Book shelves series #47, forty-seventh Sunday of 2012
So this is what happens—books pile up. Okay, maybe that sentence is missing a clear subject: I pile books up.
This stack mounded on my record player over the last week; I intended to shelve about half of these:
My shelving solution is woefully short-term (more double stocked shelves).
Anyway, this shelf is mostly other media, including DVDs, a few records, and playing cards.
Of note (perhaps) are the three illustrated volumes on the left that I’ve had forever.
The illustrated Kidnapped features art by N.C. Wyeth:
The illustrated Kipling was actually my father’s:
Have you read Adam Novy’s novel The Avian Gospels? It’s good stuff.
Like many bibliophiles, I’m a sucker for plain Penguins:
Book shelves series #46, forty-sixth Sunday of 2012
Another double-stacked shelf. This one even has a stack of drifters.
This shelf is at my eye/arm level, and looking at it this way, I see that it gets a lot of shuffling—I can see where I started certain projects for the site.
I can see books that are in line, so to speak, for either proper shelving or for reading.
The mounding stack on the shelf below is a bit out of control, although most of what sits there comes from other places (I kinda sorta wrote about those here).
Below: Unsorted stuff that I’ve been reading of an afternoon:
This is the front stack—books that need proper shelving elsewhere, books that I’ve read (and sometimes reviewed here) in the past few months, or meant to read, or in some other way consulted or read from:
The far right side of the shelf—again, a very mixed bag. I think I originally intended to properly shelf everything here and then got sidetracked:
And here’s what’s behind the front stack—okay, I can see now the edges of an idea I had for shelving; I also see where I just abandoned that idea:
This whole project I blame on an essay by Georges Perec, collected in this one:
This is one of my favorite book covers:
More covers I like from this shelf:
Book shelves series #45, forty-fifth Sunday of 2012
Yon shelf, murky, dim:
Homeboy on the end, once my parents’, tschotchke of time in ’80s South Africa, used to work as a bookend, now he just hangs out on this double-booked shelf.
Back layer, including a number of volumes (to be clear: Chabon, Martel, Diaz, Eugenides) I should just trade in.
(Also: I hate this project and wish I’d never started it).
Book shelves series #44, forty-fourth Sunday of 2012
Not a particularly beautiful shelf—it sits between a TV and a soundbar; houses an unused Wii, an analog clock, and a picture of my kids. The books camouflage cords and wires.
You can see the whole shelf in the top pic. The big pic on the right: a Kokeshi doll set on Henry Miller volume that was a gift from a friend years ago in high school.
To the left: Bukowski, Miller, Anaïs Nin. Then, a section of stuff you can’t really see, including an extremely tattered copy of A Passage to India.
Lower right: Mass-market paperbacks that were especially important to me over the years and as a result have managed to hang around—even in cases where they were replaced by handsomer volumes. Usually obscured by the clock. Includes stuff by Borges, Carson McCullers, Hemingway, Twain, Chopin, Richard Wright . . .
Book shelves series #43, forty-third Sunday of 2012
Kind of a hodgepodge shelf—some literary biography, a few now-redundant collections, some literary criticism, art books, etc.
Tracy Daugherty’s Donald Barthelme biography Hiding Man is on the far left; I reviewed it a few years ago, taking note of my favorite part, the so-called postmodernists’ dinner.
Next to it is Susan Sontag’s Reborn, a collection of early journals that I also reviewed.
Next to these two is Sara Davidson’s Loose Change. My aunt gave me a box of books years ago (lots of Asimov and Octavia Butler) and this was in here.
I knew about it because of a long essay in a 2007 issue of The Believer.
I picked up Penguin’s The Essential James Joyce in Jimbocho, an area in Tokyo known for used bookstores.
I recall paying maybe ¥100 for it. It comprises a few selections from Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, some of Joyce’s (totally unessential) poetry, and the entirety of Dubliners, Exiles, and Portrait. I’ve kept it because of sentiment (and I like the cover).
Book shelves series #42, forty-second Sunday of 2012
Couldn’t really get a good pic of the whole shelf, so in portions, starting with a spread of postmodernist favorites from years past. Julia Kristeva was a particular favorite of mine in grad school, but her Portable stands up well outside of, jeez, I dunno, theory and deconstruction and all that jazz; there are plenty of memoirish essays, including a wonderful piece on Paris ’68 and Tel Quel &c. Sam Kimball‘s book The Infanticidal Logic of Evolution and Culture still maintains an important place in the way I approach analyzing any kind of storytelling. Love the cover of this first American edition of Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, which I bought for a dollar years ago at a Friends of the Library sale:
I may or may not have obtained the The Viking Portable Nietzsche through nefarious means in my sixteenth year. In any case, it’s not really the best intro (I’m partial to The Gay Science), but it’s not bad. The Plato I’ve had forever. I never finished Bloom’s The Western Canon, although I’ve returned to it many times in the past five or six years, as I’ve opened up more to his ideas. I wrote about many of the books on this shelf, including a few by Simon Critchley.
The book I’d most recommend on this section of the shelf—indeed, the entire shelf—is Freud’s The Future of an Illusion:
The end of the shelf moves into more pop territory, including two good ones by AV Club head writer Nathan Rabin. You might also note Reality Hunger, a book that I am increasingly afraid to go back to, fearing that I probably agree more with Shields’s thesis, even if I didn’t particularly like his synthesis.
Adam Thirlwell’s The Delighted States is an overlooked gem that should have gotten more attention than Shields’s “manifesto.” He shares a bit of Georges Perec (whose writing helped spark this project of mine):
James Wood’s How Fiction Works got my goat:
From my review:
Like most people who love to read, both academically and for pleasure, I like a good argument, and Wood’s aesthetic criticism is a marvelous platform for my ire, especially in a world that increasingly seems to not care about reading fiction. Wood is a gifted writer, even if his masterful skill at sublimating his personal opinion into a front of absolute authority is maddening. There’s actually probably more in his book that I agree with than not, but it’s those major sticking points on literary approaches that stick in my craw. It’s also those major sticking points that make the book an interesting read. I’d like to think that I’m not interested in merely having my opinions re-confirmed.
Book shelves series #41, forty-first Sunday of 2012
Lots of lovely books and mags with pictures.
Several years worth of subscription to The Believer, with an unsorted stack setting up front:
I suppose I could write a whole post about The Believer, which I think is an excellent mag but no longer subscribe to, but instead, here’s a cover from Charles Burns:
Charles Burns also shows up in this section, which includes stuff by R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Art Spiegelman, and more:
The wife got me a subscription to The Paris Review last year; then, some unsorted books, and then the Nausicaä collection (also courtesy the wife):
Nausicaä spread out on my couch. (My son and I ended up looking through them for an hour):