In the April 2020 newsletter, I asked readers to share pictures of their book collections. We got some amazing responses and it was really cool seeing everyones book collections.

I wanted to share these on here using an image gallery however I had issues with galleries working probably due to the amount of images there was.

So first of all here is a collage of a few of the pictures:

Finally if you wish to see all the images, I have uploaded them all separately to this page.

In addition to the bookcases, I also received various other e-mails that I thought would be fitting for a miscellaneous mailbag to get some content in here. So here’s some of the other e-mails I received this month:

Carole: I can’t send a picture of my book collection as it covers 7 bookshelves and a few piles. I did discover the Kindle in self-defense (my family was starting to claim they would find me buried under books one day) and have added another seventy plus ebooks to my collection. As an unrepentant bookaholic, I still collect actual books when I can’t resist the urge, but I am very grateful to my Kindle as I can carry an entire bookshelf in my purse with it and, when I am reading a series and the local libraries don’t have the next book, I can download it and get it immediately.

Renni: I Love the “Top 10” charts!

I’m never really sure if I am looking forward to your newsletters or not – – only because I am
so tempted to do nothing but read, to pick up a book you’ve talked about when I’m already in the midst of at least one book.

Reading has been my passion since I got my first library card at age 7.
Since then, I am sure there has never been a time when I’ve not been reading. It is not unusual for me to be attempting to read at least 3 books at a time – listening to one in the car, another by my bed and yet another in the family room. As long as they are different subjects there is no confusion.

And now, I have your newsletter and am frequently finding new authors or perhaps authors I was not previously interested
in, now I am intrigued, you’ve piqued my interest and I have to go back to try again.

I actually have a spreadsheet that I use in order to track the books I have, books I’ve read, books I need to get; I’ve got
over 500 books in my “new” folder on my e-reader and I can’t stop adding to it!!

I thank you for a newsletter I always look forward to, an email with only good things!!

I haven’t emailed you in a long while so I thought it was time. I really enjoy getting and reading your newsletter. I have discovered authors I didn’t know before. I am constantly reading and I thought I would like to tell you who my favorite authors are. Here goes:
1. John Sanford
2. James Patterson
3. Michael Connelly
4. David Baldacci
5. Linwood Barclay
6. Harlan Coben
7. Brian Freeman
8. Allison Brennan
9. Rick Mofina
10. Jeffery Deaver

I can’t stop there so I am including the next 10:
1. Andrew Gross
2. Lee Child
3. Preston & Child
4. P. J. Tracy
5. Stephen Hunter
6. Steven James
7. Karin Slaughter
8. Greg Iles
9. Lisa Scottoline
10. Tess Gerritsen

Among my favorite characters:
Virgil Flowers
Harry Bosch
Lucy Kincaid
Lincoln Rhyme
Lucas Davenport
Michael Bennett
Harriet Blue
Amos Decker
Alex Cross

Eric: When and why did I switch to Kindle? My wife and I moved from the UK to
Spain 14 years ago, and were introduced to an enterprising lady in the
small local expat community. She had realised a long-standing ambition
to build a library of over 6,000 books which the English-speaking expats
could borrow for 1€ each. AShe shut this down about 6 years ago and I
was forced to go online for my reading material. A very good friend was
given a new kindle as a birthday present, and she gave me her old one
which now goes everywhere with me and is keeping me sane during the
lockdown in Spain. Over the years I have built up my own library
(electronic,of course) and enjoy hunting out the books from the series
you recommend.

Marion: My special book shelf contains many of the classics, including authors like Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, Daphne Du Maurier and Betty Smith(A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) and who could ever miss out the wonderful saga of Lord of the Rings by R.R. Tolkien. Added to that list is a recent author by the name of Ann Cleeves who’s Vera and Shetland Series (which have now been televised) give such a gripping read with wonderful unforgettable lead characters. just few of the books I am now reading during this Covid 19 pandemic. Thank Heaven for my special book shelf. Marion

Sherryl: Hi. This is the 1st time I am writing to you. I look forward to getting your emails and reviews of your many books. I just don’t know how you are able to read soooooo many books!
I used to go to a local library that houses tons of books, hard and soft copies, organized by genre.
Because I am no longer able to go in person I found an online store (Alibris) that sells used books.
I recently ordered 38 books and they have all been shipped. Some of my favorite authors that I ordered are (all men-women are too flowery and wordy for me) Brett Battles, Alex Berenson, Andrew Britton, Marc Cameron, Ben Coes, Jeffrey Deaver-L Rhyme (also watching the TV series—excellent), Matthew Dunn, and Mike Lawson. I am also loyal to Baldacci, Ted Bell, Steve Berry, Grisham, Martini, Meltzer, Silva, and Brad Thor. As you can see I am drawn to espionage and anything that involves a 3 letter agency. Keep up the great work. If you haven’t read any of my authors, take a look….you never know, you might just love them.

