• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor


I get a lot of questions about what I read, what resources I find "useful," how much research I do, etc., etc. And when interviewers come to talk to me at home, they always want to see my office, and frequently spend half an hour or more browsing my bookshelves in fascination. So I thought y’all might want to have a peek, too.

(One question I often get is about how I organize my material. It is to larf, as John Lennon so eloquently put it. I have two—no, three—ways of organizing research material. The books live in bookshelves. Loose papers, maps, reprinted emails, etc. go into one of three zippered… things. (I can’t really describe them; they’re about the size of small briefcases, but made of nylon fabric, mesh on one side, and they zip on three sides.) The red one holds all the printed miscellanea for the contemporary mystery that I’ll eventually get round to finishing, the black one has stuff about the Lord John stories’ background—maps of London, a guide to the geology of Jamaica, that sort of thing—and the blue one has Stuff that might at some point be useful to the Big Book— MOBY, at the moment— under construction. Interesting websites and material people email me ends up either as a site bookmark or in a catch-all folder/directory called "JRESRCH.") And, um… that’s about it, really.

I do group books among and within bookshelves, though. This is a small office, so there are only two sets of shelves up here: the huge, built-in set of four bays that my husband got me for an anniversary present in 1993 or so, and a much smaller one that got added during a renovation a couple of years ago. Downstairs, in the lower office, two walls are lined with built-in shelves, but a lot of those books are the family "core" library—classics and series that anybody might want to read anytime. (It has got my collection of ghost stories, the field guides, and the natural history references, too, though.)

Anyway, it’s the big bookshelf in my upper office that mostly fascinates people, so I thought I’d show you that, for starters. Above is the overview, guarded by Otis (my son’s pug, who visits often and likes that chair).

And here’s a closeup of the top shelf, upper left:

This is the larger part of my collection of herbals (which continues on to the next shelf). You’ll note that I plainly need a third (and possibly a fourth) shelf for these, but there’s no place to add more up here. I need to weed through these, and move the less-useful references out to one of the tertiary bookcases in one of the (adult, moved-out) kids’ bedrooms.

The books in this class that are/have been most useful are generally the field guides, which tell me where things grow, which plants are native and which are introduced species, which are edible, poisonous, or medicinal. THE PETERSON FIELD GUIDE TO MEDICINAL PLANTS, Eastern/Central region is the main guide to American herbs, while the Hamlyn GUIDE TO MEDICINAL PLANTS OF GREAT BRITAIN is… well, the British equivalent. Both of these books have indices that include diseases and symptoms, with listings for which herbs are or have been used for treatment of same.

Mrs. M. Grieves’ A MODERN HERBAL (published in 1931; the edition I have is an unabridged 1971 Dover reprint) is a much more detailed and more scholarly reference that includes the chemical analyses of many plants’ active principles, as well as historical and cultural notes on usage. The illustrations are not of the quality you’d find in a more modern production, being mostly line-drawings, but still helpful.

Nicholas Culpeper’s CULPEPER’S COMPLETE HERBAL (published in 1647) is the oldest one I have; less directly useful, but still interesting to see just how far back some of the common herbal medicines were known, as well as to see the theoretical/philosophical basis underlying some of the treatments.

And Paul Beyerl’s THE MASTER BOOK OF HERBALISM gives a thumbnail of each of many commonly useful herbs, with preparation and treatment details—but does so from a Magickal point of view, including information like the phases of the moon and how to use certain herbs in conjunction with various gem stones. (You’ll notice that the few gem magic books I have are also mostly in this section.)

As for the inspirational artifacts… <g>

Moving from left to right:

Basket full of letter-openers. In practice, I usually open letters with a steak-knife (or a pair of poultry shears, for particularly intransigent parcels), as I’m generally reading the mail at the kitchen table. Kindly intentioned people often give me letter-openers (and very beautiful hand-made bookmarks, which—alas—I don’t use, either. If reluctantly compelled to stop reading a book, I normally set it face-down, open to the page I abandoned), though, and I also inherited a couple of these from my father, who didn’t use letter-openers, either, preferring a thumbnail, but kept an ornamental one on his desk for show.

Ferocious dinosaur, made by my son, aged about six at the time. (He’s now 28 and a published novelist in his own right. Sam Sykes, esteemed author of THE TOME OF THE UNDERGATES, BLACK HALO, and— coming in September from Pyr Books (US) and Orion (UK)—THE SKYBOUND SEA.)

Sticks. Mind, these are not just any old sticks. They’re twigs from a silver birch tree, growing on the edge of Alamance Creek in North Carolina. I picked them up during a brief research trip, and used them to evoke the whole sense of vegetation, atmosphere, and weather in parts of THE FIERY CROSS.

Replica of an 18th-century ink-well and tray, given to me by a good friend, John L. Myers (also a writer—of gay crime fiction (the novel HOLY FAMILY), as well as daily prayers and contemplations (at www.sacredpauses.com)). The quill in the inkwell is a raven’s wing-feather (the original goose-quill that came with the inkwell is over in the basket with the letter-openers), and the very large feather is—I think; I lose track of which feathers came from where (this is another thing people give me fairly often, but I do actually use them)—from a golden eagle, given to me in 1974 by a friendly zoo-keeper (now deceased) at the San Diego Zoo (I was doing a small research project there); it came from one of the captive birds at the zoo. If that’s not what it is, it’s a turkey feather.

