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My Ideal Bookshelf Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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"The books we cherish speak volumes about us, and the delightful new hardcover My Ideal Bookshelf offers a peek at those that have shaped the lives of dozens of celebrities, including rocker Patti Smith, writer Malcolm Gladwell, and skateboarder Tony Hawk, who says his choices 'are about pushing the boundaries of the mainstream.' Charmingly illustrated by Jane Mount, this is a book to savor and share."―Parade
"A bibliophilic feast for the eye, mind, heart and soul."―Kirkus
"a perfect coffee table book. . ."―Publisher's Weekly
"the 100 writers, designers, chefs, artists, musicians, and others collected here turned in titles that, taken together, conspire to form the ultimate creative person's reading list."―Vogue
". . . so addicting and thoughtful it makes a solid mainstream case for bookshelf porn."―-Chicago Tribune
". . . the colorful, wonderful new offering edited by Thessaly La Force and illustrated in bookish splendor by Jane Mount."―- New York Daily News
About the Author
Thessaly La Force is a writer and editor who has worked at The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and the New York Public Library. She is currently attending the Iowa Writer's Workshop and is working on a collection of short stories about objects and aesthetics. Thessaly divides her time between Iowa City and New York City; she also has two cats and shares a birthday with Jane.
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Top Customer Reviews
My Ideal Bookshelf is an interesting thought experiment. A great deal of the pleasure in reading it comes from spotting a familiar title on one of these imaginary bookshelves, then scanning your own real world library and seeing a physical copy of it nestled between bookends. It's also great fun trying to create your own list of essentials. What books changed you as a person, formed you into the embittered attorney or giddy anesthesiologist or cheeky carpenter you are today? Which novels or essays do you carry around inside your skull?
The range of people who answered these questions is interesting, but narrow. Most are familiar names from the worlds of writing, film, and art. The book goes through them alphabetically and assumes you know who each person is, although you will find single paragraph micro-biographies at the very back of the book if you find yourself asking, "Who?" There's no explanation as to why this particular set of folks was chosen, which suggests convenience and cooperation as the motivating factors, but you should be able to find at least two or three who grab your attention, no matter what your interests.
The real strength of this book is the illustrations. Each book spine is beautifully detailed and painstakingly accurate. You will be surprised by how a font or particular shade of orange will instantly call up a memory of the novel before you even look at the title. Book covers are designed to seize hold of your eyes as you scan a crowded shelf, and the drawings here display the many different ways publishers have tried to make their products stand out. Simplicity, explosions of color, delicate linework, or blocky leaden letters.Read more ›
However, I'm still giving this 4-stars, because of the whole package. My teen daughter is an artist, and so I've become much more aware of art, and this is a BEAUTIFUL book, so it would be perfect as a coffee table book or library feature. The entry from each person appears on one side of the page, and the other side has a full-page drawing of the books (similar to the one featured on the cover).
There are quite a few authors featured, but there are also several artists -- from all sorts of fields -- chefs and professionals from other careers, so the books that are featured are not for bookworms only.
If you take pleasure in browsing bookstores and libraries, you will love this book. If you are looking for book recommendations from a diverse group of people (including writers, artists, designers, musicians, movie stars and athletes), you will love this book. If you want to learn more about (or simply pass judgment on) that diverse group of people, you will love this book. If you appreciate aesthetically pleasing book covers (or spines, as is the case here), you will love this book.
If you're against the idea of reading a book about books, you are not going to like this book. If the names Stephenie Meyer and James Patterson are enough to make you write off a book that also includes entries from Jennifer Egan, George Saunders, Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz...well, get over yourself.
There is an account, in the back of the book, of each contributor in alphabetical order with their professional category and the list of their books.
The problem occurs when you read their narrative; 10 books might be pictured, but they only describe a few of them. It's almost like a tease; I really was expecting a full portrayal of their perfect bookshelf, not just a sampling of a few.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a gift for someone. Book was received brand new and receiver of gift expressed two thumbs up.Published 2 months ago by A2serendipity
The editor of this book, My Ideal Bookshelf, asked famous writers, chefs, filmmakers and dancers to select a small shelf of books that represents them. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lhea J. Love
Love this book. Love the Art. Love the personal essays. A total keeper for years to come.Published 9 months ago by Amanda H.
Read it. Passed it on to the library sale. Guess I'm not all that interested in what other's are reading.Published 9 months ago by K Axtmann
A gift to my daughter and she is really enjoying it. Trying to make her own Book Shelf!Published 10 months ago by Daphne J Rhine
What a gorgeous book! The cover is exquisite and I loved poring over the illustrator’s depictions of the different titles mentioned. Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by bookfanatic1979