Book Shelves #40, 9.30.2012

20120930-110158.jpg

Book shelves series #40, fortieth Sunday of 2012

So we dip into the penultimate book shelf in this series, the one I shot last week in hazy hangover.

(This shelf is lower right; I’ll be working down to up and right to left).

Kids puzzles and a toy accordion block some books on folklore, history, and music.

20120930-110205.jpg

As always, sorry for the glare, blur, and poor lighting. Blame my ancient iPhone 3gs .

A book my grandmother gave me a few years ago:

20120930-110215.jpg

Sample:

20120930-110222.jpg

This is a wonderful old collection:

20120930-110229.jpg

Pissing in the Snow: I’ve gone to that well more than once.

20120930-110238.jpg

Kind of a motley crew here; the Barthes is misshelved but the lit crit shelves above are too full, so . . .

20120930-110246.jpg

Musical bios. More of these are scattered around the house. I gave away a few recently.

Some of these books made it on to a list I wrote of seven great books about rock and roll.

20120930-110253.jpg

Anthony Scaduto’s Dylan bio, which I, ahem, *borrowed* from my uncle years ago.

It made the rounds in high school but I managed to get it back somehow (but not its cover):

20120930-110304.jpg

About these ads

Book Shelves #38, 9.16.2012

20120916-133140.jpg

Book shelves series #38, thirty-eighth Sunday of 2012

The final entry on this corner piece.

What have these volumes in common? They are all aesthetically pleasing.

They are all too tall to fit elsewhere comfortably.

Several issues of McSweeney’s, some art books, and some graphic novels:

20120916-133146.jpg

I’ve already expressed my strong enthusiasm for Charles Burns’s X’ed Out. The Acme Library pictured is part of Chris Ware’s series, and is beautiful and claustrophobic.

McSweeney’s #28 comprises eight little hardbacked fables that arrange into two “puzzle” covers:

20120916-133153.jpg

20120916-133200.jpg

20120916-133207.jpg

I’ve also written enthusiastically about Max Ernst’s surreal graphic novel, Une Semaine de Bonte:

20120916-133214.jpg

20120916-133221.jpg

America’s Great Adventure is this wonderful book that pairs American writing (poems, songs, excerpts from novels and journals) with American paintings to tell a version of American history:

20120916-133230.jpg

20120916-133238.jpg

20120916-133244.jpg

It probably deserves its own review. Short review: It’s a wonderful book if you can find it.

Book Shelves #36, 9.02.2012

 

 

20120902-101430.jpg

Book shelves series #36, thirty-sixth Sunday of 2012

Continuing the corner book shelf in the family room.

The bookends are tschotskes from a ¥100 shop; we bought them years ago in Tokyo.

Not particularly fancy but they have a sentimental value. (The big guy is a tanuki, if you’re unfamiliar).

The tin on the far left is filled with miscellaneous papers, old stickers, other small bricabrac.

 

20120902-101437.jpg

Only four books on this shelf—the more-or-less complete works of J.D. Salinger, in gloriously ratty mass paperback editions:

20120902-101444.jpg

Not sure if these are my wife’s or mine—probably a mix of both. I stole most of these from my high school.

The Catcher in the Rye was as important to me as any other book, I suppose. I wrote about it here.

Nine Stories contains some of Salinger’s most disciplined stuff.

It took me years to finally find the discipline to read Seymour, which is probably the best thing he wrote.

 

Book Shelves #34, 8.19.2012

 

20120819-113046.jpg

Book shelves series #34, thirty-fourth Sunday of 2012

A little end table next to the couch in our family room.