The tray is filled with dried roses. Each of my daughters, at some point in her adolescence, gave me roses. I kept them.

The small ceramics of the housefly, the panda and the chubby baby’s head were gifts made by my sister—the baby was done from a notorious photograph of my son; the one the family refers to as "you know, the one of Sam as Mr. Potato-head…."

The small basket is full of stamps, though I find that I seldom need one anymore, in these days of ubiquitous emails and the Invaluable Susan, the assistant my husband and I share, who hauls anything outgoing over to the mail-place.

The little statue of the young Virgin was given to me in 6th grade, as a classroom prize of some kind. I was a confirmed teacher’s pet through high-school. Not very popular, as one might expect.

The white unfired ceramic is a memorial paw-print, sent to me by the kindly people at the animal hospital after my first beloved dachshund, Gus, died. [Below are the present incumbents, Homer and JJ, who also like the office chair and ottoman. (Photo of pups taken by Loretta, my Webmistress.)]

My husband gave me the Disney Cheshire Cat as a souvenir of a family trip to Disneyland.

And the things over to the right are the sort of little bags that people put small gifts of jewelry, scented oil, or knicks-knacks in. I keep thinking they’re bound to be useful one of these days.

More on this topic: "A Brief Footnote on Tidiness," my blog from July 12, 2012, and "Inspiration and Bookshelves," my blog from September 5, 2015.

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123 Responses »

  1. Lovely tour! More, more! :)

    Technically speaking, one needs a license to possess eagle feathers, and they’re not easy to get. This is not to say that some of us *cough* don’t have an illicit feather or two around somewhere. (Ours belonged to my grandmother, who *did* have a license.)

    I have some raven feathers, courtesy of our neighborhood flock, but boy, those birds don’t shed much.

    • Dear Marte–

      Well, as I say, it may well be a turkey feather. [g] The termites ate a number of my office-feathers during the renovation, when things were stored in boxes out in the garage.

      I don’t know if it’s that ravens don’t shed much, or that they’re too big for house-cats to be killing them (I can get any number of dove feathers, any day…those birds are incredibly dumb; even the dachshunds can catch them).


      • I absolutely love you book shelves! I have a medicine wheel garden and live a small town beside Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. Have you read about the 1812 battle of Cooks Mills? That’s where I was born.
        Right now, I’m reading P&P; Fundaments of Nursing… who am I kidding, the Scottish Prisoner gets my attention and I’ve a test to write tomorrow!

        Innocently, I came home from clinical and found my family surprised me with a brand new padio set & placed it center of all my gardens, The Scottish Prisoner on top beside a home made bday card with a celtic knot on the front.

        Now I sip my homemade herbal tea and read in bliss. I best go study for that test while you get crack’in on our much awaited novel! Four years of nursing school is brutal! I’ll be done school right when your expecting the next book is expected to be released.

        Thank you so much Diana, for the escape

      • Doves and mourning doves are some of the most useless birds ever created. :)

        We have a small colony of feral cats (glad I’m not superstitious, because all but one of them are black) and either they don’t catch birds or they don’t leave any remains where I can find them. I must say, since the felines moved in, the roof rats have disappeared. I don’t see them running across the neighbors’ roofline every morning like I used to. This is not a complaint.

        My bookshelves look a lot like yours, including the gifties from all over. And like you, I know how to find what I want and see no need to impose some arbitrary system on the contents. DH prefers a far more orderly life and a more linear system, so it’s a good thing that after we remodeled the office, we each got our own bookshelves.

        I started cataloguing the books with ReaderWare and a bar code scanner a couple years ago, with the general idea that if I knew what was in the collection I wouldn’t go buy the same book twice, but I finally gave up. Even though I know that there is no such thing as too many books… there were too many books.

    • I really enjoyed touring your bookshelves. Thanks so much for sharing all the info about everything.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing part of the world of our favorite author!

  3. Oh my, your bookshelf looks like MY bookshelves, and we have almost identical books! I just don’t have the yoga books :)….but trail books to take their place. I even have them “stacked” the same, LOL. Thanks for sharing, Heike.

  4. Love seeing your bookshelves! One of my earliest memories of my Great-Grandma’s house is standing there, staring at her bookshelves which were and still are jam packed full of books and brick a brack. Consqeuently, thats where I found the rest of the Outlander series while i was still in highschool.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I feel much better about the state of my bookcases!
    P.S. I have the same statue of Mary. I got mine in 7th grade ( solemn communion).

