LibraryThing Author:
A. Bowdoin Van Riper

A. Bowdoin Van Riper is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Member: ABVR

CollectionsYour library (3,322), Wishlist (592), To read (498), Currently reading (3), Queued (10), Read (2,823), Sale & Swap (101), Weeded (179), All collections (5,920)

Reviews214 reviews

Tags@Garage (1,271), science fiction (965), @Office (852), American history (639), popular culture (623), 20C (561), @Living Room (503), mystery fiction (479), World War II (424), thriller fiction (404) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

Recommendations29 recommendations

About meI'm a writer, editor, and teacher on subjects related to the intersection of science and technology with society and culture. Born and raised in southern New England, I'm now (happily) back there after 27 years spent in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and South -- an unassimilated Yankee who loves the sea, the snow, bay scallops, and good clam chowder. For the demographically curious, I . . . was born in 1963, am the son of a teacher and a social worker, am 6' 3" tall, am left-handed, attended public schools, have a PhD (University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1990) drive an aging Toyota minivan, sail a vintage 21-foot racing sloop, and have owned seven Macintosh computers since 1987, but still hasn't gotten around to getting a smartphone (i- or otherwise).

About my libraryMy LibraryThing library is mostly books on history, science, technology, and popular culture, along with a lot of classic science fiction, pre-1920 British poetry, maritime history, mysteries & thrillers. There are also clumps of books about language, mass media, constitutional law, baseball, archaeology, yacht racing, and Antarctic exploration, among other things.

A few words about collections terminology:

My Library encompasses the books I actually own, whether I've read them or not. I generally don't keep recreational books when I'm done reading them, so most of this collection falls into one of four categories: 1) Books I picked up to use in my teaching and research; 2) Books I picked up for recreational reading and haven't gotten around to yet; 3) Books I inherited from my grandparents and my father, and kept because the subject interested me; 4) Books I hung onto for emotional reasons (tags: sentimental value, childhood favorite, know the author).

Read books are what it says on the label: books I know I've read, regardless of whether I still own a copy. The list is (inevitably) incomplete and (also inevitably) skewed toward the recent and the memorable. It excludes, with a very small handful of exceptions (tags: sentimental value, childhood favorite), books I read when I was a kid, and books I read to my kids.

Wishlist includes books I know I want to own (tag: #To Buy), recreational books I'm interested in reading but would rather get from a library or swap site [tag: #Library (Rec)], and work-related books I want to get out of the library to look at so I can decide whether I want (or need) to own them [tag: #Library (Pro)].

Weeded books are ones I found interesting enough to own once, got rid of without reading them, but (because of that initial interest) still feel a connection to.

Sale & Swap are books that currently have posted for sale on Amazon Marketplace or EBay, or available for trade on BookMooch or PaperbackSwap, which are in my possession, but don't feel like part of "My Library."

I also maintain an entirely separate LT account (user ID: Silverheels) as a sort of secondary wishlist -- a way to keep track of books that I'm not immediately interested in reading or buying, but want to remember are out there.

GroupsBoats and Sailing, BookCrossers, BookMooching, Books in 2025: The Future of the Book World, Combiners!, Crime, Thriller & Mystery, History of Science/Technology/Medicine, History: On learning from and writing history, Hobnob with Authors, Legacy Librariesshow all groups

Favorite authorsDavid McCullough, John McPhee, Robert B. Parker, Mike Resnick, Spider Robinson (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstoresAvol's Bookstore, Bookmiser - Marietta, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Once & Again Books - East Cobb, The Book Den East, The Book Nook (Marietta)

Favorite librariesBritish Museum - Central Library, Brown University - John Hay Library, C.K. Leith Library of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Vineyard Haven Public Library, Wellesley Free Library Fells Branch, Wisconsin Historical Society - Library and Archives


Also onAmazon, BookCrossing, BookMooch, Facebook, Goodreads, PaperBackSwap, Take11, Wikipedia

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameA. Bowdoin Van Riper

LocationVineyard Haven, MA

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/ABVR (profile)
/catalog/ABVR (library)

Member sinceNov 12, 2005

Currently readingWhat Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting by Marc Norman
Midway by Hugh Bicheno
Maelstrom by Sam Llewellyn

Leave a comment


Happy 8-year Thingaversary!
What a beautiful little review of Shallow Water Dictionary. (I'm ashamed to say that the bookmark's superfluity didn't strike me until I read it, though.)
In Paperbackswap I have some ocean liner books take a look and see if you are interested in anything
I am trying to remember a name of a book where it was a Father and Son who where submarine commander or something like that, that is all I remember.

The dust jacket was blue I think

thanks for the help
Hi! I just started reading it (Steaming into the Victorian Future) this afternoon -- very excited to see what everyone's written.

And yes, about the paperback. I have quite a few friends who want to read it, but alas, not at that price. Fingers crossed!
Given your resume, curious if you know about Linda Hall Library here in our fair city of Kansas City. I did a cover story about them for the KC Star Sunday magazine a few years ago and would send you a digital copy if interested. What a place. I'm rather sure you'd like to visit.
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