Creating a Capsule Library

About a month ago, I was talking to my husband about what an honor it was to moderate Sarah J. Maas' Atlanta Tower of Dawn tour stop and trying to convince him to start reading the series. In order to convey just how much Maas and her books mean to me, I said, "I mean, if I had to narrow my library down to five authors, she'd definitely be on the list. At the top." He laughed at me, but guess what he's currently reading?

Afterward, I couldn't get my offhand comment out of my mind. I started imagining a completely hypothetical situation (because you'll never actually pry my books out of my hands): if I had to narrow my library down to a limited number of authors, who would they be and why? It reminded me of a concept that fascinates me: capsule wardrobes. The idea is to simplify your closet by creating a mini wardrobe made up of essential and versatile items that you love (typically around 30 pieces). You can read more about it here.

I started to imagine approaching my library the same. I'm blessed to have the ability to buy books, the space to display them, and a love for re-reading that makes owning books so worthwhile. But if I had to narrow my books down to the essentials, what would make the list? Because choosing isn't just about listing my favorites. It's the books that make me say: I don't want to live in a world where I can't return to this world.

And so, the idea of the Capsule Library was born. I loved coming up with my answer and asked Kelly from Belle of the LiteratiRachel from Hello, Chelly and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books to join me in sharing theirs today, too. We allowed ourselves to have 10 total pieces in our libraries:
  • The Clothes: 5-7 authors (any/all of their books would be in library)
  • The Accessories: 3-5 individual books (and series couldn't be grouped into one)
I matched each author/book with an item of clothing or accessory that would be in my capsule wardrobe and explained how they were related. It was so much fun, and the end results capture my eclectic taste in books!


THE CASUAL JACKET • Jane AustenOne of my favorite item of clothing is my military-style jacket. Even when it's too hot to wear it, I love knowing that it's in my closet -- just waiting for the right outfit and season. Jane Austen is a little bit like that jacket. I don't re-read her books as often as I wish that I did, but I can't imagine a world where they aren't in my library. I just need to know that they're there when I need them.

THE CLASSIC TEE • Suzanne CollinsTruthfully, I only want Collins on my list so that I can have The Hunger Games in my capsule wardrobe. This series is my classic tee: a simple, understated basic that's a favorite for a reason. A tee may seem boring, but it's a staple of my daily wardrobe. I'll always reach for these books when I'm not sure what I want to read next because I know they'll never let me down.

THE WORN-IN JEANS • Sarah J. MaasI'm a denim girl through and through, even in summer. They're the most-worn item in my closet - and my favorite, too. And that's Sarah J. Maas for me. In any season, mood or moment, I can reach for her Throne of Glass or A Court of Thorns and Roses series. They're some of my most re-read books - and my favorites, too. The time is always right for Celaena or Feyre and their friends!

THE COMFY BUTTON-DOWN • Melina MarchettaI love how versatile a good button-down shirt is, which is one of my favorite things about Melina Marchetta's books. She's written multiple genres (fantasy, contemporary and mystery), and they've honestly all been excellent. Just like my favorite button-down, I can pick up a Marchetta book and know that I won't be disappointed. It's always the right fit.

THE PLAYFUL BLOUSE • Mhairi McFarlaneWith a lot of simple pieces in my wardrobe, I knew I needed something fun, too. I love a basic blouse with some unexpected details (like embroidery or lace or pattern) that make it more whimsical. Similarly, Mhairi McFarlane's books could easily feel clichéd, but her quick wit and nuanced characters elevate them to something more. They're classic stories told in a way that feels fresh.

THE COZY SWEATER • L.M. MontgomeryI have a lot of sweaters in my closet, even though I don't always need them. But when I do, I'm so thankful to have so many options at my fingertips. And the same is true for L.M. Montgomery. I don't often pick up her books these days, but I can't imagine my library without them. There were an integral part of my reading journey! And like a good sweater, it's comforting to go back to that world.

THE DRESSY JEANS • Beatriz WilliamsI hesitated a little bit to include Beatriz Williams in my capsule library because I've only recently fallen in love with her writing. What if the obsession fades over time?! But I realized that's like my dressy jeans: they're new and still haven't been broken in, but chances are good that they'll have a forever home in my closet. Plus, I had to have some historical on my list!


THE MEANINGFUL NECKLACE • The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum • I own a lot of necklaces, but I always wear the two that are the most meaningful to me. It almost seems silly to feel so attached to an object! It reminds me of The Opposite of Love, which has been a favorite for years, gotten better with every re-read and now feels so important to me. I can't even articulate all the reasons I love it so much.

THE COLORFUL SCARF • Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center • Kantha scarves instantly make me feel like I look more pulled together. They can add some brightness and style to an otherwise basic outfit, which is a confidence booster. Plus, they just make me happy! And that's Happiness for Beginners - a book that brings me joy, helps me recognize all the good things in my life and leaves a smile on my face.

THE BASIC BOOTS • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak • The Book Thief is anything but basic, so bear with me here. It might have made more sense to include a pair of Converse in my capsule, since I probably wear them more often. But my heart wanted my boots... just like my heart wanted The Book Thief on my list, despite the numerous other books that might have made more sense based on how often I re-read them.
What authors and books would be in your Capsule Library?
I'd love to see what you'd choose, so leave your link in the comments if you do a post.
And specifically, I'm tagging Morgan from The Bookish Beagle and Cassie from The Casserole!


  1. I love this idea!! I'll definitely be making a post :)

  2. Love this! I would have such a hard time choosing, but I like how you approached it.

  3. So great! This really puts your taste/preferences into perspective and adds value to what you read. Such a fun idea!

  4. So great! This really puts your taste/preferences into perspective and adds value to what you read. Such a fun idea!

  5. This is one of the most creative posts I have seen. I love this concept.I really loved when you said: 'Because choosing isn't just about listing my favorites. It's the books that make me say: I don't want to live in a world where I can't return to this world.'I will definitely be thinking about what books would be in my capsule library.

  6. This is such a creative post, I absolutely love it! I also love how you paired your choices with a clothing item. Can't wait to make my own post, thanks for tagging me! As an aside, I read all of Tower of Dawn on Saturday and I loved it! More than I expected to, which is always the best sort of surprise. Which book is your husband currently reading?

  7. It took some thought, but here are my choices:
    Clothing (familiar, timeless, durable -- authors chosen for the breadth of their work, my love of it, and the variety of styles): Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Stephen King, Val McDermid, Karen Rose, JK Rowling and William Shakespeare.
    Accessories (metaphorical shawls -- books I find comfort and enjoyment in despite numerous rereadings): "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett, and "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness.

  8. Such a cool idea! I had so much fun making my library capsule :

  9. OMIGOSH I LOVE THIS!!!!! I’m also trying to build an actual capsule wardrobe of my own . Love the idea of a few timeless pieces. Will definitely do one of these posts sometime SOON!

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