  6. I love bookshelves. They’re like magic to me. Diaaana! I want to make art for your wonderful books!

  7. Dear Diana,
    Thank you for sharing ! I have 3 bookcases. 1 entire shelf full of yours ! All the rest are books except 3 shelves of photo albums. And I donated 4 huge boxes to a library in W VA that had been flooded out and over 200 to a local counselor. I keep trying to downsize as my children say I keep too much. But some books I just can’t let go of, they are too dear. Anxiously awaiting the next book. Know that you are very busy. Thank you again.

  8. Thanks for sharing! Especially the dear memorabilia. Precious souvenirs of life. I save all that stuff too.
    I’ve got plans for my daughter’s room when she is officially out of the house – my own library.
    My bookshelves are over-run, books piled 10 high on top of the others. Your books will get a special spot,
    front and center, within easy reach.

  9. I want to be like you when I grow up!

    Do you ever use the herbals for yourself or just for research? I am wondering how reliable they are!

    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing! The baby is a little creepy, but it’s nice when you have those funny pieces that become a running joke in the family. You have kept so many things! Feathers from 1974!? Your friend must feel so special whenever she comes by and sees that you still have it! It’s so nice being able to see where some of your inspirations and research comes from, thank you again for sharing!

  11. Diana, that’s a great collection. It doesn’t *look* very organized, but I bet you can always find what you need, can’t you? If you ever need any help organizationally-speaking, do call on me. I’d travel… for you!

  12. I also thank you for sharing so much of your life and talent!

  13. Holy….wow! I’m no stalker or anything, but I started reading you *mumbles* years ago, and let’s just say your son was not sporting a beard at the time. How time flies. I will go and check out his books!
    I remember meeting your daughter when you were in San Diego for a Games. You’d co-authored a story in an antho and I gave it to my Mom. What a nice young lady she was.
    How funny is it that I (seriously) JUST had my hands on my signed copies of Cross Stitch and Outlander from 97 this morning as I moved things around on MY bookshelf!

    Thanks for the look-see, Diana. Hope your summer is beautiful so far.

    Heather Bennett

  14. Love it!

    I am so glad to see that my favorite author also has much more than books on her bookshelf. :-) My bookshelves are also “cluttered” with sentimental things, and other things I am not sure where to put and that may be useful so I hang onto them.

    Thank you so much for the tour! I am looking forward to more! :-)

  15. One of the most fascinating elements of your books is the medicinal plant knowledge you exhibit. It’s wonderful you have given me a glimpse of some of the books you used as references. As someone who is interested in this particular field, I look forward to looking for potential copies. Is there any one in particular you recommend? Thx for the glimpse into your world :)

    • Dear Hope–

      If you read the text of the blog-post [g], you’ll see that I did indeed mention a few specific herbals that I’ve found most helpful.


  16. Loved the tour! Thanks for sharing a part of your life.
    I bought my first Outlander book – “Crossstitch” at Culloden. I’ve been hooked ever since.
    I’m one of those people who reads every single word, never skips. I’m currently in “Voyager”, so you can take your time on future releases. I’ve purchased the others and they are lined up on my shelf – just waiting for me to get to them.

  17. I loved the tour. I look forward to seeing part two (and possibly three or more). Your bookshelves look a lot like mine. I have a fifteen foot long wall with floor to ceiling shelves that are positively overflowing. I just can’t bring myself to wittle any of it down. :)

  18. Dear Diana,

    Lovely to see that your bookcase actually bears a striking resemblance to mine, in that as well as books it contains all sorts of interesting articles, mementos, souvenirs and Important Things which my husband dismisses as Clutter, Rubbish and General Untidiness. He thinks a bookcase should contain nothing but tidy, serried ranks of books, sorted by size.

    Men- what do they know? A ‘tidy’ bookcase shows a person with

    a. no soul and
    b. too much time on their hands.

    Love all your books and waiting eagerly and impatiently for MOBY and whatever else comes dripping off your pen. I’m especially looking forward to learning more of Raymond.

    Yours in awe and admiration, from all the way over the pond,


    • Faye:
      I agree with some of your thoughts. I have to say that my husband, who is a avid reader, has the following in our house –

      A library upstairs with a wall of books and CD’s all in orderly fashion
      A room in the basement with books that are also in orderly fashion
      And in the family room there is a bookshelf that contains only reference materials.

      In defense of my husband, he is really very creative and while amassing all of his books, he really didn’t have much time on his hand. Now he’s retired

      Over the last few years we have gone through many of the books and donated most to our local library.

      My own bookcase, very small, in our bedroom has no rhyme or reason to it. I just put the books there when done. I know where everything is, though.

      Have been reading DG’s excerpts on face book. At least it’s keeping me sated until the next book comes out. I can hardly wait.

    • Faye, is that along the same lines as ‘a clean desk is a sign of a sick mind’? Someone gave me a desk plaque with that on it (my desk was always notoriously cluttered).

  19. Loved the guided tour! It’s always a joy to peruse someone else’s bookshelf, let alone a favorite author’s! I noticed the asthma-related books and thought of Hal. It’s so sweet that you kept roses from your daughters. And, yes, I also always think little bags will be useful some day.

