My Ideal Bookshelf

( 1 )

Overview

The books that we choose to keep —let alone read— can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti ...

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My Ideal Bookshelf

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Overview

The books that we choose to keep —let alone read— can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. In MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others. With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect gift for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book.

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  • My Ideal Bookshelf
    My Ideal Bookshelf  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

This bibliophile's delight combines Jane Mount's entrancing bookshelf illustrations and Thessaly La Force's fascinating interviews on the title topic with book collector/authors including James Patterson, Patti Smith, David Sedaris, Michael Chabon, Malcolm Gladwell, and Alice Waters.

Publishers Weekly
Cutting across the disciplines of art, music, food, and literature, the celebrities interviewed here share the books that have mattered most in their lives. Their preferred titles reflect career choices (Hugh Acheson, a Southern chef whose bookshelf holds food-related tomes) or the books that influenced their childhood (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who read British literature growing up but grew to love novels by Chinua Achebe and Jamaica Kincaid). Through glimpses into these personal libraries, editor LaForce and illustrator Mount hope to expose their audience to a vast variety of literature. Indeed, the layout of the book contributes to creating a sense of cultural diversity; the alphabetizing of the contributors leaves chefs next to authors next to musicians. The beautiful and brightly colored images of book spines that accompany each interview evoke the whimsy of a personal library on a quiet, rainy Saturday with a couch and blanket nearby. The brevity of the interviews and dynamic illustrations make this a perfect coffee table book: easily skimmed and a happy and inspiring conversation starter. (Nov.)
Parade
"The books we cherish speak volumes about us, and the delightful new hardcover My Ideal Bookshelf offers a peek at those that have shaped the lives of dozens of celebrities, including rocker Patti Smith, writer Malcolm Gladwell, and skateboarder Tony Hawk, who says his choices 'are about pushing the boundaries of the mainstream.' Charmingly illustrated by Jane Mount, this is a book to savor and share."
Vogue
"the 100 writers, designers, chefs, artists, musicians, and others collected here turned in titles that, taken together, conspire to form the ultimate creative person's reading list."
New York Daily News
". . . the colorful, wonderful new offering edited by Thessaly La Force and illustrated in bookish splendor by Jane Mount."
Shelf Awareness
"A perfect gift for avid and reluctant readers alike--a celebration of the depth and breadth of the written word's shaping of our lives that will guide readers to new favorites while simultaneously causing them to think about their own ideal bookshelves."
Chicago Tribune
". . . so addicting and thoughtful it makes a solid mainstream case for bookshelf porn."
-Chicago Tribune
". . . so addicting and thoughtful it makes a solid mainstream case for bookshelf porn."
- New York Daily News
". . . the colorful, wonderful new offering edited by Thessaly La Force and illustrated in bookish splendor by Jane Mount."
From the Publisher
"A perfect gift for avid and reluctant readers alike—a celebration of the depth and breadth of the written word's shaping of our lives that will guide readers to new favorites while simultaneously causing them to think about their own ideal bookshelves."—Shelf Awareness

"The books we cherish speak volumes about us, and the delightful new hardcover My Ideal Bookshelf offers a peek at those that have shaped the lives of dozens of celebrities, including rocker Patti Smith, writer Malcolm Gladwell, and skateboarder Tony Hawk, who says his choices 'are about pushing the boundaries of the mainstream.' Charmingly illustrated by Jane Mount, this is a book to savor and share."—Parade

"A bibliophilic feast for the eye, mind, heart and soul."—Kirkus

"a perfect coffee table book. . ."—Publisher's Weekly

"the 100 writers, designers, chefs, artists, musicians, and others collected here turned in titles that, taken together, conspire to form the ultimate creative person's reading list."—Vogue

". . . so addicting and thoughtful it makes a solid mainstream case for bookshelf porn."—-Chicago Tribune

". . . the colorful, wonderful new offering edited by Thessaly La Force and illustrated in bookish splendor by Jane Mount."—- New York Daily News

Library Journal
If you're like me, you judge people by what's on their bookshelves. Here's a book that lets you see what folks like Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Chabon, Jennifer Egan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bittman, Patti Smith, and more have stashed on theirs. Each contributor weighs in on his or her favorites ("There's no cumulative purpose—it's just an excellent way to waste your life," says Jonathan Lethem), and Mount provides whimsical drawings of side-by-side spines. Sweet.
Kirkus Reviews
An illustrated compendium of first-person musings by writers, artists and other creative types about the books that inspired them and helped shape their identities. When writer/editor La Force and illustrator Mount decided to put together this delightful collection of essays, it wasn't simply to express their love of reading and the written word. They sought to make the statement that "in an era when digital technology…threatens irreversibly to change our reading experience, there is nothing that parallels the physical book." They chose friends, acquaintances and people whom they "admired from afar"—Jonathan Lethem, Jennifer Egan, Alice Waters, Mira Nair and Patti Smith, among others—and asked them to pick the books that most influenced them. La Force pairs each of the 100 essays she gathered from personal interviews with images Mount painted of the books (specifically, their spines) each participant chose for his or her "ideal bookshelf." The pieces are as unique as the people they represent and reveal the particular relationships participants have with the texts they mention. Lethem calls his choices "eccentric," a reflection of a "decrepit attraction" to old books and the "literary history that lie[s]…waiting to be discovered" in early editions. Chef and restaurateur Alice Waters identifies her bookshelf as commemorating the texts that started her on her epicurean journey. Nair spotlights choices that not only introduced her to English, Urdu and Hindu poetry, but also to the writer who later became her husband. La Force and Mount's joint efforts do "sentimentaliz[e] the book as object," but what they achieve clearly demonstrates that, despite the encroachments of computers and the Internet, books still matter. Other contributors include Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, Michael Chabon and Judd Apatow. A bibliophilic feast for the eye, mind, heart and soul.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316200905
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 174,036
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Mount is an artist and illustrator. Her paintings of bookshelves have caught the eye of media outlets like The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Daily Candy, and InStyle, among others. She lives in northern California with her husband and two cats.

Thessaly La Force is a writer and editor who has worked at The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and the New York Public Library. She is currently attending the Iowa Writer's Workshop and is working on a collection of short stories about objects and aesthetics. Thessaly divides her time between Iowa City and New York City; she also has two cats and shares a birthday with Jane.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    Inspiration for use in classrooms

    Thanks, Jane! I knew immediately that I would use this beautiful book in my language arts classes. I was excited to ask my elementary students to design their favorite book jackets as an artistic activity, and it provided opportunities for them to compose heartfelt essays and give oral presentations based on their bookshelves. My students were hooked when they realized that some of the profiled participants in this collection were familiar to them and that young adult and children's literature was actually treasured by influential adults. I was touched when a few of my students admitted that they would be hanging on to their Ideal Bookshelf projects as memorable snapshots of this time in their lives. Others wanted to know some of the titles that were popular so that they could make a note to read them when they were old enough...a teacher's dream. A.L., a Tempe gifted ed. teacher (Beware: If using this book as I have, some of its content IS NOT appropriate for children, as this was not its intent. Be selective in what you share.)

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