22 January 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf

I feel like this year has started out pretty strong in terms of the books that I've read. I've been quite pleased with most of what I've read.

My Ideal Bookshelf was fascinating. It is a compilation of short (500 ish words) essays written by a variety of important/famous people (granted I'd only heard of a handful of them, but apparently they're famous). Each essay is about that person's "ideal bookshelf." They were asked to pick out the 10 or so books that would be on their perfect shelf. It's an interesting exercise if you think about it because your "ideal bookshelf" actually probably changes from year to year or month to month or day to day. The perfect bookshelf you might have made as a 12 year old is probably quite different from the one you make at 25 or 40 or 87. And they weren't all necessarily a person's favorite books, or even ones they'd read. The essay accompanied a painting of the bookshelf and made for a lovely spread.

It was interesting to see which books cropped up a number of times or who picked a book written by someone else included in this collection.

I'd probably classify the book as a coffee-table type book. It has lovely illustrations and there isn't any particular reason to read it cover to cover straight through. It would be very easy to pick up and read at random. 

I pulled a few interesting quotes from it:

"If a non-fiction book experienced a massive spike in popularity then the idea behind it becomes mainstream and then the book itself disappears." --Chuck Klosterman, pg. 110

"A room is not a room with out books." --Mina Nair, pg. 137

"It's important to leave enough space for other books, ones that don't always line up like iron filings. Let the shelf build itself." --Jonathan Zittrain, pg. 202

"Fashion is a way to inform others about who you are, or who you want to be, without ever opening your mouth." --Robert Verdi, pg. 186

And if my recommendation isn't good enough, there's an article from Fine Books and Collections. It does have a tiny mount of sales-pitching, but the middle part is a good description of the book.

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