Linda: I, too, just got a Kindle and am loving it. I have not been able to get rid of all my hard copy books, but doing it slowly. Right now I am reading “Rise of the Magicks”, the thrid and last in the trilogy. Very good book, but so far #1 was the best titled “One”. So, as to how to be getting rid of my books. Gave some to my library, some to our little library boxes, and some to our bookstore. I know I will never be able to part with all of them as it is just too painful. I can’t take a picture with my phone, so I will just say I have 5 bookcase full, with some also on my china hutch and stacked. In my defense two of those bookcases are very small-lol. I love books and love reading, so it hurts to give them up. During this quarantine, I have been reading more, doing jigsaw puzzles with my granddaughter and watching movies and series on Netflix. Just finished a great PBS series on Amazon prime “The Durrells in Corfu” , based on true life books. Next will have to try the books. Loved the list of series in the last newsletter. I have read some of them, but will have to try others. Hope you are all staying healthy and safe. Enjoy reading. Thank you for the newsletter-the best.H

Pam: Hi –

I agree that we should send emails or letters to authors. I have a 50% return email rate but that’s ok. They’re busy and may need a break from email.

But, I really want to thank you for your site and newsletter. I love to read series books and it’s so hard to figure out the order they were written using even the authors websites. Thank you thank you!

I went back and forth about getting a kindle when they first came out. Then we took a 3 week trip to Bavaria. We could only take a small roller bag but I crammed probably 10 books into it. Of course I ran out but was able to get a couple from others on our tour. Finally we’re in a train station in Munich and they had a bookstore with a couple of shelves of books in English. I bought a few to get me by – wasn’t at all picky! So as soon as we got home I bought a kindle. We went to Europe for a month this past fall and I loaded it up, occasionally downloaded some from my cloud, and even checked out some from my library. Best electronic device ever.

That all being said I still buy some books. I have a rule that when we’re in an independent bookstore we have to buy at least one book. I want them to stay in business. I also feel bad that the authors lose money when we buy ebooks. That’s not fair as the publishers save money by not printing.

So that’s my 2 cents. I love to read and I’m currently reading the Bosch series – think I have about 3 left. I’m also reading a biography of George Washington (by Ron Chernow) on my iPad. The only downside of the kindle is it does a crappy job with pictures and there’s a few in this book.

Thanks again from one bookworm to another!

Tom: Hello Dear Sir…thanks for a thoroughly delightful letter for April. I nominate your 13 year old daughter for Congress since she seems to have more imagination than most of the dead weight in office now.

I could send you a picture of my book collection, but since moving I have little space to display it. If you like looking at boxes or plastic containers filled with books, I could make your day. On suggestion I can make is for you to always carry a backpack filled with books. I even put a few in my glove box in the car for emergencies.

I am reading many e-books right now on my tablet and even on my laptop. I don’t own a smartphone and the day I think a smartphone would be smarter than me is the day I surrender my self to the forces of marketing.

I have thanked a few authors over the years a they all replied back. That’s certainly a decent idea. While I don’t expect to run out of books to read, if I run out of TP, I figure I’ll have to stop eating…problem solved.

Lajeanne: I’m a longtime fan of the Amelia Peabody series of books set in late 19th century-early 20th century Egypt, written by Elizabeth Peters.

Her characters have mysteries and adventures which are well written and keep you hooked. They DO need to be read in order, as
the characters grow and change as the series moves along.

Peters was very well situated to write these books. Under her real name, Barbara Mertz, she received a Ph.D in Egyptology . Mertz also wrote
a few non fiction Egyptology books:

Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs (1964; rev. ed. 2007)
Red Land, Black Land (1966; rev. ed. 2008) and

Two Thousand Years in Rome (with Richard Mertz) (1968)

She also wrote stand alone fiction under another name: Barbara Michaels.


I wrote to her while reading the Amelia Peabody series and received back a nice, kind, postcard from her, only a
couple of years before she died at age 95.

She was a good, under appreciated writer and very knowledgeable about ancient Egypt.


Linda: Thanks Graeme for your site.
Thanks for your massive amount of work that you put into entertaining us readers.
When teaching in 7th grade. the students had to read at least one book and write a report on it.
I sprung on them a surprise, gave them back their essays and told them to pick tier fave and write the author.
My favorite was the reply from Isaac Asimov. My student was not a reader. But I hope that amazing letter full of encouragement maybe helped my student.
Guess I’ll take your advice now and write a message myself.

Laurie: (Love Joseph Finder by the way) I wrote to one of my favorites, CATHERINE COULTER, and she wrote back to me. I was thrilled! Emailed her a photo of her TWO SHELVES OF BOOKS IN THE PASSAIC, N.J. Library. SHE WAS THRILLED! I recommend her FBI series! Whoa!

