Skip to main content

Bookshelves reflect who we are. Here’s a peek at three Canadians’ shelves

We asked three Canadian illustrators to draw their own bookcases and tell us a little bit about why their shelves reflect them.

Readers: Tell us about your own bookshelves: Do you organize them by genre, title or author? How does your bookshelf reflect your life? Email:

Open this photo in gallery:

Illustration by Julie Delporte

Reading is one of my favourite things to do in life, but it does not happen easily — sometimes I do have a lot of trouble focusing. The best way to keep my attention is to read in the bath or with a beloved dog close by. I started to compulsively read graphic novels in my twenties, when they were the only books my brain was able to decipher. In my home, kids’ books, art books, queer essays or classic literature are often mixed up on the same shelves.

– Julie Delporte

Open this photo in gallery:

Illustration by Seth

My bookshelves are a deep mix of art books, novels, graphic novels and children’s books, arranged in thematic clumps (clumps that make sense to me). Some painters over here and some great authors over there. This drawing gives a little sampling. A mere taste. A few favourite authors are tucked away here but in real life you’d find whole sections devoted to them. Especially Anita Brookner (my favourite author over the last decade); you’d find an entire shelf just for her. Oh, and lots of bound comic books, too.

– Seth

Open this photo in gallery:

Illustration by Graham Roumieu

Roumieu’s bookshelf annotations appear in the image above.

– Graham Roumieu

ESSAY: A life surrounded by books is the only way to live

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe