A few years ago I saw a picture online of a ‘tree’ assembled with books. I was intrigued by it and shortly thereafter I came across one in my local library. Soon they were popping everywhere- at libraries, bookstores and schools. I thought it would be cool to try this out myself as my house is literally toppling over with books. In fact I inaugurated this blog with a post on my book tree in 2014. You can check out the post for detailed instructions on assembling the tree: https://literarygitane.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/a-bookworms-christmas-tree/ Now it has become a holiday tradition of sorts and I look forward every year to get creative with ideas and themes to assemble the tree.
Now this is not a project for the faint of heart! It looks deceptively simple to assemble but it took me the better part of the day after I had dismantled it a few times and hurt myself with a few hardbacks! But it’s definitely worth the time and effort and the occasional bruise or two as what can compare to the joy of seeing all your favorite tomes brought together as a whole instead of lying neglected in the dusty and cobweb infested corner of a bookshelf!
The tree reflects the eclectic reading interests of my family and includes all genres for all age groups. The books on literature, history, art history and culture belong to me. Books on science fiction, quantum physics, politics, photography and astronomy grace the tree thanks to my husband’s hobbies and passions. My elder daughter has trimmed the tree with books on historical fiction and biographies. My younger daughter’s dystopian science fiction and mystery novels have made their way on the tree. Sometimes our interests overlap and we claim ownership to the same books. For the sake of nostalgia, I also added a few books that my girls read during their childhood like the Ramona and The Little House on the Prairie series. I also placed a few of my childhood favorites- Little Women, What Katy Did and Nancy Drew books among others. I can proudly call it a multilingual tree representing the languages spoken by us at home or learned at school. Most of the books are in English but there are books in French, Spanish, Hindi, German and Sanskrit that adorn the tree.
For decorations I added a string of lights and tucked a few bookmarks and my library card between the books as ‘ornaments’. I also placed a few dolls representing characters from books like Anne from Anne of Green Gables with her schoolbooks and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. For the tree topper, I put decorative bookends and a Jo March Doll for doesn’t that girl love reading and writing! I also wanted to honor Jo in anticipation of the film “Little Women” scheduled to be released on Christmas Day.
I have so many books at home that I forget what I own and often end up buying the same book. While assembling the tree I was quite surprised to find four copies of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Now I don’t think I would have bought them all. The hubby or the children must have bought a copy and it is possible that I received one as a gift. The fourth one still remains a mystery. I sometimes check out a book from the library not realizing that I own it already. So assembling a tree is a great activity not only for displaying the books beautifully but for giving me a chance to get reacquainted with my favorite books- much like meeting a long lost friend and going down memory lane together.
There is a sentimental story attached to many of the books- cherished gifts from near and dear ones, a memory of someone who has passed away, books read during different stages and milestones of my life, books that provided solace at difficult times, books that have notes scribbled on them that I now find amusing and entertaining. Each and every book narrates a story but they collectively create and tell my own story.
The best Christmas present is not under the tree but it is the tree itself.
Merry Christmas and Happy Reading for ’tis always the season to read!