Today marks the start of an ongoing series that documents reader bookshelves. We will ask the same 5 questions of each reader who shares their shelf with us. 5 photos, 5 questions. My own bookshelf will start the series.
What is your favorite book on this shelf?
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. It’s a McSweeney’s first edition and it is beautiful. I bought it at The Strand and then had a chance to meet Eggers at a reading a short while later. He signed the inside by drawing me a picture of half of a three-eyed dog. [Ed.: Check our twitter for a photo.]
How do you organize your books?
I usually just put my favorites in the most prominent places, then try to alphabetize a little bit, then (maybe this is a girl thing) make them look pretty. I really hate a book that has an ugly cover. My husband’s Solzhenitsyn collection haunted my dreams for years. The back covers all have these giant-size photographs of the author. Not that he’s not a particularly unattractive man, but…
I think this shelf is a pretty good example of the marriage of two types of readers. My part of it is a mix of styles–poetic (Ondaatje) and terse (ol’ Papa), dramatic and comedic (Eggers), hell-raising (Kerouac) and meandering (Krauss). All the Faulkner, Camus and Kapuscinski, plus the nonfiction belongs to my husband. He’s also a huge Nicholson Baker fan. The shelf also has glass doors so our dog can’t eat the books and collectibles.
Be honest. What percentage of the books on this shelf have you actually read?
Ha! I actually figured this out. Of the books that are mine, I’ve read 57%. Not great, but not bad either. Also, I’m excluding books that I’ve only read halfway through.
What book do you plan to read next?
The book sitting on top of the shelf, which is an edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Yayoi Kusama. She recently had an exhibit at SAM that was so mesmerizing–a wall of hot pink (and like, electric hot pink) with neon orange polka dots that you couldn’t look away from–that I had to get the book. Also, I’ve never read the actual text of the story.
Wild Card Question: What’s the deal with the tiny gun?
I got it in Georgetown. It’s an old cap gun. I have a couple others, one that is even tinier and one that is regular size and looks frighteningly real.
Think your bookcase has what it takes? We’d love to take a look! Send us your photos!