  20. Wow…thank you for this glimpse into your inner sanctum! That is the bookshelf of my dreams…

  21. Thank you Diana,
    It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of your private life! Your book shelves look so very interesting! I love your Outlander series and push them onto anyone I can. Thanks for the daily lines and blogs, I look forward to them all!

  22. Enjoyed the tour… and history behind your keepsakes. Thank you ma’am, we’ll be ready for more whenever you are. :) Happy Week to you!

  23. Hi Diana – I really enjoyed the tour thru your bookshelves, and I especially liked getting a glimpse at some of your research materials. Thank you for sharing some of yourself with us.

  24. Oh I don’t feel so bad as your shelves look very similar to mine. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I love browsing someone’s bookshelf…you can tell so much about them. But to see yours is a real treat!! Thank you so much for sharing! Oh, and I love seeing and reading about all the knick-knacks & what-nots too!!

  26. Oh yeah…LOVE the dog, too!

  27. Reading your books I can close myself off from the troubles of the day and loose myself in them.

    Thank you so much for sharing that little bit of yourself. I have always thought that bookselves are a little like a persons fingerprint. No two are a like. At a glance they may look similer, but a second and closer look you can almost tell that persons life story.

  28. You can never have enough book shelves. Of course we don’t have too many books.

    • Judy,
      I can’t agree more!! In my dream home (if it ever gets built) I will have walls that are only bookcases! In every room! I know I have enough books to fill them!
      Not to mention that I usually have shelves in extreme likeness to Mrs. Gabaldon’s! If you can’t put mementos and nick-knacks on your book cases, it’s just no fun.

  29. Interesting case. I have several still, though I have downsized by hundreds, maybe even a thousand books. I love reading a true book but find my kindle takes much less space and helps me to read faster. I also keep dozens of momentos on my shelves knowing that I may never use them but enjoy knowing they are there. Now I am trying to get down to the signed books and only have one book shelf. However, since A McCaffrey died, I cannot part with any of her books and I am still missing several. There are also those that are not yet in electronic form that I must keep because they have shaped my life. Thank you for sharing a part of your world with us. I like knowing that people we elevate to a higher level than ourselves are really so much like us.

  30. I *adore!* your bookshelves. They look like mine. I have shelving units in nearly every room stacked double and triple. I don’t get rid of nothin’!

    I’m interested in your answer to Val’s question, too. Do you use any of the herbals about which you’ve learned/written? If so, how effective are they? Perhaps one day you can write a book about that, too.

    In any case, thank you for sharing with us.

    Also, I’m proud to say I got a former nonreader hooked on your books. She’s totally addicted to them, as are several other friends.

    Thank you ever so much! You have a real gift for story-telling.

  31. Love it! I recognize some of the those titles. That is fun. :-) Thanks for sharing. There are a few there that I need to add to my collection too.

  32. Thanks so much for the tour. I’m looking forward to the rest of it, as I’ve always felt a person’s bookshelves tell a lot about them. Really no big surprises here for your fans but it’s nice to see the personal items and read the stories associated with them.
    You mentioned all your children, and I’d like to share an odd coincidence: my three grandchildren are Olivia Rose, Juliette (French spelling, but close enough) Hannah and Samuel Agostino. I noticed the confluence with your children’s names on a rereading of Voyager a couple of years ago. They were all born before I got my daughters hooked on your books, so you don’t get credit for the names (they’re all named, as per Jewish tradition, for deceased family members), but what are the odds?
    Looking forward to MOBY, and LOVE those Master Raymond snippets!

  33. That was cool. I love how you just took the pictures just as they are and you didn’t tidy up and organize for pictures. Funny the little mementos we keep over the years isn’t it. I’m 43 and my grandma still has the angel I made her when I was in grade 2. LOL

    Thanks for sharing the bits of your private life. You are very generous to your fans.


  34. It seems as if it is the library of Claire!

    • Dear Debbie–

      Well, _that_ shelf is. I’ll show you Black Jack Randall’s section, later on…


      • Oh my! Can’t wait to see _that_ shelf.

        Thank you for a glimpse at where the magic happens! (Assuming you write in the upstairs office.)

        _My_ bookshelves look similar, except I have two shelves devoted entirely to some author named Diana Gabaldon. Maybe you’ve heard of her?


        • Oh – wait! I see you _have_ heard of her. I recognize many of her books on yet-to-be-explored shelves. It must be neat to see all the different covers in different languages. Do you keep hard copies of each one?

  35. Hhmmmmm… it looks like a “controlled mess”-as my boss says-, as long as you know where everything is :), at least Otis seems to be in “order”.
    On the other hand I read the “Daily Line”/Master Raymond you tweeted today and I have to tell you that the way you begin your books is most engrossing, from the very first line.

  36. Thanks for the personal peek into your life.

    My mother and I were estranged for many of my adult years. Once we reconciled, she came over and was perusing my bookshelves. She saw my copies of the Outlander books and got so excited. They’re her favorite books too. (Funny to see how much we were alike, despite our painful differences.) We immediately reconnected, talking for hours on end about all of *our* characters. That was 10 yrs ago.. and now I also have a 7 mo. grand-daughter named Claire.