The books on top are little art books we keep out for the kids to look at, including People

20120819-113052.jpg

20120819-113058.jpg

On the second shelf, along with a cooking magazine: The People Could Fly and Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons:

20120819-113104.jpg

20120819-113112.jpg

20120819-113121.jpg

There are two drawers; one holds electronic manuals. The second holds McSweeney’s #33, the newspaper issue, which was pretty damn unwieldy:

20120819-113127.jpg

A comic from the McSweeney’s by Michael Kupperman:

20120819-113136.jpg

Book Shelves #33, 8.12.2012

20120812-142154.jpg

Book shelves series #33, thirty-third Sunday of 2012

This is the end cap shelf of the coffee table in our family room, which is really the room where the kids play.

Mostly old ratty Shakespeare paperbacks and other slim volumes. Some of the hundreds of CDs I have that I haven’t played in ages.

Books:

20120812-142142.jpg

I reread Henry IV last year, using these editions; still one of my favorite plays.

Contains some of my favorite moments in literature (I especially love the part where Falstaff calls his soldiers his “rag of Muffins”):

20120812-142208.jpg

Book Shelves #32, 8.05.2012

20120729-153918.jpg

Book shelves series #31, thirty-first Sunday of 2012

I had forgotten about this Norman Rockwell book, which I promptly took out and put on the coffee table:

20120729-153933.jpg

It’s funny to think how corny I used to think the guy was . . .

20120729-153946.jpg

. . . which I guess he is, corny, I mean, but he’s also a master painter, with cartoonish sensibility.

And if at times he’s goofy, well, he also exhibited a social conscience in his art that was, well, human-centered.

20120729-154003.jpg

A harmonica book:

20120729-154031.jpg

And a guitar book:

20120729-154038.jpg

Talking Heads are my favorite band. An old girlfriend found this tabloidy book at a thriftstore and gave it to me for my birthday. This was like 16 years ago. I’d forgotten where the book was:

20120729-154046.jpg

There’s a few copies of Far Side stuff on this shelf:

20120729-154057.jpg

And Frank Miller’s Wolverine graphic novel, which was my favorite thing in the world when I was 11.

Sad Wolverine:

20120729-154107.jpg

One of at least three Magritte books in the house is on this shelf. A drawing from said volume:

20120729-154115.jpg

A Gustav Klimt coloring book:

20120729-154123.jpg

20120729-154130.jpg

20120729-154137.jpg

Book Shelves #31, 7.29.2012

20120729-141449.jpg

 

Book shelves series #31, thirty-first Sunday of 2012

When I started this project I thought it would be a fun way to keep stock of the books that I have, and also a way to perhaps question why I hold on to the books that I hold on to.

I mean, why keep a book after you’ve read it?

Anyway, at times throughout this series I’ve gotten bored, or rushed; other times I’ve thought the idea was stupid, or narcissistic, or something even worse (although I don’t know what).

I like the shelves above the pedestrian, utilitarian jobber that I’ll feature this Sunday and the next: lots of aesthetically pleasing stuff there.

Not so this one, which holds photos and cookbooks and art books and old notebooks and sketchbooks and every kind of etcetera:

20120729-141456.jpg

At least that’s what I thought until I started digging into the cramped top shelf, dutifully bound to this project.

I wound up really enjoying myself, pausing over volumes that I haven’t looked at in ages, like this beauty:

20120729-141509.jpg

I’m not sure if the aesthetic joy of this postcard collection comes across in these lousy iPhone photo shots.

I got this on a trip to London when I was 11. It was just my mom and my brother and I. First we went to Singapore. We were coming back to the States for Christmas, and also to live, eventually. My brother broke his leg in Singapore jumping down some stairs and we didn’t realize it was broken until we got back to Florida.

20120729-141515.jpg

I used to draw and paint all the time, especially as a kid. Mostly animals.

There are at least a dozen skinny books like this on the shelf:

20120729-141522.jpg

I must have done hundreds of these as a kid:

20120729-141546.jpg

The shelf is also full of old comic strip collections that you probably recognize, like these guys:

20120729-141556.jpg

And this guy (and yes, I have the 7″ record from this collection)

20120729-141601.jpg

I also spent half an hour revising Rublowsky’s 1965 volume Pop Art, which is kind of fascinating in its contemporary proximity to its subject.

