In curating your ideal bookshelf, you are constructing an expression of yourself in that specific moment: what’s important to you right now? The contributors to My Ideal Bookshelf have different ideas of import. Some focus on reference, others on beloved texts, others on texts they haven’t read yet but want to or think they need to. As an editor at heart, curation comes naturally to me: my spring cleanings are more ruthless culls. With my birthday on Tuesday, I thought this would be a good time to start a new tradition: to celebrate my nativity each year, I will curate my ideal bookshelf, so that I may count my rings in the future. The rules? Ten books I would actually use as reference material. Commence shakedown.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s no question that it can make a difference!
What book(s) have your favorite covers? Something that’s perfect for the story, the tone, the colors, the mood…
And did you pick up the book BECAUSE of the cover? Or were you going to read it anyway, and the cover was just serendipitous?
I am stupidly easy to distract with a beautiful cover. While I can’t be too picky at the moment, as I rely mostly on libraries for my books and get whatever edition they happen to have on hand, it does definitely flavor my reading experience. What I can say? I’m a really visual person.
As far as favorite covers, Alan Lee’s illustrations gracing those enormous copies of The Lord of the Rings are jaw-droppingly beautiful; they focus on monuments in Middle-Earth, giving your imagination a bit of wiggle room. Rock and Roll is Here to Stay has a lovely cover, with the text vertical instead of horizontal and limited color. I’m awful fond of the look of the Penguin Classics—you know, illustration, black box—for anything in the public domain. And the American cover for Mr. Toppit is very arresting.
I have read books solely based on their cover; again, I’m really visual and I didn’t really read as a kid. I specifically remember stumbling across the gorgeous cover to The Gigolo Murder, done by Tomer Hanuka, and snatching up The Kiss Murder because of its cover. A decent read, but nothing really amazing, you know?
Rock and Roll is Here to Stay edited by William McKeen
Every summer, I like to have a project, and this summer, it was supposed to be acquainting myself with film. Towards the end of the summer, however, it ended up acquainting myself with rock music. Part of the reason I read so voraciously is that I lack a lot of context, and one of those contexts is popular music. Hence The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll. But while I was poking around the 800s in the nonfiction section at the library, I stumbled across this anthology and thought it sounded very interesting, so I determined to read it once I had an overview. And I ended up reading a six hundred page anthology while I desperately needed to boost my posting buffer. Of course.