    Thanks for the threads that have helped tie our generations back together.

  37. TFS, Diana! I enjoyed the tour.

    • Love. Your. Bookshelves. And the artefacts and dogs as well! I have hundreds of books in my apartment, my garage and my shop’s office. On top of tables, under chairs and the bed. Books are an excellent clue to people. I get either one of two responses upon seeing my books:

      “Oh my Gawd! Have you actually, um, READ all of them?” (Well, yes. Most of them. The front door’s this way. Bye.)

      “Hey, cool! I’ve read this and that book – what’s this one like, would you recommend it?” (If you’re a single man, that gets you to second base in the blink of an eye. Anyone else, we become fast friends.)

      Can’t wait to see the rest of the tour! And I love the old herbals, have them, too.

  38. Having given away some 25,000 books, I felt lighter. Did it bother me at all? Yes! But not enough to regret moving them on and because some were rare editions, was able to enjoy an income tax benefit which was much needed at the time.

    Do I miss some of them? Some of them, yes. I have a small collection of favorite novels, but I don’t know why because I’ll never read them again. I’d l ist them – well, you do know I’ve read you first four novels four times – and I’ll probably read the others again. I like character driven novels, but you’ve gone beyond that and I’ve loved every bit of your books (never mind the problems with The Fiery Cross where you should have dug in and refused, etc. ).

  39. What a wonderful blog post! With an intense “sense of urgency” otherwise know as “impatience” but probably undiagnosed hyperactivity – I rarely read closely. But this post was so fun! Enjoyed every word. Intimate really!!! Thanks a lot. Laurie

  40. Thank you for the wonderful tour of your bookshelf! I have to say I am fascinated by the fact that you have sticks from alamance creek, I live near the village of alamance and have fished alamance creek many times. Do you recall what part you visited? Its a shame I didn’t know you were in town, I would have loved to have met you! Thanks for sharing! :)

  41. Thanks for the peek at your bookshelves…fascinating!. The bric-a-brac that we keep speaks about the things that we deem important, things that wouldn’t mean much to anyone else. I have interesting rocks and molluscs shells and bird feathers my son would find and bring to me boy on my bookshelves.
    My books are an eclectic collection of fiction and non-fiction, just whatever strikes my fancy, I find that switching back and forth from genre to genre keeps reading fresh and interesting.

  42. Please tell me about your dog(s)! I glanced at the picture and thought…”Come back later when I have time to read/look for a little bit more time.” Then I backtracked when my brain registered the pug on top of the couch! We just recently adopted our second little pug from a shelter and they are the most friendly little dogs!

  43. Such fun! Very gracious of you to give such an intimate tour of a very personal place. Thanks for every word you write!

  44. Your bookshelves look a lot like mine. I have books on many subjects mostly because I am interested in them. I read lots, mostly mysteries, but have other genre in case I get tired of reading those. I have not read any of your books lately, but have been a big fan in the past. I have geology books because I took geology courses recently and they gave me more of an understanding to what I was studying at the time. I am 61, and back in school again. I have never stopped learning and now my learning is toward another degree in Criminal Justice-Human/Animal Resources. I have 3 cats, Bubba-Louie aged 7, Tigger aged 5 and Shadow aged 1-1/2. Tigger is spayed, Bubba-Louie is neutered and Shadow is neither, she goes into heat on occasion, but other than being annoying for a week doesn’t want to step foot out of the house. We found her outside in November of 2010, and she is perfectly satisfied being an indoor kitty. I started writing a novella, but have yet to finish it. I doubt that it would be read much, but one never knows and until I can get it finished and published, I will keep wondering if there is any way for me to complete it an still get my other school work done online – the only way to go as expensive as gas is and without transportation.

    Thank you for your tour of your bookshelves. I have similar items on mine as well. It’s always good to keep those things that your child did even when they did it all those many years ago. My daughter is 24 and I have a 1 year old grandson as well as 2 instant grandsons. They are the sweetest and most polite little men I’ve been around. Good luck with your books and I look forward to reading more about your bookshelves and what exists on them.

  45. What a wonderful tour! Makes me feel much better about my “packed to the brim” bookshelves and the fact that many other surfaces in the house have turned into bookshelves as well! If I wouldn’t have gotten my Kindle a few months ago I’m not sure what I would have done!

    Thanks for the tour!

  46. LOVE THIS!
    THANKS! My shelves look much the same although my Gabaldon Books are taking up large space!:)
    Which is just fine with me.

  47. What a great look see! I noticed your asthma books *g* I had NAET treatments back in March…….. really helped!


  48. I love books. We have a ridiculous amount at my house too. Theres seven bookshelves jam packed, plus I have a lot I have on a handy shelf at work. I cant imagine how many books I have but I am happy that my kids love them like I do, unlike their father who proudly states he hasn’t read a book since he was at school! I’m always stressing about where I am going to put them. When the local primary school opened near here I donated 300 children’s books as the house was overflowing. I have always looked with longing at those gorgeous library rooms people seem to have on tv with floor to ceiling shelves. I do have a special shelf with all my first editions which no one is allowed to touch!!! By the way I love that Culpeppers book is ‘profusely illustrated’! Looking forward to finding a space for MOBY :)

  49. My house is a library. Or so my mom calls it(: But my own books I usually classify alphabetically; Except for my three favorite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Ted Dekker, and Helen Dunmore. For these, I have shelves or _”Shrines”_ as I call them, to display my paper-back children(:

  50. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been addicted to reading for the past 49 years. I’ve experienced so much in books, but I have to say your stories are the best I’ve ever read! Thank you for taking me places that I couldn’t go without you!

