Shelf Esteem is a weekly measure of the books on the shelves of writers, editors, and other word lovers, as told to Emily M. Keeler. This week’s shelves belong to Nathalie Atkinson, who is an award winning journalist and the Style editor of the National Post. Her books are in the West Toronto home she shares with her husband, Peter Birkemoe, the proprietor of Toronto’s beloved comix shop, The Beguiling. They have neat shelves in every room, and the walls of the house are lined with art. Atkinson moves quickly from room to room, up and down stairs, as if dancing through her library.
There are books everywhere, but I don’t keep a ton of books. If it’s something I’m going to keep, I have to love it a lot. Plus I buy a lot on digital. It’s kind of insane, actually: Peter can order me anything I want from his two bookstores, I get tons of books sent to me at work, I can ask for pretty much any book I want at work and it’ll get sent to me, plus I use the public library to the tune of three or four book-holds a week. And I still buy books in store. It’s kind of bad.
I keep the poetry in the bedroom. Not for any particular reason. I read a lot of poetry. I have an extra copy of the Shel Silverstein, because I don’t want to be reading the copy I grew up reading in bed, so I keep two. Oh, and Whylah Falls, by George Elliot Clarke. This is my second copy, the glue came apart on the first one because I read it over so much. It’s honestly one of the best poetic Canadian books. I feel like it’s been forgotten a little bit. And David Berman.
I feel like I need to do some culling, a little bit, actually.
Shelf Esteem runs every Tuesday.