John: Thank you so much for having your book newsletter each month…not to mention your website. I get so much out of both. You mentioned about the libraries being closed before many folks could get them. I am not advertising for them most important…but I usually buy my books from and they have so many titles. I like to keep the books that I read, only get hard covers. My library consist of six bookcases full of books. I have loved books from way back, I even kept any school books that I was given. So my collection is various in subjects from cookbooks, from the 1920’s and up, to fishing guides and…well this is where I could go on and on. My main interest is spy and then books like Reacher. At the moment I have around 25 books that I haven’t read, I buy them by the dozens. Only problem with that is running out of authors or waiting for their next book. Well I have rambled on enough, again thank you for all you do.

By the way, since your daughter had so much fun with you it’s your turn. One Christmas my parents decided to have a little fun watching me finding a present. They had index cards with clues on them to find the next card and get closer to finding my gift. It was a black and white tv…yes dating myself. How many cards you decide and how to give the clues, your choice. And she will remember so as to do it to her children…I did it to my daughter.

Joanna: I’m blessed to have a 15’x16′ room filled with books…I mean all four walls…plus some cabinets under the two windows overflowing with the ones I haven’t read yet…

Several years ago I started to sell (for 50 cents or a dollar) “extra books and CDs” on our church patio between Sunday services to raise money for our excellent music ministry…my husband, who has to haul boxes of books around for me, says I should sell all 1500+, but I’m sure I couldn’t sleep in a room without books…

When I was very young, before I went to school, we lived in a New York City housing project…the best part of that was the branch of the Bronx Public Library in the basement of our 14-story building…the librarian there was delighted to find a child interested in whatever she offered, and my over-protective mother allowed me to take the elevator to the library because she could call when she wanted me back…turned out I’d read and read and read until I learned, in a vague sense, all the mythology she offered…Greek and Roman and European…to the extent that I always thought I knew everything…needless to say I didn’t, but that idea was the only treasure I had until I got to college…

I don’t consider myself well- or widely-read…early on I was enthralled by Margaret Irwin’s “Young Bess” and have been addicted to historical fiction ever since…you know as well as I do the quality of that varies from stuffy to trash…I keep reading…

Again I thank you for your presence in what is otherwise a barren Internet…I’m 75 and will never be a “techie”…

Patti: Hey Graeme, I tried what you said, and I sent a message to Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network. Within a half an hour, I got a response! I couldn’t believe it! She was incredibly genuine, and obviously very pleased that I enjoyed the book. Thanks for making the suggestion. I will start doing that. And along those lines, since many of your readers are of a thanks for making the suggestion. I will start doing that. And along those lines, since many of your readers are of a ”certain” generation, you might want to give them some suggestions as to how to get in touch with an author (Facebook, Twitter, etc).

Thanks, And as always, keep up the good work!

Jeanette: Thank you for this newsletter month after month. I laughed out loud when I read your suggestion that we take a photo of our books. The only good thing about the library being closed is that I am reading my own books. My goal is to have only as many books as I have bookshelves. I have a long way to go on that, and we have seven bookshelves…
Stay well, and good luck with your 13 year old!

Carmel: Hi Graeme. I have not even tried to change from real books. Am happy to buy new or used books if they are something I really want. Here in Australia we have a great on-line used books seller, linked to a charity. Many of their “used” books are barely such….many appear to be new! I cannot send you a photo of my book collection as it consists of 4 bookshelves, all in different areas in my retirement village villa. In addition to my often re-read books I have access to a mini library here in the village. Going back to series, I re-read once a year the entire “Brother Cadfael” set by Ellis Peters, and the “Falco” series by Lindsey Davis. Two or three times I have written to authors and each time received a reply. As an ardent reader for the last 70+ years, and now in isolation because the Barossa Valley is a cluster of CoVid19, I find it hard to get any work done, as once I start reading time is immaterial. Many thanks for your emails. Keep healthy and keep up the good work

Karole: Hi Graeme,
This has been a most unusual month for my reading. Usually I bury myself in books, knitting,& embroidery when the world is in a tailspin. I am in a tailspin with reading. I`m almost through with the original Vince Flynn books. Reading the reviews of the other author, I`m not sure I want to continue with Mitch Rapp. I have been binge watching Bosch on Amazon . I`ve read all the Michael Connolly books and I`m enjoying this series. I`ve ordered some Ann Cleeves, Will Thomas, & Charles Todd. all very different from Vince Flynn. I`ve also ordered The Ghost Map, the story of London`s most terrible Epidemic by Steve Johnson. So any suggestions when hiding in books just isn`t happening?

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Share Your Book Collections

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