November 21, 2011: Unpacking My Library

PAGES READ SINCE November 9: 445
CURRENTLY READING: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
BOOKS SET ASIDE FOR THE MOMENT: Life by Keith Richards and The Steps Across the Water by Adam Gopnik
-6,369 PAGES

I recently read an excerpt from the newly published Unpacking My Library: Writers and their Books (the eagerly anticipated sequel to Unpacking My Library: Architects and their Books) showing six writers and their book-collecting habits. Each writer is photographed in their home library with accompanying text offering a little insight into their collection and the writer’s personal top 10 list. Needless to say, this is right up my book-nerd alley: writers, books, bookshelves and lists. (Not to mention the way it deeply satisfies my nosy parker tendencies as well.)

For the most part, their bookshelves are messy, bursting at the seams. Several of the writers admit to not having much of a filing system. Many share my habit of buying more books than they can possibly read. Other details are quirky and fascinating: Gary Shteyngart, pictured (and looking fairly book-nerdish himself) likes to sniff his books. The old Soviet ones remind him of tomato soup from a cheap Soviet cafeteria. Edmund White reveals that when he “truly despises” a book he puts it in the garbage. (This reminds me of the book I purposely left on the subway because I was ashamed to be reading it, but that’s a story for another day.)

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3 Responses to November 21, 2011: Unpacking My Library

  1. leighannegraham says:

    Was it Dan Brown or Nora Roberts?

  2. Claire says:

    Gary Shteyngart might share your tendency to separate hardback vs. soft. I saw him at the IFOA. Very funny man. And a book sniffer, apparently.

  3. leighannegraham says:

    As per my tweet, I think Keith is your Robert Mapplethorpe

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