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My Ideal Bookshelf Hardcover – November 13, 2012
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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"A perfect gift for avid and reluctant readers alike--a celebration of the depth and breadth of the written word's shaping of our lives that will guide readers to new favorites while simultaneously causing them to think about their own ideal bookshelves."―Shelf Awareness
"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
Jane Mount is an artist and illustrator. Her paintings of bookshelves have caught the eye of media outlets like The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Daily Candy, and InStyle, among others. She lives in northern California with her husband and two cats.
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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And how will you leverage this idea with your team at work, your family and friends, your small group and your social media followers?
The co-creators of "My Ideal Bookshelf" have served up a unique coffee table book that, at least momentarily, is more compelling than YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
The idea: invite over 100 leading cultural figures "to share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world."
So, for example, Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, "The Tipping Point" and other books, shares 12 books that have influenced him. His next book is about crime, so he acquired 150 books on the subject.
Gladwell writes, "I haven't read them all, and I won't. Some of them I'll just look at. But that's the fun part. It's an excuse to go on Amazon. The problem is, of course, that eventually you have to stop yourself. Otherwise you'll collect books forever. But these books are markers for ideas that I'm interested in. That's why it's so important to have physical books.
"When I see my bookshelf expanding, it gives me the illusion that my brain is expanding, too."
Across the page from Gladwell's book journey commentary is an original painting of his ideal bookshelf--showcasing the book spines creatively sorted by color and size. Amazingly, artist Jane Mount created 100 original paintings for this impressive work.
You cannot resist browsing this book! Hmmm. I wonder what's on Atul Gawande's (author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right) bookshelf? Have I read any of his favorites?
Another writer, Andrew Sean Greer, confesses that he steals ideas from other books and "I have finally forgiven myself for not reading everything in the entire world."
A chef and writer, Gabrielle Hamilton (one of the few to include a Bible, the King James Version), writes, "I think all of these books give the reader permission to break the rules." Then referencing Jackson Pollock and e.e. cummings, she adds, "You can't start out using all lowercase letters and no punctuation. You have to know all the rules first. Then you can play."
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing, was one of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk's picks. His theme--the importance of perseverance.
An illustrator and artist, Oliver Jeffers, opens his profile with this: "I picked all of these books because I think you should always judge a book by its cover--or its spine, in this case."
With a nod to high tech, Nico Mulhy, a classical music composer, showcases his iPad favorites on an iBook screen, painted sparingly with low tech brushes.
The mega writer James Patterson crammed 18 picks onto his ideal bookshelf. His profile enlightened: "For better or worse, I get right into the story. It's like that rule of real estate, `Location, location, location,' except for me it's `Story, story, story.' I think it'd be disastrous if everyone wrote the way I do. But I think it's good that somebody does."
The challenge was too overwhelming for Francine Prose, a writer, to pick her ideal bookshelf because "there are a gazillion bookshelves in my house." So she picked her all-Chekhov shelf. That was interesting, but more so her commentary about the difference between short-story writers and novelists (and baggy writing). "But then I remember that Chekhov wrote six hundred stories. And that he died at the young age of forty-four. David Gates asked this about Charles Dickens, but you could ask it about Chekhov, too: `Was he a Martian?' He was not from this planet."
"Sometimes I meet ministers, and I always say to them," writes David Sedaris (a writer), "'If I had a church, I'd read a Tobias Wolff story every week, and then I'd say to people, "Go home."' There's nothing else you would need to say. Every story is a manual on how to be a good person, but without ever being preachy. They're deeply moral stories; the best of them read like parables."
I bought "My Ideal Bookshelf" when it was published last November and I've savored this morsel, page-by-page, over many insightful evenings. Some closing thoughts:
* I love books and I'm in good company.
* Whew! I've hardly read anything! Where did I miss that one?
* What fun--to inspire others to read with such a visually-pleasing invitation to browse 100 bookshelves.
So what's on your ideal bookshelf? The graphic on the last page invites you to fill in the titles of 10 books you can't live without.
I made my picks and staged my photo--and I'm already remorseful about 10 other books I ignored.