Posts tagged ‘Bookcase’

December 30, 2012

Book Shelves #53, 12.30.2012 (Final Entry)

by Biblioklept

Book shelves series #53, fifty-third—and final!—Sunday of 2012: In which I take a few photos at random.

I somehow managed to squeeze 52 weeks of shots out of all the book-bearing surfaces of my home (—oh—I did one week from my office).

For the last in this series (yay!) I simply walked through the rooms of the house, took a few shots, and then put them in digital frames.

For the most part, my method was thoughtless, although I did grab a pic of a bookcase new to our house (second pic, top left) that dominates my son’s room.

I also took a pic of Perec’s essay collection because one of his essays inspired this (awful, awful) project.

From that essay, “The Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books”:

We should first of all distinguish stable classifications from provisional ones. Stable classifications are those which, in principle, you continue to respect; provisional classifications are those supposed to last only a few days, the time it takes for a book to discover, or rediscover, its definitive place. This may be a book recently acquired and not read yet, or else a book recently read that you don’t quite know where to place and which you have promised to yourself you will put away on the occasion of a forthcoming ‘great arranging’, or else a book whose reading has been interrupted and that you don’t to classify before taking it up again and finishing it, or else a book you have used constantly over a given period, or else a book you have taken down to look up a piece of information or a reference and which you haven’t yet put back in its place, or else a book that you can’t put back in its place, or else a book that you can’t put back in its rightful place because it doesn’t belong to you and you’ve several times promised to give it back, etc.

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So, what did I get out of doing this project?

1. Photographing books is difficult—I mean physically. They all reflect light differently.

2. Doing a regularly-scheduled project is difficult.

3. I have too many books.

Okay. That’s it. Finis.

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December 23, 2012

Book Shelves #52, 12.23.2012

by Biblioklept

Book shelves series #52, fifty-second Sunday of 2012: In which, in this penultimate chapter, we return to the site of entry #1.

The first entry in this project was my bedside nightstand. This is what it looked like back in January:

This is it this morning:

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This is the major difference:

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The Kindle Fire has changed my late night shuffling habits.

Here are the books that are in the nightstand:

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I read the Aira novel but completely forgot about it, which I’m sure says more about me than it.

Have no idea why this is in there:

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But it’s a fun book. With pictures! Sample:

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Finally, Perec’s Life A User’s Manual—this is one of my reading goals for 2013. It seems like a good way to close out this penultimate post, as one of Perec’s essays inspired this project

“Every library answers a twofold need, which is often also a twofold obsession: that of conserving certain objects (books) and that of organizing them in certain ways”

—Georges Perec, from ”Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books” (1978)

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December 16, 2012

Book Shelves #51, 12.16.2012

by Biblioklept

 

 

Book shelves series #51, fifty-first Sunday of 2012

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I am very ready for this project to be over. Two more weeks.

At this point, I’ve photographed all book shelves (and other bookbearing surfaces) in the house, but clearly the book shelves aren’t stable.

I mean, structurally, sure, they’re stable.

But their content shifts.

So this week (having three weeks left to fill), I go back to a sitting room in the front of the house where I like to read.

Above, resting on this cabinet, some current reading, including the latest DFW collection and Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

Below, a coffee table (first photographed in #7 of this series):

 

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As usual, a few coffee table books, plus several review copies that I need to look at sometime next week:

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One of the coffee table books is by Thomas Bernhard:

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To the right of the case, a bin of books—mostly review copies that come in that I plan to write more about:

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December 11, 2012

“Making Pictures Is How I Talk to the World” — Dmitry Samarov Talks to Biblioklept About His Art and Writing

by Edwin Turner
Henri by Dmitry Samarov

Dmitry Samarov is an artist and writer who lives and works in Chicago. After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993, Dmitry drove cabs for twelve years. He captured his years as a taxi driver in the stories and art of his first book Hack, which was released last year from the University of Chicago Press. Hack also exists as a blog where Dmitry continues to share his stories.

I first became aware of Dmitry’s work via Twitter; I’d been posting images of readers and books for the past year—one a day—and was thrilled to find his series of bookshelf paintings and his figure paintings. Dmitry was kind enough to talk with me over a series of emails about his art, his writing, and why you’re not likely to see any space vampire paintings from him anytime soon.

You can see more of his work at his website—or better yet, check out one of his upcoming shows if you can: “Dmitry Samarov: Bookshelf Paintings” opens January 11th, 2013, at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago, and “Pictures from a Chicago Cab” opens at the University of Central Missouri on January 23rd.

Books #6 by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: Why do you paint?

Dmitry Samarov: Making pictures is how I talk to the world. I can’t remember ever not doing it. I got in trouble for doodling in 1st Grade back in the Soviet Union and haven’t looked back since. Trying to catch a bit of the way the light changes as the day wears on or the manner in which a girl looks inward as she reads a book or how paperbacks and hardcovers on a shelf lean on each other, all these small moments and many others have occupied my time. Making marks on a surface is a way to record my time here and to show others what I saw. When I do it right they’re able to see something of what they know in my pictures.

Writing about painting is always ultimately futile—the reason one paints something is because he can’t say it and probably vice versa too—but we just can’t seem to help it, can we?

Biblioklept: You bring up your paintings of book shelves and readers—I’m particularly interested in these. Can you talk about how you approach painting figures who are reading? What’s your process? How is painting a reading figure different from a portrait where the figure gazes at the viewer?

DM: I’ve never liked posing sitters. When I paint portraits or figures they are usually friends or family rather than protagonists in a narrative I have in mind, so I like them to choose what they’re doing. If you’re gonna be sitting for an hour or two what’s more natural than to read a book? There aren’t many people who are able to just sit for long periods and when they do it creates a tension. You can see it in Lucian Freud’s great portraits, those people are weary from sitting in his dingy, gray studio. I prefer to paint people in repose—not to the point of pretending that they’re not being looked at—but neither like a bug being examined under glass. Readers are wrapped up in their own inner state rather than working to express some message an artist might be trying to impose. This is as close as I know how to portray a person as they are rather than as I’d like them to be.

Beth by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: So then, for the most part, I’m guessing you don’t photograph the subject and work from that photograph to create the painting. How does painting the sitter “live” (for lack of a better term—if there is one, please let me know!) differ from working from something like a photograph?

DM: I always prefer to work from life. The only things that are from photographs, sketches, or memory are my illustrations and some commissioned pieces. What’s always interested me is looking out at the world and making marks in reaction to what I see. Working from photographs doesn’t allow me to do that. They’re frozen and unnatural. Life never stops the way it does in a photograph. A drawing or painting can acknowledge the passage of time, the light changing, and many other things much better. But, of course, I’m very biased about this.

To me a picture should be a collection of many moments. It’s made in the space between the subject and the artist’s eyes and mind. It’s a conversation, a back-and-forth. I can’t have that same conversation with a photograph or even with one of my own memories for that matter.

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Biblioklept: I think your paintings show the energy of that conversation. Can you talk a bit about your book paintings? When did you start painting images of book shelves? Are the shelves your own?

DM: I started doing the book paintings about fifteen years ago and return to them every few years. I think I was looking for a way to do still-life without setting anything up. I like the way the books lean against each other, the crevices formed in the gaps between them, and the way the overall structure and character of a shelf changes over time as books are removed and replaced. It’s also always been funny to me to be painting the outsides of books so much of what a book is is contained between the covers.

The shallow space of a bookshelf also offers a different kind of challenge than the kind of vantage points I usually gravitate to. At times it becomes an almost abstract arrangement of shapes. Despite all that, these are my bookshelves and I have read most of these books. It’s just one more way to engage with them and who wouldn’t want that?

Biblioklept: I’ve tried to photograph all of my bookshelves this year as part of a project on the site and it’s turned out to be much more difficult than I imagined—the way the light hits differently textured covers, and so on.

Since we’ve been talking about books and paintings of books and readers, I’m curious about paintings that you love (or hate) of readers and books—are there any particular paintings that come to mind?

DM: I like a lot of the 19th Century trompe l’oeil paintings by Harnett, Peto, et al. There’s a new thing lately of painting bookshelves with every title clearly visible. I think it’s a kind of showing-off, of letting people know how learned or in-the-know you are. I’m not a fan of that. I use text in some of my paintings but it’s often for visual reasons, if the color of the lettering on a particular spine contrasts in an interesting way with the book next to it, say, I may emphasize that. It’s always in the service of the entire picture rather than some sort of status report. Also the hand-painted Penguin paperback covers.: cute but pretty quickly forgettable.