The cover’s not interesting, but Ken Heyman’s photos are; they show the artists in process. This one is kinda famous:

20120729-141609.jpg

And here’s Roy Lichtenstein:

20120729-141616.jpg

 

Book Shelves #30, 7.21.2012

 

20120721-170117.jpg

 

Book shelves series #30, thirtieth Sunday of 2012

See a full length shot of this book shelf (or don’t).

Lots of publication series editions here, including this batch of Melville House Art of the Contemporary Novella:

20120721-170132.jpg

I reviewed most of these and they’re all very good—especially Sandokan.

Some ratty ratty Penguin Classics that I procured from various institutions I won’t name here. The Mallory was a particular obsession for a few years:

20120721-170147.jpg

The Rousseau Coloring Book was a gift from a friend to our daughter, but I stole it and put it up here.

20120721-170158.jpg

20120721-170224.jpg

I reviewed all of Picador’s BIG IDEAS // small books series; I actually got a new one, Privacy, in the mail the other day. Violence and  Humiliation are particularly good.

Next to those: various World of Art series books, most of them my wife’s. (Bonus points if you guess mine correctly):

20120721-172745.jpg

I have no idea why these books are grouped here like this; I’m guessing they were all in the same box when we moved. I know we have multiple copies of several of these:

20120721-170738.jpg

There’s a basket with a Klee book and some mini umbrellas and other stuff, not pictured, and then this lot on the end, including to “Introducing” books that are remainders from my freshman year of college; they are terrible and I should get rid of them. I stole this edition of The Stranger from my high school in the 10th or 11th grade. The Chronicles of Narnia box set was a gift from my aunt when I was like seven or eight:

20120721-170753.jpg

 

 

Book Shelves #29, 7.15.2012

20120715-103934.jpg

Book shelves series #29, twenty-ninth Sunday of 2012

Lots of hardbacks on this long, long shelf. The Vonneguts above were particularly important to me when I was young. They were my father’s. I read them surreptitiously for years and then outright appropriated them at some point. The matching Dodd, Mead hardbacks were rescued from a school I worked at for years. My wife made the vase that serves as a bookend. The copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell that doesn’t quite fit in the frame remains unread.

20120715-103943.jpg

The BFG: a classic. I reviewed Wabi Sabi. Next to the Crumb:

20120715-111742.jpg

I found Holidays in a box of free books in a library lobby. Love it. Here’s this week’s schedule of holidays:

20120715-111749.jpg

One of my favorite books ever is Mitsou, a book that Balthus did when he was like 10 or 12 or something:

20120715-104032.jpg

It’s about a young boy who gets a cat and loves the cat and then loses the cat. It’s heartbreaking. Image:

20120715-104040.jpg

And next to this one:

20120715-104015.jpg

Shelf’s end:

20120715-112719.jpg

Book Shelves #26, 6.24.2012

20120624-143352.jpg

Book shelves series #26, twenty-sixth Sunday of 2012: Some old art books.

This little shelf sits next to a solitary couch in a den/fireplace room that abuts the eat-in kitchen. The shelf is mostly to hold the occasional drink if feet are propped on the coffee table. There are old art books in here, dating back to high school and college, when my wife and I (separately, of course, in those days) still bought lots and lots of art books, before the internet made accessibility to images so ubiquitous. As such, the shelf holds books that reflected our tastes of fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years ago: Lots of Pre-Raphaelite and Romantic stuff (hers) and lots of surrealist/modernist/cubist stuff (mine). Anyway. These rarely get dug out these days. If I want to check out Burne-Jones I usually visit an online gallery.

The portrait of Joan Miro and his daughter in the upper right corner is by the painter who called himself Balthus. I love the painting. It’s deeply creepy but also tender.

Book Shelves #25, 6.17.2012

20120616-143021.jpg

Book shelves series #25, twenty-fifth Sunday of 2012: Cookbooks and some photo albums.

