CollectionsYour library (12,999), Wishlist (816), Removed (5), Screenwish (192), Media (287), Read but unowned (7), All collections (14,124)
Tagsfiction (4,475), history (2,222), Penguin Classics (1,886), English literature (1,799), American literature (1,314), philosophy (917), anthology (856), psychology (854), short stories (838), Great Courses (636) — see all tags
MediaBook (13,107), Paper Book (12,880), Audiobook (83), Ebook (2), Book + Cards (125), Ringed Binder (3), Spiral Bound (14), Sound Recording (130), CD sound recording (24), Tape (Cassette, etc.) sound recording (84), Streaming audio (22), Video Recording (550), DVD (101), VHS (11), Blu-ray (3), Streaming video (435), Other (337), Printed music (1), Map (2), Cardboard Wheel (1), Cards (331)
Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror
About meJust some American guy with broad interests and a zest for the classics and foreign languages and literatures.
I'm skeptical of any single source of information. To explore an area of knowledge or a genre of literature, or to pick up a new skill, I'll read multiple works on the same general topic and my library reflects that.
“Beware the man of one book.” - Thomas Aquinas, theologian
Bookshelves: As my photos suggest, walls covered floor-to-ceiling with books has been a desire since childhood. Half my books are now on custom built-in shelving, most very shallow at 5.5" deep (14cm) or less. The rest are on hand-built shelving or boxed.
Dabbling in screenwriting on and off for years, I've acquired about 400 works focusing on motion picture authorship. Who knows if I’ll ever sell a screenplay, but I have learned a ludicrous amount about the process.
“Dude, where’s my car?” - Philip Stark, screenwriter
About my libraryClassics-centered, eclectic, fairly academic, with heavy focus on a few topics.
Hoarding? I have well over 10,000 books and I tend to collect certain series. At one point, I had to ask myself whether I might be a hoarder. But my books don't get in my way, they enrich me. I enjoy reading and displaying them. So I checked and I'm a collector, not a hoarder. Many people reading this are collectors too.
Tags and Covers: Viewing this library via tags and then covers is productive because I tag everything and upload substitutes to missing or fuzzy covers. The online visual provides me with a memory peg for what I've read or want to read and I love browsing book covers anyway. I've always enjoyed book cover design, particularly a theme carried out in an interesting visual way, such as with the Sources of Civilization series, when viewed by covers.
Random tags with 7 or more books: complexity, world building, disaster preparedness, Appalachia, cetaceans, food politics, Peru, industrial design, sign language, Australian literature, doppelganger, running, slave narrative, tetralogy, music theory, consumerism, cyberpunk, philosophy of religion, boarding school, history of technology, evolutionary psychology, mashup, deconstruction, marine biology, Dravidian literature, swashbuckling, quantum mechanics, messianism, caste, roman à clef, political economy, baroque, memetics, colonial America, evil, recreational mathematics, occult, personal space, willpower, Aztec, critical theory, epidemiology, agriculture, veganism, parallel text, space opera, Harlem Renaissance, Carolingian, management, Hungarian literature, espionage, art appreciation, procrastination, ontology, Mesopotamia, feral children, gastronomy, Hollywood, post-apocalyptic, Jainism, autobiographical fiction, picaresque, hiking, unreliable narrator, ballad, calculus, Berlin, vampire, nanotechnology, apologetics, investing, sociobiology, Arctic, exile, history of philosophy, philosophy of history.
Series: Older paperbacks have been absurdly cheap for me and have enriched my library considerably. This library includes large numbers of the following classics series, primarily fiction, with tags for each.
► Everyman's Library: established by Dent & Sons in 1906, probably the granddaddy of the classics publishing paradigm; Wiki article, article
► Modern Library Classics: from 1917 soft leather covers and quite popular 1920s-1960s hardcovers to current bronze-colored paperbacks; collecting
► Oxford World's Classics: from 1920s onward; probably the most scholarly of the large classics publishers, copious footnotes; Wiki article
► Penguin Classics: The mother of all classics series always in paperback. I have over 1700 but that's a handful compared to this guy; article
► Signet Classics: cheap mass market paperbacks since August 1959; published by New American Library, a company started by a former executive of Penguin Books, which decades later purchased the company; Wiki article
► Bantam Classics: a similar series; list
► New York Review Books Classics: relatively recent series with many off-beat works appealing to the urbane sophisticate. I have most of them; about
► Viking Portable: high quality anthologies (now Penguin Portable); blog; history
► Bard Books: modern classics, largely Latin-American; article
And other publishers' runs of scholarly, mostly non-fiction works like...
► Dover Publications books: quality paperbacks with sturdy cardboard covers, opaque paper for minimal see-through, pages of low acidity to reduce browning and brittleness, and sewn signatures for longevity
► Penguin's Pelican books, many academic-friendly titles
► Harper Torchbooks: a series of hundreds of academic titles in trade paperback size. Meant "to build a preponderantly nonfiction counterpart to The Modern Library," which consisted mostly of fiction, poetry, and drama. The series' competition was...
► Doubleday Anchor books: mostly mass market paperbacks covering a broad array of academic topics with precocious adoption of acid-free paper so that some 50-year-old paperbacks appear brand new
► Library of Liberal Arts (Bobbs-Merrill): decidedly intellectual, decidedly dry classics
► Also Norton Library, Collier books, and Mentor books.
Looking at several dozen or hundred books with similar covers produces feelings akin to adjusting a parachute as the door of a Cessna in flight opens. Anticipation...exhilaration...fear (that I won't get to them all). Whenever a publisher's classics series adds a title, I want to buy it, because chances are, no matter the genre, whether fiction or not, reading a book deemed a classic is more than likely to release endorphins and rewire my brain with new axons and dendrites.
Bookshelves now cover so much area in my home they've become wall art. I arrange books by sets and color for aesthetics and also by height to maximize available space. I plan to level off at 12,000 books due to finite condo space. Maybe 14K. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll move.
Visitors since 2010-Jan-21:
GroupsPenguin Classics, TinyCat
Favorite authorsElaine Morgan (Shared favorites)
Favorite bookstoresBrattle Book Shop, Harvard Book Store, Lame Duck Books, McIntyre and Moore Booksellers, Raven Used Books, Schoenhof's Foreign Books, Strand Bookstore
Favorite librariesHarry Elkins Widener Memorial Library - Harvard College Library
LocationCambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Account typepublic, lifetime
Member sinceJul 18, 2007