Mistaken by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: Let’s talk about the intersection of your writing and your illustration. First, I’m curious about Hack. The University of Chicago Press put out a collection of your stories  (with illustrations) under that name last year, but you also have earlier versions of Hack in old school zine form, as well as a blog that features new writing. I’m curious how you think of Hack—do you think of it as an ongoing project? A book? A blog? A persona even?

DM: Hack started as a zine around 2000 as a way for me to make sense of my three years driving a cab in Boston (1993-1997). It was called Hack because the license to operate a taxi in Boston was called a Hackney Carriage License and they used to call cabbies hacks in the old days. It was my first attempt at writing outside of school homework assignments and there really wasn’t much writing, it was mostly pictures. Those pictures were a challenge too because, as I’ve said, I work primarily from direct observation and the only way to do these were from memory. These illustrations were made to work together with the words, not to stand on their own and that has continued to be the case through the whole history of Hack.

I started driving a taxi in Chicago in 2003 and revived Hack as a blog late in 2006. To my surprise, it got notice pretty quickly from some in the local press—Whet Moser, then of the Chicago Reader especially—-and my high school pal John Hodgman mentioning it in a magazine didn’t hurt either. That got it noticed by a publicist at University of Chicago Press named Levi Stahl. He bought a copy of my self-published compilation (see the third one down) and eventually pitched Hack as a book to his employers. They published it in October 2011.

I stopped driving last summer and spent a couple of months putting together a second book. It’s all ready to go. I’m just waiting for a publisher to snap it up. The new one expands on a lot of the themes of the first book and spans my entire cab career, from 1993 to 2012. I’m a much better writer from having gone through the editing process on the first book and from the sheer amount of writing in various venues that I’ve done over the last few years.

I don’t know that Hack is/was a persona but it’s certainly gotten me more attention than anything else I’ve done.

Biblioklept: When you were working on the pieces for Hack, did you start with the illustrations or the words?

DM: The illustrations were always first. They were my way into the writing. I went over the phrases I’d use as I was working on the pictures. That’s the way it goes to this day for the most part. I always have been and always will be a painter first.

"You Know Where I'm Going" by Dmitry Samarov
“You Know Where I’m Going” by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: The pieces of Hack I’ve read seem to channel the stories of your passengers—there’s a lucid straightforwardness about them that I like. How conscientious of style are you when you’re writing? How much do you edit?

DM: I edit a lot. I use as few words as possible. It’s evolved over time of course. When I started I leaned really heavily on ellipses as a transitional device. I cribbed that from Celine’s Death on the Installment Plan. Editing the entries for the first book cured me of that. In general the cab stories take their inspiration from Nelson Algren’s advice to just go out into the streets and listen to the way people speak and to write that down as simply as possible.

At it’s best my writing tries to do what my painting does: to relay what I see and here out in the world. I try my best to stay out of the way because everything out there is so much more interesting than anything I could ever dream up.

Celine by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: You know, I almost referenced Celine in my last question, because the ellipses are clearly a major stylistic device in your self-published version of Hack (and also because I dig your painting Celine). You bring up Algren—what other writers do you admire?

DM: Algren is a real touchstone because he introduced me to Chicago a few years before I even arrived here in 1990 to attend the School of the Art Institute. There are many others. I love Joseph Mitchell’s Up in the Old Hotel and Luc Sante’s Kill All Your Darlings as models for ways of writing different sorts of personal essays. William Gaddis’s books, especially JR, for the way he captures American speech and Cormac McCarthy, especially Suttree, for descriptions of physical environment.

Lately I’ve been looking into forgotten local authors a lot and writing about them at Writers No One Reads. A sense of specific place is very important to me.

I don’t have any aspirations to write fiction but usually, as long as it’s rooted in reality, I’ll probably read it.

Vachel Lindsay by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: You’ve returned to the idea of reality a few times in our conversation, and your paintings and illustrations seem to evoke a strong sense of place. Why is depicting real scenes important to you? I’m guessing we won’t see a series of space vampires from Dmitry Samarov anytime soon . . .

