7 responses to “What does your bookshelf say about you?”

  1. Jack

    Ooh, American Gods. Good one.

  2. John

    Is there any way to get a better resolution photo of the books, or better yet, a text listing? I currently own about 1000 books and have 2 shelves of personal favorites and really enjoyed the article. Maybe we can do a few swaps sometime.

  3. Liz

    I’m a publishing student and for me (and many many other people) it’s a natural thing to rush to the bookshelf when you’re in another person’s home. Like you said, you can tell a lot about people by looking at their books.
    It’s THE status symbol that conveys intelligence (that’s why you still see professors and various other “smart” people pictured in front of their bookshelves) – and that’s why most people feel guilty and the need to defend themselves like you did for having “lesser” literature featured in their book collection. Personally, I don’t think that makes you appear less literate, but actually genuine and likeable. Nobody reads Chaucer as guilty pleasure :)

  4. Will

    I got pointed here after some drunken stumbling through Reddit, and as chance would have it, your bookshelf == mine! Begin nerdgasm:
    Gaiman, Stephenson and Vonnegut are known by everyone and their modernist grandmother for their excellent excellence, but nice pick with Danielewski and House of Leaves! It is, by a large margin (1/2 an inch, in fact), my favorite piece of fiction ever; I wonder if we took the same Lovecraftian path towards it?

    G.E.B. is a staple for any computer scientist (Schaum’s is bleh for discrete), but I’m glad to see you went turn-of-the-century on that shit and got Nagel/Newman as well (hopefully you have the edition with Hofstadter’s preface).

    Dawkins: pretentious (and not even in Hofstadter’s disarmingly charming way), but good. Kinda crazy-militant for my godlessness, though.
    Camus: loved him in high school, but time changes all things.
    Borges: still chewing on Labyrinths myself, but I’m enjoying him.

    And because I always wished someone would stumble upon my bookshelf and be inspired enough to make a short list of things I’d love to read, here ya go!
    I Am A Strange Loop, The Mind’s I – Hofstadter
    Only Revolutions – Danielewski (make sure you get the hardcover with the eyes)
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Pirsig
    QED – Feynman
    Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
    A World Without Time – Yourgrau (Godel’s incompleteness theorem applied to time, or, 200 pages to fuck your brain by)
    I’ll close with a complete potshot at your taste in fantasy: get The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, cuz it’s the goods.

  5. Dinah

    I had three 6’x3′ bookcases filled at my house. In the last spring cleaning I looked at these books and thought: which have I not even opened in 5 years? Which do I never intend to read again? Which am I keeping only because owning them says something about me and not because of their content?

    Almost all of those in the “5 years+” category also fell into “I’ll never read them again.” The “say something about me” category felt silly when I realized that NO ONE except me and my pets see them.

    After I got over my initial pride, I got rid of all of the above. I’m now down to 1 bookshelf and my life feels better for it. (Yeah, 1 bookshelf isn’t tiny but remember: I got rid of 2/3 of my collection.)

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