I am back to thinking about Jane Mount’s Ideal Bookshelves – her lovely paintings of people’s “dream” book collections. Jane says, “I love that a book is something created very personally and then mass-produced in order to affect many other people very personally. I group and paint them to turn them back into something very personal and intimate.” Even though my days of picking up a book and reading are in the past, I still love imagining my own Ideal Bookshelves. I wrote earlier about my Ideal Children’s Bookshelf and here are my thoughts on grown-up books.
Books that I love right now and would include on an Ideal Bookshelf are Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi and Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hahn. Old Favorites that I would have to include are Their Eyes Were Watching God, Dharma Bums, The Joy Luck Club, The Brothers Karamazov, A Wrinkle In Time, Fahrenheit 451, My Name Is Asher Lev, The Tao of Pooh and Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth. I would have to add The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People because I have read it many times and I learn more each time I read it. Harold Bloom’s Stories and Poems is a book I have picked up many times, when I am in need of a good story, and would definitely put on my Ideal Bookshelf. My Bible would have to be represented. And I would include books my children introduced me to – Speaker For The Dead (thanks to Ben), The Red Tent (Emily) and Siddhartha (Sam). How could I leave off life-changing books like The Education of Little Tree and Story of A Soul and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring? I must include books whose authors I have met and admire – White Teacher by the marvelous Vivian Gussin Paley, Dead Man Walking by the remarkable Sr. Helen Prejean, and Inheriting The Trade by the wonderful Tom Dewolf. Autographed copies of each of these books are among my prized possessions and I would like them to be represented.
Too many, too many. I will have to edit before I can ever order my own Ideal Bookshelf from Jane. The trouble is, I keep adding books instead of subtracting. Still, it is a wonderful exercise to try to imagine my Ideal Bookshelf.
If you have time, please comment on this post with some books you would include on YOUR own Ideal Bookshelf.