DM: Writers and painters who use space vampires, fantastic worlds, etc. probably just have more imagination than me. Or perhaps the everyday world doesn’t provide them with enough inspiration or subject-matter to say what they need to say. I don’t have that problem. For me just looking out the window for a moment as I type this gives a glimpse of a thousand paintings I could try to paint. What’s out there is within my scope of vision is as limitless as outer space must be to sci-fi writer or a dream must be to a fantasist. The few times I’ve tried to resort to my imagination I’ve found it at once limiting, hopelessly random, and sadly wanting. How could I choose one thing rather than another and what would it matter? There are still many choices to be made when working from what’s before me but it doesn’t feel random and meaningless in the same way. It’s more that I’m pushing against something that’s actually there and it’s pushing back at me.

But maybe I’ll switch to space vampires after I get bored with reality.

Biblioklept: Do you paint or draw every day? Do you write every day?

DM: I try to paint, draw, or write something most days. It’s a much better day when I have than when I haven’t, that’s for sure. The internet has made it possible to share every stray scrap that one comes up with and I’m probably guilty of putting too much out there for others to see, but I’ve always thought of all my work as being public, that part that’s for me is just the doing. After I’m done, it has to sink or swim on its own and for that viewers and readers are needed. The internet is like a big messy studio where (hopefully) over time all the false starts and failures will be forgotten, ignored, or swept away and the worthwhile things will have whatever life they deserve. What I’m trying to say is that most of hat I do is probably crap but that maybe there’s some value in sharing it with others and letting them judge rather than holding things close and only showing them the ones that I’m convinced are good. In any case it’s nearly impossible to say right after finishing a picture whether it’ll speak to people or is just a rehash of something done before or a waste of time I’ve somehow convinced myself to push on with. I hope in twenty or thirty years to look back and be able to say that I’ve made a couple of things that were worthwhile.

Biblioklept: So do you find it hard to judge or evaluate your own work?

DM: Not at the time I’m doing it. I throw away plenty. But with the benefit of, say, a year or five or ten, things I thought weren’t bad turn out to look awful and occasionally, vice versa. As a rule though, I think once I’ve decided to let something out into the world it’s no longer my job to evaluate it. If I thought enough of it not to burn or paint over it it has to try to survive on its own steam.

Martina by Dmitry Samarov

Biblioklept: What are you working on right now?

DM: Well, I finished a second book of illustrated cab stories. It’s called WHERE TO? More Stories from a Hack and covers from when I first drove in Boston in 1993 until the summer of 2012 when I gave my last cab ride. It goes deeper into the inner workings of the cab industry, the people who take cabs, attempts to answer why I decided to drive a cab in the first place. I’m still looking for a publisher for it.

I’ve been writing and illustrating occasional baseball-related pieces for Chicago Side’s sports section, working on illustrations for various other projects, and finishing up my first book review for the Chicago Tribune’s literary supplement, Printers Row, on a recently-reissued forgotten novel called Diversey. Also I have two art shows coming up in January and another in February. On January 11th, “Dmitry Samarov: Bookshelf Paintings” opens at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. On January 23rd, “Pictures from a Chicago Cab” opens at the University of Central Missouri.

All that and doing my best not to have to go back to a day-job. I haven’t driven a cab in about five-and-a-half months and have really gotten to love not having to leave the house much.

Biblioklept: Have you ever stolen a book?

DM: I used to steal ‘em all the time. I had a good scam going when I was school changing price-tags on expensive art books, getting $100 ones for $20 and such. I used to steal a lot of things. I wrote a whole thing about it for The Handshake.

Biblioklept: Can you talk about a particular book you remember stealing?

DM: I stole this beautiful Giacometti book from Powell’s sometime in the early-90s and wound up having to sell it at Myopic Books in the late-90s for much less than it was worth when I was broke and between jobs. I’ve sold off tons of great books and records over the years. I’m neither the most careful collector nor blessed with much foresight as to what might or might not be valuable in the future.

December 9, 2012

Book Shelves #50, 12.09.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #50, fiftieth Sunday of 2012

There are fifty-three Sundays in 2012. I ran out of book shelves last week.

Here are some shelves/books from my office (work).

One wall is floor-to ceiling shelves—the whole wall—but most of the space is filled with files, folders, and professional books.

I tried to picture some of my favorite stuff—dictionaries, guides, and anthologies that remain inspiring.

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There is also a little corner where I keep stuff I read in my office—review copies or other books that I work with when I have a spare hour.

