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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 12:41 pm:   

Often when I sit in my home office, working on the computer, my eyes slowly move from the screen in front to the wall of bookshelves next to me. So many books, filled with places, people, and things I know nothing about. Somehow, the bookshelves seem more interesting to me than whatever I'm working on. I have about half of my books out, which means I have only five bookshelves crammed with smeared ink and dead trees. I suspect that those of you who read this Night Shade Discussion Board own more books than your average person, so when I say 'only five bookshelves,' you understand and commiserate.

I've set up my shelves rather oddly, too. I have one shelf of just mass-market paperbacks, two shelves of all 'my books,' (mostly genre stuff) another shelf of half anthologies, some film books, some philosophy, som coffee table, and some literary anthologies, and a final shelf of 'my wife's books' (mostly what you'd expect to find on two English Lit Majors' shelves).

OK, all that intro leads to this: something that I've started to give a wry smile to is who sits next to who on my book shelf. With shelves that go from Aldiss to Zelazny (sorry Zoran, not yet, but soon!), I have discovered some interesting neighbors on my shelves. [I noted at an early age that I would sit between Stephen King and Dean Koontz on many bookshelves...this was once somehow important to me, like Guns 'n' Roses and Jean Claude van Damme]

I'll add more when I'm home, but off the top of my head, I think Ray Vuckevich is in a particularly good neighborhood on my shelves. His neighbors are Jeff VanderMeer and Howard Waldrop.

Who sits next to whom on your bookshelf?

John Klima
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 02:53 pm:   

I've actually got a very small bookshelf. I'm planning on moving to the other side of the world within the next year, so cutting my collection down to the pure essentials is necessary - only books I think I can read again get to stay.

I've found two groups of neighbors that seem rather fitting. The first is the Tolkien - VanderMeer - Tad Williams group. I've re-read books by them more often than any other authors.

The other is Dambudzo Marechera - China Mieville - Mervyn Peake. Without reading Mieville, I wouldn't have discovered either of the others.

The most odd neighbors are Watchmen and the dictionary. The dictionary is placed so I can grab it when I'm sitting and reading, it just happens to be right at the end of my graphic novels.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 05:44 pm:   

Those are good. China falls among Sean McMullen and Michael Moorcock on my shelves. And Peake (on my mass-market shelves) is between Norm Partridge and Tom Piccirilli.

Odd couple books, eh? I guess the best group on my shelves is THE MYTHS OF JAPAN AND CHINA, three Bibles, and then a dictionary of word origins. Or how about 18th Century Plays, The Beat Reader, Grimm's Fairy Tales?

Oh how about living up to expectations: John Wright sandwiched between Gene Wolfe and Roger Zelazny?

Kage Baker falls in two spots as I have copies of her books in soft- and hardcover. In mass-market Kage rubs elbows with Lloyd Alexander and J. G. Ballard (I suppose she keeps them away from each other?) and in hardcover she keeps company with Brian Aldiss and Iain Banks.

Here's one for VanderMeer, Prokosch (whom I saw someone on the subway reading) is flanked by Tim Powers and Thomas Pynchon.

OK, enough from me. What about the rest of you? Where's Rick Klaw, he's got more books than a mall Dalton's.

JK
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Mike Lewis
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 06:06 am:   

Interesting topic. My shelves are so disorganised that I have an odd mix of people in non alphabetical order.

Another amusing idea is to contemplate where on the bookshelf in a shop your novels will sit (when you eventually sell one!).

I end up just after Le Guin which is pretty good.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 04:52 pm:   

But what about Fritz Leiber or Jonathan Lethem or C. S. Lewis? I can't speak for your tastes, but even you are not a fan of some of these other authors, their success and your proximity to them must be a good thing, right? You are followed, most likely, by Mr. Thomas Ligotti, not a bad one there.

JK
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Ben O
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:43 pm:   

Nice excuse to browse through the shelves. It's a battle, but I manage to keep my books pretty organized. Some more odd couples:

In the read paperbacks section Jeremy Leven's hysterically heretical SATAN: HIS PSYCHOTHERAPY AND CURE BY THE UNFORTUNATE DR. KASSLER, J.S.P.S. is shoulder to shoulder with C. S. Lewis' religious allegory THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.

Over in unread paperbacks Doris Lessing's BRIEFING FOR A DESCENT INTO HELL smolders next to Ira Levin's THIS PERFECT DAY.

Meanwhile, in read trade pbs/hbs, Lucy Taylor's extremely graphic THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES snuggles up to James Thurber's THE THIRTEEN CLOCKS while Margaret Atwood's THE HANDMAID'S TALE embraces Steve Aylett's BIGOT HALL (very appropriately, given her views on science fiction).

And in unread trade pbs/hbs G. K. Chesterton's THE BALL AND THE CROSS and Michael Cisco's THE DIVINITY STUDENT hold mass together.
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Rick Klaw
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 09:02 pm:   

People organize their bookshelves? What a concept!

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John Klima
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 10:46 am:   

Rick, if they have clothes and books on them, they can't be called bookshelves...

JK
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 10:34 am:   

OK, I wish this was on my book shelf...and in a way, it is:

The University of Texas has put its entire two-volume Gutenberg Bible on the Internet, making it easier for scholars and the public to browse one of the world's most valuable books.

(link to article: http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/internet/07/23/digital.scripture.ap/index.html )

Here's the link to the project:

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/project/

And here's the start of the Bible:

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/web/pgstns/01.html

While there are other virtual versions of the Gutenberg bible online, this one features a number of annotations from monks who read the Bible.
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 05:14 pm:   

Let's see, Caselberg sits between, either Callenbach [Ecoptopia] and Cave [Hugh B.] or Carroll and Chabon. Where do you want to go Jay?

JK
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Laura Anne
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 05:36 pm:   

Hrmm. I always thought I was a piker when it came to collecting books. Maybe not.

In this room (my office) I have three bookcases of six shelves each. Two are crammed with various and sundry research material, from social customs of the medieval, 17th and 18th centuries to language guides in (counting) six different languages, to things mythological and magical, to general science, to military history (split up by wars), to religious studies to.. well, you get the idea. The third bookcase is split between language (English) books (dictionaries, grammer guides, etc) and my brag shelves (currently two but threatening to expand).

And that doesn't count the four general reference books (An Incomplete Education, the NYPL almanac, two dictionaries) that live by my desk.

In the spare bedroom is the bookscase (six shelves) of mystery and suspense, and the bookcase (three shelves) of romance, while the family room houses four floor to ceiling bookcases of SF/F/horror. Oh, and in Peter's office we keep all the old textbooks and various military fiction. And there's a small bookcase in the hallway for random paperbacks.

I figure if I know what _room_ a book is in, I'm doing well, much less figuring out the exact shelf of shelf-mates. Alphabetical is a vague concept I pay lots of lip service to. *wry smile*
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Wednesday, October 08, 2003 - 10:15 pm:   

Oooh, oooh. Carroll, I think. But then, what does that mean about your internal categorisation gestalt?

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