  51. OMG ~ that is GAWDAWFUL! Don’t get me wrong ~ I LOVE it! And it totally ‘figures’. It’s just that I don’t know how you can _find_ anything in that mess! I mean, horizontally-stacked books sitting _on top_ of vertically-aligned books??? And everything obstructed and cluttered with geegaws and brick-a-brack?! I’m nearly beside myself with horror ~ kind of the way I’ve often felt reading my favorite series of all time! Come to think of it, I believe your bookcase makes for a rather apt metaphor of your writing style ~ MOST illuminating, Mrs. G. Thank you soooo much for the share ~ and the insight!

  52. Reminds me how much I have longed for a roomful of books. Alas my little home lacks the space. A girl can dream.

    Thanks Diana for sharing.

  53. Thank you for ‘part one’ trip through your wonderful shelves. It seems many of us love the written word on a page…we are in good company!

  54. Hi Diana,
    Too funny, my book shelves look the same. I have an ancient copy of Culpeppers that I found at an antique sale in southern Alberta. Published by W. Nicholson and Sons London, old enough it was when they didn’t put in the date of printing. I have feathers everywhere too, if you are ever in need of a Swainson’s Hawk feather or magpie feathers just shout. I have 2 resident hawks that come back each year and kindly drop feathers in the grass for me. And the magpies, well they’re magpies and leave stuff everywhere. My office looks messy but I know where everything is. :~)

    Thanks for sharing
    Nancy Bell

  55. Thanks Diana, I’ve enjoyed your tour and look forward to the rest.

  56. I’m curious as to where you stash your Lord John research. I’m thinking of the information given to you by your fellow parishioner and the various gifted porn I’ve read you mention. Does it have its own shelf as well? That would be a spot to linger on during a browse of your bookshelves for interviewers I’m sure. Sorry, I had to ask…

  57. I laughed when I saw the picture of Otis because my son also has an “Otis the pug” that sits on top of the couch. And, now that I think about it, my book shelves look a bit like yours too :o)

  58. As a librarian’s daughter I kept my fiction alphabetised and my non-fiction categorized. That was until I had no room anymore. Now my library is somewhat organised and somewhat a mess. Similar to yours. So you are a kindred spirit, which I always suspected:)

  59. The book collection is wonderful. The variety of herbals is stunning. No wonder your books are so accurate.

  60. What a great shot of your bookshelves! I don’t feel so bad about mine now. Except yours don’t have any dust! How do you do that? I especially like the endearing photo of your son Sam. And the dogs are adorable. Such sweet faces!

    • Dear Maverick–

      Compressed air. [g] I clean my office every Sunday afternoon, and blast all the shelves as I go.


      • Aha! Very clever. I am sharing this with all my pals.
        Incredible that you can post a photo of your bookshelves and get pages and pages of responses. Even more incredible that you respond! This is why you are a much-loved author.

  61. Nice shell. Looks like a Pacific deer cowrie (Cyprea vitelus). I’ve never seen a ceramic fly (blue bottle?). Your feather loss was probably caused by dermestids. They are more likely to munch keratin than termites, whose preference is cellulose. I found larval exuviae in some stored duck feathers that had been mostly reduced to dust.

    • Dear Belinda–

      Ah, right you are–about the dermestids, I mean. Did lose a box of journals to the termites, though.


      • C. arabica? I’m a mediocre malacologist. Too bad your thoughts were digested by an unappreciative audience.

  62. l see that all our bookshelves are familiar. Books plus stuff we like. I have pine branch with mini cones from the Oregon Trail Stage coach tracks. silly me. My new home will soon be under construction with the main room being the kitchen and then the library. Our Air Force days will be done (house #36 for me) and I can’t wait to unpack the 250 plus boxes of treasured books we have collected over the years and journey’s.
    Sad note, the cat I rescued in the Philippines and named Adso, died last week. I am devestated as he was my friend and pal and my husband’s two. I still have two dogs three horses and six more cats but Adso was the best and there is a huge hole in our hearts and inbetween us in bed where he slept. RIP my dearest Adso.
    xoxoox aim

  63. Looks exactly as I’d imagine a modern version of the Reverend Wakefield’s bookshelves probably looked! :)

  64. Thank you for a look into your bookshelves. They look a lot like mine did before I lost them all to a house fire in 2008. I have started rebuilding my collection and look forward to adding some of the titles to my new collection. In my house instead of the cute little dog it would be a great big gray tom cat named Oops or a little white cat named Buddha.

