My fellow Register writer Jennifer Fulwiler is inspiring people to post pictures of their desks, which is one of those silly little things that always interests me. I have two desks. This drop-down desk is in my bedroom, and it’s the one I use most often. It closes up nice and neat so I have to put things away at the end of the day, and so I don’t run into in it the dark on the way to the bathroom.

Click to embiggen.

The other desk is in the office I share with my wife (who also works at home), and it’s where the gaming rig, server, printer, file cabinets, theology books, games, and all the rest are located. Like a lot of writers in the laptop age, however, I work at the kitchen table or on the couch just as often as I’m at the desk.

We’ve also converted the garage into a library. Here’s half of it:

UPDATE: I’ve been asked whatall is on that desk, so, here’s you’re basic annotated picture:

1: Reference books, mostly for my game work.

2: Notebooks, journals, sketch  books.

3: Rosary from Rome; calender from Williamsburg.

4: Wizard Mickey.

5: Plant-eating zombie.

6: Papa.

7: Playing cards (French Tarot, Hungarian, German, Spanish, Italian and lots of Bicycle)

8: Books for current theology assignment. (The rest are on Kindle and Logos.) Two classes this semester: Augustine and OT.

9: Olive wood cross from the Holy Land (a gift from my wife).

10: Binoculars for when the neighbors forget to put down their shades. (I kid, I kid: I’m a bird watcher.)

11: Dice, because you know never know when a floating crap game is going roll on into your bedroom.

12: Hand grenade. (They’re just so much more efficient than small-arms fire.)

13: iPod Touch, so my daughter can send me emojis from her own Touch, 4532 times a day.

14: Mickey’s Really Swell Coffee mug, featuring Donald & a 2:1 caff-to-decaf blend from Trader Joe’s.

15: Too many papers, semi-organized.

16: Promo goblet from Anchor’s Bay’s DVD release of the Three Musketeers (Richard Lester version, natch), filled with Ticos, a couple of pens, and a Legend of Zelda letter opener.

UPDATE 3/8/12

Wow, I never thought this post would be this popular, but book-types are fascinated with the little shot of a piece of my library. Here are some details: there are 23 book cases, each 7′ tall and ranging in width from about 2′ to 4′. They were raw wood, and I sanded, stained, and finished about half of them before I had to move in. They’re arranged like library stacks, with strip lighting down the center aisle. Here’s a reverse angle showing some of the open space, along with my son:

And here are a couple I took this morning:

Click and zoom for a close-up view

Click and zoom for a close-up view.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Noe’

    Love what you’ve done with the garage…Kindles are obviously good for traveling/commuting, but…I don’t think they’re THERE for you when you get home the same way shelves of books, well-positioned lamps are.

  • Ben

    Gaming rig? What do you usually play? (I’m a self identified Catholic-Nerd)

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Oh, everything. I do a monthly gaming column (Maximum PC) and edit an review section and buyer’s guide (Games Magazine), as well as review games for NC Register and Catholic News, so I have to keep up with all of it.

  • stark61555

    I give up. I thought we had the MOST BOOKS. We have three to four less bookcases than you.

    Pat yourself on the back. You beat the Florida bookworms.


  • Erin Manning

    I have complete library envy. :) Loving this new blog, btw!

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Thanks Erin! I’m glad to see you over here! And that’s only a bit of the library. 28 cases total, plus the game and movie collections elsewhere. I try to make the excuse that I was a bookseller and reviewer earlier in my life, so I got a lot of free stuff, but, really … it’s just a sickness. ;)

  • Brian Green

    Your garage is beautiful. Something tells be there are even bookcases behind the bookcases. Someday I wish to have my books so gorgeously arrayed. Hey, and I love your blog! I’m Catholic and into ethics of technology (as you can see from the posts where I blog). I look forward to reading what you have to say.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Thanks! Interesting blog! Looks like I’ll probably be covering some similar issues.

  • Brian Green

    I look forward to hearing your take on things. God bless!

  • nancyo

    Your desk is great; I’m impressed that you fold it up each day. And the garage/library! I have bookshelves on many many walls of our house but (so far) no stacks. We might own as many books as you – my dad actually was a used book dealer so that only compounded the sickness.

  • Brandon Vogt

    Alright you *need* to do a complete photo tour of your library.

    I share the others’ library envy, and their appreciation for your writing.

    Can’t wait for more!

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Thanks, Brandon, I really appreciate that. I’m surprised how many people have hit this page and asked to see more. Ask you shall receive: I just added two more pictures.

  • Brandon Vogt

    Love the Tolkien shelf!

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Q: “Why does anyone need 4 different copies of The Silmarillion”?
    A: “If you have to ask, there’s no way I could possibly explain.”

    (As an aside, I’ll use this an excuse to recommend the work of Guy Gavriel Kay, who helped Christopher Tolkien complete The Simlarillion. Some of the best fantasy writing out there.)

  • Iris Celeste

    You have a Jane Austen toy? I am soo jealous!

    {TLMcD: That’s my wife’s, along with the complete Oxford Austen.}

  • Martin Goodman

    I too, am filled with library envy. Maybe some day. I just found your blog. I really enjoy your work. I am a convert to the Faith. Married to a wonderful Catholic woman. I really enjoy Max. PC. it’s the only computer rag I buy. Keep the faith and the good work. I am a Catholic – Nerd too.

  • Dale Price


    You’re preserving and handing down knowledge, in the time-honored Catholic monastic tradition.

    [That's what I go with.]

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    I’m sure H- buys that about as much as Elizabeth does…

    Just noticed you can see part of my military collection, including all my Nazi books, in one of those pictures. Boy, good thing no one ever uses Reductio ad Hitlerum arguments against people of my faith and political views, or that would be pretty damning evidence against me.

    Oh, wait…

  • Dale Price

    Snarf on the Godwin’s. And we have some significant overlap on the Second World War.

    Yeah, Heather…tolerates my bookish compulsions. I’d like to try to make my own shelving, but I’m going with heavy duty workshelves made out of steel and melamine. Unfortunately, we have a bit of a seepage problem (with heavy rains) in our basement.

  • Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Oh, wow, I am experiencing MAJOR bookshelf envy now!

    (And thanks for sharing — this was fascinating.)