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Here’s a shelf (double stacked, as you might be able to see) that gets constantly shifted around. There are a couple of books about usage here that I like to bring into the classroom.

Of course, the best usage guide is Strunk & White’s classic:

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This illustrated copy was a gift from some dear friends.

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Joseph T. Shipley’s The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots is a favorite.

Interior sample:

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November 25, 2012

Book Shelves #48, 11.25.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #48, forty-eighth Sunday of 2012

Another doublestocked shelf: The front stack (on the right) are all books I’ve been intending to read at some point, or been reading slowly or piecemeal. Behind and to the left: Lots of old hardbacks—some Yeats, some H.G. Wells, Arthurian legends, and Shakespeare-related texts. A totally misshelved and out-of date Lonely Planet guide (why is it there?). Some Asimov. A few faves:

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November 18, 2012

Book Shelves #47, 11.18.2012

by Biblioklept

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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:

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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.

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The illustrated Kidnapped features art by N.C. Wyeth:

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The illustrated Kipling was actually my father’s:

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Have you read Adam Novy’s novel The Avian Gospels? It’s good stuff.

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Like many bibliophiles, I’m a sucker for plain Penguins:

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November 11, 2012

Book Shelves #46, 11.11.2012

by Biblioklept

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Moving left:

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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:

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This whole project I blame on an essay by Georges Perec, collected in this one:

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This is one of my favorite book covers:

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More covers I like from this shelf:

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November 4, 2012

Book Shelves #45, 11.04.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #45, forty-fifth Sunday of 2012

Yon shelf, murky, dim:

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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.

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Front layer:

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Back layer, including a number of volumes (to be clear: Chabon, Martel, Diaz, Eugenides) I should just trade in.

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(Also: I hate this project and wish I’d never started it).

October 28, 2012

Book Shelves #44, 10.28.2012

by Biblioklept

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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 . . .

October 7, 2012

Book Shelves #41, 10.07.2012

by Biblioklept

 

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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:

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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:

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Charles Burns also shows up in this section, which includes stuff by R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Art Spiegelman, and more:

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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):

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Nausicaä spread out on my couch. (My son and I ended up looking through them for an hour):

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September 30, 2012

Book Shelves #40, 9.30.2012

by Biblioklept

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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.

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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:

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Sample:

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This is a wonderful old collection:

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

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

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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.

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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):

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September 23, 2012

Book Shelves #39, 9.23.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #39, thirty-ninth Sunday of 2012

Too many beers yesterday. Can’t write anything good.

Can’t even take a decent pic.

Ten of these shelves hold books; hence books shelves #40-49.

And then there’s another bookcase in this weird workshop space, so that’ll be #50.

And then I’ll revisit the thing that I keep review copies in. And then my nightstand, which was #1.

So that’ll be like, #s 51 and 52.

And since there are 53 Sundays in 2012 I’ll do some kind of summary post.

And then I’ll be done thank God.

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September 16, 2012

Book Shelves #38, 9.16.2012

by Biblioklept

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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:

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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:

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

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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:

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

September 2, 2012

Book Shelves #36, 9.02.2012

by Biblioklept

 

 

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

August 26, 2012

Book Shelves #35, 8.27.2012

by Biblioklept

 

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Book shelves series #35, thirty-fifth Sunday of 2012

Corner case in the family room. Today’s shelf:

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The depth makes getting the shadow off the shot almost impossible without using additional lighting.

Note the use of mortar and pestle as bookend, a genteel move that screams respectability.

Volumes on this shelf include:

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And:

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As well as The Ivory Trail, inscribed by my the mother of one of best friends of early childhood (and attributed to him):

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August 19, 2012

Book Shelves #34, 8.19.2012

by Biblioklept

 

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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

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

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

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A comic from the McSweeney’s by Michael Kupperman:

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August 12, 2012

Book Shelves #33, 8.12.2012

by Biblioklept

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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:

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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”):

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July 29, 2012

Book Shelves #31, 7.29.2012

by Biblioklept

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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I must have done hundreds of these as a kid:

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

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

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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:

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And here’s Roy Lichtenstein:

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July 22, 2012

Book Shelves #30, 7.21.2012

by Biblioklept

 

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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:

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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:

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

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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):

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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:

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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:

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