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Member: aquaticus

CollectionsYour library (13,155), Wishlist (849), Removed (5), Screenwish (192), Media (287), Read but unowned (13), Recovered books (2), All collections (14,318)


Tagsfiction (4,494), history (2,223), Penguin Classics (1,893), English literature (1,802), American literature (1,338), philosophy (919), psychology (865), anthology (860), short stories (845), Great Courses (705) — see all tags

MediaBook (13,168), Paper Book (12,928), Audiobook (83), Ebook (5), Book + Cards (134), Ringed Binder (3), Spiral Bound (15), Sound Recording (136), CD sound recording (24), Tape (Cassette, etc.) sound recording (84), Streaming audio (28), Video Recording (613), DVD (105), VHS (11), Blu-ray (3), Streaming video (494), Other (362), Printed music (1), Map (2), Cardboard Wheel (1), Cards (356), Unknown (1)

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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. So to explore an area of knowledge or a genre of literature, or to pick up a new skill, I'll read multiple authors on the same general topic and my library reflects that.

“Beware the man of one book.” - Thomas Aquinas, theologian

Bookshelves: As my photos attest, walls covered floor-to-ceiling with books has been a desire since childhood. Half my books are now on custom built-in shelving, most just deep enough to accommodate various common book sizes, so 5.5" deep (14cm) or less. The rest are on simple hand-built shelving or boxed. My son has his own LT account.

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 a very heavy focus on a few topics of interest.

Hoarding? I have well over 12,000 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, like the Sources of Civilization series.

Random tags with 7 or more books (I love tags): 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, conlang, 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 bulk classics publishers, copious footnotes; Wiki article
Penguin Classics: The mother of all classics series IMHO, 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


LocationSomerville, Massachusetts, USA

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/aquaticus (profile)
/catalog/aquaticus (library)

Member sinceJul 18, 2007

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