Full disclosure – I already own one of Jane Mount’s fabulous prints. It is one of my prized possessions (take a look). So it should come as no surprise that I love My Ideal Bookshelf, an illustrated book dedicated to the ideal bookshelves of significant producers of arts and culture. I received this book for Christmas and spent most of the day slowly flipping through the pages, peaking at the ideal bookshelves of luminaries such as Judd Apatow, Michael Chabon and Alice Waters. I must admit that part of the appeal of My Ideal Bookshelf is the slightly voyeuristic nature of the endeavour. It is thrilling to see that Chabon is also a fan of Proust and that my ideal bookshelf resembles that of a book cover designer who I had never heard of!
Each contributor has also written a small piece discussing their choices. This makes for some pretty fascinating reading and has made my reading list grow with authors I have never heard of before as well as perennial favorites who I am embarrassed to say I have never read. Taken as a whole the book is revealing about what people read and why. Hemingway seems to be more widely represented than any other writer. The Great Gatsby is on many a list. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen is favoured over The Corrections.
Who would like this book? Do I really need to answer this? I thought not. It goes without saying that My Ideal Bookshelf is meant for the book fetishist. So go ahead, covet this book. It’s worth it.