  65. I love it! I have always maintained that smart people have a lot of books on a variety of topics.

    The pug is thinking, “Does she REALLY need this many books?”

  66. Adding my thanks to all the others for the peek into your personal world.
    Having spent ages 11-almost 16 living next door ( in Burlington) to the Alamance Battleground and there during the bicentennial of the battle it was fun to see your sticks from the Alamance River on your shelves. I visit there once a year or so and I might just have to go find my own sticks and visit the battleground park once more on my next visit.

  67. it truly takes a great deal of courage for you to show us your private bookshelves. Everyone has their own bookshelves, whether they be organized or cluttered – it does not matter but only matters to those who own them. Of course, I was often insulted about my clutters but who cares? they belong to me only. At one time, a friend of mine who noted my work desk all messy with stuff – telling me to clean or trash them out; that all the clutter is not good for my mind or mentally, whatever and that once I cleaned them out, I will have a “relaxed” mind. I was aghast and told my friend, if my desk were all cleaned out and not so cluttered, my mind would be like a “blank” – so, no thanks! I’d rather have things or books that mean something to me; to keep my mind more imaginative and to have my memories alive by them that are still there. Every one’s own bookshelves are priceless treasures! Way to go, Diana, you’re brave to show us yours!

  68. I had to go and buy a new bookshelf to handle all my multiple copies of “Diana” books! I collect them from all sorts of places and give them to my friends so they too will become addicted !!

  69. Fantastic reading!! As much as I loved seeing the books, it’s the momentos worthy of self life I loved seeing – my own book shelves look very similar!

  70. We moved to Central America from Texas 4 years ago and have made a couple of trips back to the States each year since. I’ve been bringing books back on each trip. Usually, I take two suitcases, but on the trip to the States, put one bag INSIDE the larger suitcase so I only have to check one piece of luggage on the first part of the trip, then check TWO bags for the return trip, the second full of books.

    However, on our most recent trip because the book shelves here are pretty well crammed full, this time I did NOT return with the smaller bag FULL – repeat FULL!!! – of books, for a change. My husband could hardly believe it!

    Bric-a-brac, mementos, souvenirs, and other non-”useful” items fill in any of the very few gaps in the overloaded shelves.

    Is there a 12-step group for reading addicts?

  71. Hello Diana:

    Just looking at your bookshelves reminds me of my mother’s: bits of this here; baskets of trinkets there; and always with a meaning behind it.

    Unfortunately, my mother passed away very recently and my sister and I were the volun-told persons that got to clean-up much of those enormous book shelves (there was an entire wall with a built-in unit that stretched about 15 feet long by 7 feet high). There was an entire shelf dedicated to your works which are now in my own collection giving me doubles of everything. The remainder of her collection was donated on her behalf to her local library.

    Thank you for giving us a glimps of your life.


    • Amber,
      I got very many books from my parent’s collection, to add to my own extensive one, after they passed. It felt as if part of them stayed with me through the favorite books they had owned. The old encyclopedias were particularly fun, as they told me many times to “look something up, if you don’t know about it.”

      • I know exactly what you mean! In my mom’s collection of books there was a set of animal encyclopedias that I remember reading when I was very young. Nice memories that I will forever cherish.

        Thank you for your comment. Although I realize that I am not alone in my grief, it’s nice when someone like you can shed some positive light.


  72. Nice tour and I’m already looking forward to future installments! From the peek at your personal objects, I suspect that like Brianna, you also have a way with objects that marks them as unmistakably *yours*.

  73. Your beautiful boy has a lovely smile, a real ‘photo shop’ of both his handsome parents.

  74. Thanks for sharing your whole life with us….we have enjoyed all of your books so much, and it is a desire of all of us to know how you live…even thou it really is none of our business. Your bookshelves look alot like mine, I always say it is a treasure hunt when you go to mine, you never know what you will find…but it all means something to me. I want to thank you for helping me thru some rough times, and now with bits and pieces of your personal life, I feel like I have another friend. Write on! Live on! Enjoy Life, love, pets, family and being a great person!! We Love ya!!

  75. If you ever need a librarian to add some order to your shelves, I volunteer! There are also wonderful new apps that allow you to catalog your books. Very handy!

  76. Love the bookshelves! I have some very old veterinary books that I like to look through on my shelves. I have to say, a very large part of me would love to straighten all those books out for you but I know there is a m ethos to your madness lol

  77. I have the same healing crystals and gemstone book, I use it quite often. I also see a few similar books on your shelf that parallel a few I have with herbs and healing. I am not sure you use the books for anything other than research but many have quite common sense approaches to better health.
    Thanks for the tour…and I will say my husband’s office looks much like yours…successful people have a very unique way of organizing. ;)

  78. This somehow looks a bit like my shelves. :)

  79. Woman . . . you need to straighten up a bit – your tour makes me itch to orgainize in a civilized manner.

  80. LOVED the Tour! I _used_ to have shelves like that. I have down sized an awful lot. Most of my goodies are boxed away. We moved into this house that had wall length shelves on at least 2 walls of each room :0/. So ONE room is the office ( now my massage therapy office) and I have all my fav books and most current various items stacked up there. When I finish painting that room I will post a picture of it!

