Where Do You Sit on the Shelf?

In The Dilettantes, Alex Belmont agonizes over where his future novel will sit on the shelf in a bookstore:

His (as yet unwritten) book would inevitably be shelved immediately next to those of Saul Bellow. What self-respecting reader would look at the two of them, and then go with the untested, overwrought young punk?… Well, he thought, for every titan of literature, there are two lesser writers who will forever be remembered as their bookends.

I remembered this while I was at Audreys Books for the launch of The Dilettantes this past Saturday, and thought I’d see where my (unplanned, unwritten, unlikely) novel would sit. See if I have anything to be nervous about!

Here is where Laura Frey would sit at Audreys:


Summer at Gaglow by Esther Freud: Alternating between Sarah’s life and her grandmother’s childhood during the First World War, Summer at Gaglow unites four generations of an extraordinary family across the vast reaches of silence, place, loss, and time.

This actually sounds like a great read. I love WWI novels. Fun Fact – the author is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud.

Cherry Blossoms by Wes Funk: …a wild ride – a poignant journey of one spirited woman’s search to find herself.

Apparently won an award for “steamiest read.” I have been on the lookout for erotica lately, but I think I’ll stick to Anais Nin.

After I took the first photo, I realized that if I ever wrote a book, I might write it under my maiden name, or hyphenated. Don’t know where that came from! Anyway, here’s where Laura Higgins(-Frey) would sit:

HigginsbookshelfA Devil is Waiting by Jack Higgins: The President is coming to London, but not to an entirely warm welcome. A fanatical mullah is offering a blessing to anyone who will assassinate the President, and though most London Muslims think the mullah has crossed the line, a few think otherwise.

So, political thriller? Not my bag. Higgins (which is a pseudonym) has written more than 70 books, which is just crazy!

Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs: Emilie, a no-nonsense sort of woman, is determined to have her way. But Jonas is on a mission as well: He wants to hear Emilie laugh. Often.

This appears to be a Protestant romance and I really don’t have much more to say, except, that’s pretty crazy that “bookends” from The Dilettantes passage showed up, isn’t it?

Of these books, I might be nervous about rubbing shoulders with Ms Freud, but the others are wildly different for anything I would hypothetically write. Summer at Gaglow is going on the TBR, too.

Where would your book sit on the shelf?



  1. Carolyn O

    Me too! I have no idea where I’d fit, partly because I don’t know which genre I’d write in. It’d be fun to find the place where you’d like to fit, and then make up a pen name to suit.

  2. Rick @ AnotherBookBlog.com

    Haha! Remember when you gave me 5 random literary greats on Twitter a few weeks ago? It was to see who the nobody authors were that sat next to them on the shelves. I still haven’t gotten to writing that post, but you beat me to it! (kind of)

    I love the idea of doing it with yourself, though. I might have to “borrow” the idea… (I will link to you, don’t worry haha)

  3. Brie @ Eat Books

    I love this post! Having worked at a bookstore for years, it constantly crossed my mind where I’d want my book to be shelved. If I had a last name that started with A, I would definitely want to published under a different name. With A, you run too much of a risk at being way too high on the bookshelf for anyone to see, let alone reach. (Same with Z – bottom of the shelf at the very end…who looks there?). Obviously, depending on the bookstore and height of shelves, you run the risk of being on the top shelf with any name, but still…’A’ no way! Haha.

    • lauratfrey

      Well we won’t have that problem 🙂 Actually being early in the alphabet is probably good, people are still browsing and haven’t got bored yet 🙂 It’s something I’d never thought about before, until I read that passage.

  4. Bonnie Way

    Too funny! I hadn’t thought of this… I’ll have to check where my book might end up next time I’m in a bookstore! This is going strictly alphabetical, I’m guessing, rather than genre? I’ve heard Liz Curtis Higgs is good but haven’t read her (or Jack Higgins, for that matter). 🙂

    • lauratfrey

      Yeah, I just looked in general fiction. And this was a local bookstore, so I’m sure things would look different if I were in a chain store – like, Mary Higgins Clark would be in with the Higginses, for sure 🙂

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