Librarians blog about the books we love right now.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Editor Thessaly LaForce challenged 100 writers, musicians and other contemporary cultural figures to "select a small shelf of books that represent you - the books that have changed your life...your favorite favorites". My Ideal Bookshelf is the result and, while too small to be a "coffee table book", could be considered a perfect demitasse. Each selection is accompanied by a short descriptive essay explaining their choices and given a stylishly unique bookshelf illustration by artist and illustrator Jane Mount.
For filmmaker Mira Nair, one book - From Citizen to Refugee by Mahood Mamdani - moved her to meet its author, now her husband. David Sedaris's shelf is filled with the short stories of Tobias Wolff and Raymond Carver. Growing up, Stephanie Meyer of Twilight series fame identified with Jane Eyre's stubborn streak and Charlotte Bronte's classic occupies the mean position on her shelf. Actor James Franco's father gave him a copy of As I Lay Dying when he was fourteen and it became his literary obsession. Writer, cartoonist and jazz musician Ishmael Reed considers Black Boy by Richard Wright his survival manual. Chef and writer Gabrielle Hamilton selected Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham as the pivotal book as one of the most angst-filled periods of her life.
I thought it would be fun and informative to fill an "ideal bookshelf" that pays homage to Melvil (Dewey). Looking back on 2012, this shortlist - one book from each of the Dewey classifications - was chosen from my own reading, recommendations from colleagues and supported by critical acclaim. So, if you check out My Ideal Bookshelf, you'll have only 10 more to go - an easy accomplishment for the remainder of the year.