    Reflexology! I have been collecting books on that subject and aromatherapy!

    Cant wait until the next installment! Thank you Diana!

  81. Thanks for sharing something so personal. It’s great to hear from you again.

    Does someone in MOBY have Asthma?

  82. Thanks for a glimpse into your world Diana. Loved it!

  83. Wonderful bookshelves! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to the next installment of your bookshelf. The dogs are cute, too — lovely faces!

  84. Hello Diana, Thanks for sharing a little of your personal things ! Love it. Seeing so many books everywhere in our house, my husband made some bookshelves for me in the bedrooms but, still, that’s not enough… Anyway, I’ll find a place for MOBY when the time comes ! Love your son’s dog too. Take care, greetings from Greece !

  85. Thanks so much for the tour of your bookshelves! I feel so much better about mine now . Must try the compressed air to get rid of the dust!!!! It was like taking a step into Claire’s world. Avidly looking forward to the next book(s). Love the dawgies too!

  86. I am very happy to see so many others who fill their bookshelves with things other than books. My books have many companions to keep them company on their shelves. Thank you for the interesting tour of yours.

  87. I’m living vicariously through the pictures of your wonderfully cluttered shelves … one day when my daughter is older I hope to put back some of the knickknacks I’ve been forced to hide (for their own protection :)).

  88. Really enjoyed the tour of your bookcases – do you or someone in your family have asthma? I noticed the book on asthma and yoga and wondered how well that worked…

  89. Compressed air – pure genius! Always knew you were (a genius!)

  90. I love your book shelves!! What a fabulous collection of knowledge, memories, and inspiration!

  91. A comforting insight, Diana. You are a rarity, yet you are one of many. In a Venn Diagram, you would be in the 99% and the 1%!

  92. Fascinating! I must admit that I’m a collector of so many historical non-fiction books … but many of them I haven’t bothered to read – yet. Something about just knowing they’re there, that what I’m seeing actually existed …

    I’d love to see your FICTION bookshelf! See what you’re reading just for fun!

  93. I really enjoyed seeing your bookshelves, and I will be looking forward to seeing more of them and reading about what you have on them.

    I used to be a cluttered book lover but after a four year stint as an inventory processor at Borders (R.I.P.), I have found that I prefer books to at least be in author alphabetical order. As soon as I am able to get a few more bookcases, I know that I will start putting them in region/author order like I like them to be. ^-^

  94. I’m currently dreading the task or reordering my shelves here at the library. I’ve seen all of these books!

    Just looking at your bookshelf makes me want to explore it…like a treasure hunt. :)

    Thank you for sharing.

  95. I loved your tour of your bookshelves but me thinks, you need more shelves. My dream home would have floor to ceiling bookshelves with an attached ladder that moves the whole lenght of them as I am vertically challenged too. Bookshelves are full of wonderful memories and lovely friends (books). I have 7 of my own (for some reason I can’t get rid of any books – so I just keep buying more shelves) but right now I am cleaning out my Mum’s bookshelves after her death. It is a horrific job. What do you do with the books? First I am making a spreadsheet of the titles so that I can send them to family members and friends to see if they want any of them. The religious books are going to our Church library (our Mum taught catechism for 28 years). Many of her medical books (Mum was an R.N.) are old and outdated, so what do we do with those? Second hand bookstores only want certain authors and genres. So my question is … what do we do with what is left? Anyone have any ideas?

  96. Ah, the subject of bookshelves. I have collections of bookshelves all over this house. It’s a rare room without a book shelve. because of all these book collections, I was once very careful about keeping all the books separated by writing style and Author name. Then horror struck, My husband chose to stay home while I attended a conference. He decided to paint interior rooms and suprize me. We had already selected colors, just not picked up the cans yet.
    In order to paint the roomsm he says he needed to remove my carefully organized shelves. no longer are the bookshelves in any type of order what so ever. Now, I can proudly say, I use the Dianna Gabaldon book cataloging system!

  97. heh heh – bookshelf porn :-) Neat – I liked the tour. We need more shelves in our place, I’ve had to severely prune our collection. My dream would be to have a proper library which, even though I am a librarian, would not be organised by any standard classification but rather by my own usage patterns and serendipity! :-)

  98. I’m of the opionion that browsing a person’s bookshelves can tell you more about them than going through their medicine cabinet, purse or wallet. Thanks for the tour!

  99. The news is all over the ‘net. Big TV mini-series deal to put Outlander on HBO or similar cable host.


  100. love it … somehow your book shelves validate mine … my kids have been after me to clear out … think I will just say NO LOL … and yes mine are very like yours … thanks for sharing !!!

  101. Thanks Diana for sharing your Bookshelf – which is very private! Made me smile – funny that I always find my books when the shelfs are “growing by themselfes”. As soon as I start Clearing and cleaning and sorting….. nothing is found anymore ;-)))))) Thanks for your tremendous books! Kindest regards from Austria! Helga