We’ve moved out of the living room and looped into the kitchen/eat-in dining room. Cookbooks and photo albums occupy a little-built in under the eat-in counter.

There’s a shelf of cookbooks at the bottom of a buffet-thing. In the good old days it held vinyl LPs.

Book Shelves #24, 6.10.2012

20120610-104319.jpg

Book shelves series #24, twenty-fourth Sunday of 2012: In which we glance at canonical comics.

So we’ve hit the last shelf in a series of triplets; next week: new room.

This shelf holds graphic novels, including stuff by Alan Moore, Marjane Satrapi, David Mazzucchelli, Jeff Smith, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware. There’s also most of Dave Sim’s epic series Cerebus here.

20120610-104325.jpg

I wrote about Dave Sim and Cerebus back in week 6 of this project, when I looked at the actual comic books I owned in the series. From that post:

 I bought issues of Cerebus intermittently for years at a time, usually getting frustrated and then waiting for the “phone book” graphic novel editions of the series. Sim, along with background artist Gerhard, produced 300 issues of Cerebus over 25 years. The issues from the early ’80s to the early ’90s are brilliant; eventually Sim cracked though and went on an insane, reactionary (and arguably deeply misogynistic) bent. He created his own religion, a mix of hardline Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the later books in the series suffered greatly, as the book detoured to chronicle projects that seemed far outside its original scope (including strange, long satires of Hemingway and Fitzgerald).

These are the phone books I referenced. Looking over them again, I keep reminding myself to try and reread the last two books to see if I missed anything.

Somewhat at random, I opened Reads, the novel that signaled the beginning of Sim’s estrangement from sanity. It opened to this page, part of a climactic scene between Cerebus and Cirin, leader of the matriarchy that will rule Iest (don’t ask):

20120610-104334.jpg

Book Shelves #23, 6.03.2012

20120603-185137.jpg

Book shelves series #23, twenty-third Sunday of 2012

Okay. So, a bit later than usual getting this in. It’s the daughter’s birthday and I’m recovering from a Saturday party and I’ve been out in the garden other day and some other excuses.

Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, James Weldon Johnson, Harry Crews, Flannery O’Connor—and then some books that seem misshelved. Calvino used to hang out with Umberto Eco but that shelf got too crowded. The John Barth should be with the other John Barth books, but they’re all mass market paperbacks in shabby condition.

I like the cover of the Breece D’J Pancake collection:

20120603-185149.jpg

Lydia Cabrera’s Afro-Cuban Tales is this secret awesome book that almost no one has read. It was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog and the review is so woefully short that I’ll just cut and paste it below:

20120603-185156.jpg

In a sublime synthesis of traditional folklore and imagistic surrealism, Lydia Cabrera’s Afro-Cuban Tales questions the normative spaces occupied by bodies. Deriving from animist tradition, her characters exist in an impossible multiplicity of spaces, being at once animals and plants, humans and gods. Cabrera’s characters endure trials of biological identity and social co-existence, and through these problems they internalize authority, evince taboos, and create a social code. Cabrera’s trickster characters provoke, challenge, or otherwise disrupt the symbolic order of this code. In “Bregantino Bregantín,” a story that recalls Freud’s primal horde theory, as well as the work of more contemporary theorists such as Julia Kristeva and Judith Butler,  narcissist Bull kills all the males of his kingdom and takes all the women for himself.  The sadistic titular turtle of “Papa Turtle and Papa Tiger” uses the power of his dead friend’s antlers to shame, torment, and torture the other animals of his community. And in the magical realism of “Los Compadres,” Capinche seeks to put the horns on his best friend Evaristo by sleeping with his wife–a transgression that ends in necrophilia. This union of sex and death, creation and destruction is the norm in Cabrera’s green and fecund world; the trickster’s displacements of order invariably result in reanimation, transformation, and regeneration—the drawing, stepping-over, and re-drawing of boundaries.