Are Shelfies The New Selfies?

At first glance, a shelfie is a generous way to share your library of ideas instead of your silly selfie face. But at worst, shelfies let you promote how unique is your intellect, and at best, how deep is your soul.

Writing Shelfie by Jann Alexander ©2014

Writing Shelfie by Jann Alexander ©2014


Like selfies, shelfies are informative. They show the people we’d like to be, once we get through all those books. And they provide inspiration and ideas to others. They may even offer a glimpse into why you’d want to know someone better, what areas of commonality you have, how to strike up a conversation. Selfies, on the other hand, are more selfish: “Look at me! I am so [insert adverb: clever! gorgeous! blessed! fun-loving! amazing!] Was there ever a dour, unflattering selfie shared by anyone but a tortured literary idol (and probably for affect)?

“Shelfies are a generous way to share ideas and inspiration.”  

I’d like the world to see my self as clever, attractive, curious, intuitive, generous, empathetic, helpful and smart. Hard to say if I can really convey all of that in a thousand selfies. I stand a much better chance of showing it with numerous shelfies.

Of course, the only one I really need to persuade is me. ♣

My Ideal Bookshelf

My Ideal Bookshelf

Shelfie Inspiration

  • Daily Inkling: Caitlin Ziegler creates a color palette from her favorite shelfie
  • My Ideal Bookshelf: An irresistible book featuring illustrated shelfies from notables, like Alice Waters, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, William Wegman, Roseanne Cash and dozens more
  • The Guardian Books Blog: A creative assortment of shelfies contributed by The Guardian’s readers

What’s on your favorite shelf? Share a link to your shelfie below.


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9 replies

  1. Great post – interesting and thoughtful – and I have to agree – could “selfies” be any more selfish and boring? But then again, why does everyone – or almost everyone – think that we have to share every.single.moment.of.our.live.all.of.the.time?! Ridiculous. Life is meant to be lived – experienced and enjoyed – not wandered through searching for “kodak” moments all of the time.

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