A Checklist for the Shelf Aware Bookcase

Here's a roadmap to start reading diversely.  Source: unsplash

Here's a roadmap to start reading diversely. 
Source: unsplash

Just like how a closet checklist tells you everything you're missing from your wardrobe, a book checklist tells you everything you're missing from your bookshelf. Here's my checklist for having a shelf aware bookcase. (Some of these overlap, but that's okay.)


  • 7 translated books (at least 1 book for each of the 7 continents)
  • 3 books by Hispanic/Latino authors
  • 3 books by Black/African American authors
  • 3 books by European authors
  • 3 books by Middle Eastern authors
  • 3 books by Asian authors
  • 5 books by women
  • 1 Pulitzer Prize winner from the past 10 years
  • 1 National Book Award winner from the past 10 years
  • 5 modern classics
  • 3 illustrated books and/or comic books/graphic novels
  • 1 science fiction book
  • 1 historical fiction book
  • 1 literary fiction
  • 1 classic fiction
  • 1 summer read that makes you feel the sun on your back
  • 2 short story collections
  • 1 book of poetry in verse
  • 1 book of poetry in freestyle 
  • 5 young adult books
  • 3 children's books
  • 1 book that got a lot of hype and you've been putting off reading for eons
  • 3 books on your reading level in a foreign language in which you are at least semi-fluent
  • 1 book series (3+ books in the series)


  • 1 business book
  • 1 spiritual book (can be religious or not since religious is not a synonym for spiritual)
  • 1 philosophy book
  • 1 science book
  • 1 political book
  • 1 fashion/style book
  • 1 self-help book for productivity
  • 1 self-help book for relationships (it's cool; no is is perfect or has it all figured out)
  • 1 how-to book for a hobby you want to take up or a hobby you already have and love
  • 1 book about the industry in which you work/want to work
  • 3 memoirs
  • 1 biography
  • 1 autobiography
  • 1 coffee table book
  • 1 book of photography

Books that Would Make Your Grandma Sweat (and you too--in a good way)

  • 1 erotica book
  • 1 steamy, piping hot romance novel
  • 1 scientific book about sex (hey, everyone does it, so you might as well know what you're doing)
  • 1 horror/thriller book
  • 1 spine-tingling mystery book
  • 1 book by an author you'd totally date (or do other things with)
  • 1 book with contents that totally gross you out
  • 1 book you're embarrassed for people to know you've read and loved (even though you should never feel embarrassed about what you read)

Having a diverse bookshelf is a great way to expand your reading tastes and discover new worlds or ways of thinking that you didn't know existed. 

You'll notice that I don't mention any specific titles. That's because your reading life is up to you--you choose your destination and the path you take to get there. I just want to help you have a diverse and fulfilling path.

Did I leave anything out? What is required reading in your book? How shelf aware is your bookcase? Tell me in the comments below!  

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