20 November 2011
Shelf Esteem No. 4
Cozy Factor: Very High. Like Def Con 5 cozy. Comfy furniture, warm wood shelves, nice warm light, a ladder(!), and a mishmash of books that enourage browsing.
The Books: At least three books by Bill Cosby, at least three about gambling, at least three Atwoods (Robber Bride, The Handmaid's Tale, and Alias Grace), Roth, McMurtry, Grisham, Tolkein, Le Carre, Doctrow, Tolstoy, Poe, Byatt, McEwan, two editions of Bastard Out of Carolina on different shelves, White Noise, Snow Falling on Cedars, Gail Sheehy, Alice Adams, Frank McCourt...
Also seems to have a few books on books (e.g., Bookmen's Bedlam), a couple of bios (Genet and Michael Caine), Folio Society editions, about 9 Granta issues...
The Shelves: I like the look of them and the quanity of them. They appear to be adjustable, and the ladder is every book junkie's dream.
Is this person a reader? Probably, but a few things make me think maybe not as big a reader as one would think at first glance. First, these are definitely catch-all shelves. Old French grammar books, guide book to colleges, Folio Society editions and some pretty sets that seem like they may have been purchased to fill some space. Plus a smattering of anthologies and other books that one typically gets in college days. On the other hand the general disorganization suggests that the books are being read rather than arranged for effect. I think this person does read, but doesn't necessarily have very defined tastes. Do we think the guy on the ladder is the guy who does the reading in the house?
I would say he is a Bookstore Reader. Someone who goes to a bookstore without something specific in mind and comes away with something off of one of the tables, generally some bit of popular fiction.
The book I would read if I had to pick one: Victorian Illustrated Books by Percy Muir.