Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: My Ideal Bookshelf

Summary: 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. -- Little, Brown

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you some great gift-giving ideas for the book lovers in your life. The first book I "discovered" is MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF, art by Jane Mount and edited by Thessaly La Force. It's actually perfect for book lovers, and it's as gorgeous as it is interesting!

MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF is terrific for nosy readers like me. (I prefer inquisitive, but I think nosy is probably a better description!) I'm one of those people who believe I can tell so much about a person based on their reading tastes. In addition, I am always on the lookout for book suggestions to add to my huge book wish-list. One of the first questions I always ask authors when I meet them or have the opportunity to interview them is, "What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?" And if I ever have the chance to meet any celebrities, I'm sure I'd ask them the same question.

And that's the beauty of MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF -- it's a collection of book recommendations from famous people! Actually, MY IDEAL BOOKSHELF  has essays by over one hundred pop culture icons, including authors, musicians, artists, actors, producers, and more, about their favorite books. These first person essays were put together by Jane Mount based on interviews with the subjects; and naturally, they are as unique as the individuals who "wrote" them. Some talk about how particular books have changed their lives, while others discuss their favorite authors.

I was so caught up in learning what some of my favorite celebs had to say about their ideal bookshelf that I initially just focused on reading their essays. However, I found that I kept stopping to look at the beautiful illustrations by Thessaly La Force. Ms. La Force created colorful renderings of book spines for each contributor's bookshelf. I knew that I was attracted to the cover of the book, but it was the inside artwork that really captured my attention. I enjoyed the illustrator's interpretation of each bookshelf -- some were very organized while others were arranged more haphazardly. Either way, she did a wonderful job of capturing the "personality" of each celebrity's book collection.

On a personal note, I found many of the essays to be interesting; however, I did have a few favorites. I thought Judd Apatow's was pretty funny, and Roseanne Cash's touched my heart when she talked about her relationship with her father. However, I have to say that I most appreciated the various authors' bookshelves. I absolutely loved reading about their favorite books and how these books influenced not only their personal lives, but also their writing styles.

In conclusion, THE IDEAL BOOKSHELF is a gem of a book; and I think book lovers will appreciate this wonderful tribute to the importance of books.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

This does sound like a good place to get ideas for books!

bermudaonion said...

This does sound marvelous. I'm wondering what my taste in books says about me.

Serena said...

Wow, this sounds like a great find! Thanks for the recommendation and I agree with Jill that it will likely be a great place to find more books...like I need another avenue for that! LOL

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

This sounds like a great book for me - I love reading books (obviously) and I also love following celebrities lives (okay, trashy gossip LOL).

Meg @ write meg! said...

My sister recently pointed this one out to me after it was featured in a magazine -- People, I think? -- and I'm very intrigued! I love learning about others' reading habits and bookshelves. Sounds like fun!

Beth Hoffman said...

I think this sounds like a fabulous read!

Carol said...

This sounds like a great book. Wonder if I can drop a few hints to my husband and end up with it for Christmas.