owen Meany and The House Of Belonging because I just plain needed them but otherwise, I only had access to what I'd read in the past year. (I took another box or two of books to storage before I moved away from San Francisco.) You'll recognize a few of these from my Favorite Fiction of 2016 list and, spoiler alert, some of these will be on my forthcoming favorite lists for 2017.
The chosen books:
A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving
The Winter Sea- Susanna Kearsley
My Glory Was I Had Such Friends- Amy Silverstein
Under Her Skin- Adriana Anders
The Almost Sisters- Joshilyn Jackson
It Ends With Us- Colleen Hoover
Truth Or Beard- Penny Reid
All The Ugly And Wonderful Things- Bryn Greenwood
The House Of Belonging- David Whyte
The Garden Of Small Beginnings- Abbi Waxman
The Animators- Kayla Rae Whitaker
The Comfort Food Diaries- Emily Nunn
180 Seconds- Jessica Park
In The Woods- Tana French
*All The Ugly And Wonderful Things and The Animators were BOTM selections. They have introduced me to such great books! If you're already a member, you can often add past selections to your order. I've been known to do this a time or two.
I laid the chosen books out on my bedroom floor to get an idea of how many books I might need for this photo shoot. Then I asked my roommate to take pictures before she went to work.
The lighting inside the house isn't that great so the pictures were taken in the front yard. We hadn't raked the leaves yet, which was an even more perfect backdrop.
I laid the books out again, estimating how much space my body needed. I also tried to add depth by placing a few books on top of others. Then I laid down.
My roommate took a couple of photos and then I checked the layout, moving the books by my arms further out so you could see more of the covers.
Once that was taken care of, my roommate took a few more. After looking at those, I decided to change the way I was holding the book and bookmark.
Now she's about as short as I am and we probably should have dragged a chair outside so she could stand on top of that to take the pictures. But we were on limited time and amateur photography can lead to brilliant ideas. She decided to take the pictures standing by my head.
And wouldn't you know, I loved this upside down angle best of all? It's more flattering, too. I flipped the picture around at first but decided I liked it better just as she'd taken it.
I ran it through my Pic Tap Go app to brighten it up. Then it was ready for Instagram!
I love it! This is probably my favorite picture of myself. It is Peak Leigh.
If I were to do it again, I'd probably add a few more books on the side but overall, this #bookstagram really captures me and the message of the bookmark.
It would be fun to take this kind of picture every few years and see how my favorites evolve and change.
What books would you choose for a photo like this?
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