Life on the Shelf

I recently decided to organize the bookshelf in my living room. There was some thought that went into it. I chose which books to put there fairly specifically. I’ve always said, “You can tell a lot about a person by what books they have on display.” My books have been (and many still are) scattered between rooms and locations. Some on shelves, some in boxes, some on the floor underneath piles of clothes…and so on… And that’s a fair representation of me, sure…but for whatever it’s worth, if someone looked at my living-room bookcase, this is how I wanted to be represented as of today. It’s nowhere near a comprehensive representation of my collection, and there are some books I couldn’t find that will eventually go in while others will come out. (Seriously, did I loan anyone my complete copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? …and where is Salinger’s Nine Stories?)

Here’s the photo, and I’m going to list the titles/authors below. I had considered writing a short explanation for why I chose each book, but I didn’t realize how fucking MANY of them there are. If anybody has any questions, that’s why God gave us the “comments” section.

That back-board could only have come from the 60s/70s.

I hereby swear that I have actually read the following books: (I also solemnly swear that I am up to no good…)

  1. U.S.! – Chris Bachelder
  2. The Soul Thief – Charles Baxter
  3. The Brief History of the Dead – Kevin Brockmeier
  4. Speaking My Mind – Tony Campolo
  5. Man in Black – Johnny Cash
  6. Cash – Johnny Cash
  7. Book of Longing – Leonard Cohen
  8. Crime and Punishment – Fydor Dostoevsky
  9. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  10. Death of an Ordinary Man – Glen Duncan
  11. The Secret of Lost Things – Sheridan Hay
  12. Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill
  13. Horns – Joe Hill
  14. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
  15. Songbook – Nick Hornby
  16. A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby
  17. Slam – Nick Hornby
  18. Juliet, Naked – Nick Hornby
  19. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  20. Being There – Jerzy Kosinski
  21. Man Walks into a Room – Nicole Krauss
  22. The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  23. Great House – Nicole Krauss
  24. What the Stones Remember – Patrick Lane
  25. Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre – H.P. Lovecraft
  26. The Road to Madness – H.P. Lovecraft
  27. Dreams of Terror and Death – H.P. Lovecraft
  28. The Ragamuffin Gospel – Brennan Manning
  29. Ruthless Trust – Brennan Manning
  30. All is Grace – Brennan Manning
  31. Stuart: A Life Backwards – Alexander Masters
  32. Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
  33. ‘Tis – Frank McCourt
  34. Teacher Man – Frank McCourt
  35. Please Kill Me – Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  36. Batman: The Killing Joke – Alan Moore*
  37. Watchmen – Alan Moore*
  38. The Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor
  39. American Splendor – Harvey Pekar*
  40. The Quitter – Harvey Pekar*
  41. American Splendor: Another Day – Harvey Pekar*
  42. American Splendor: Another Dollar – Harvey Pekar*
  43. Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
  44. Gilead – Marilynne Robinson
  45. Home – Marilynne Robinson
  46. Harry Potter and the Whole Series… – J.K. Rowling
  47. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  48. Franny and Zooey – J.D. Salinger
  49. Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction – J.D. Salinger
  50. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  51. Love is a Mix-Tape – Rob Sheffield
  52. Science Set Free – Rupert Sheldrake
  53. Bone – Jeff Smith*
  54. Batman: The Black Mirror – Scott Snyder*
  55. Maus – Art Spiegelman*
  56. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
  57. Blankets – Craig Thompson*
  58. The Lord of the Rings (Complete Series) – J.R.R. Tolkien
  59. Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut
  60. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
  61. Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  62. Welcome to the Monkey House – Kurt Vonnegut
  63. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – Kurt Vonnegut
  64. Armageddon in Retrospect – Kurt Vonnegut
  65. Look at the Birdie – Kurt Vonnegut
  66. The Once & Future King – T.H. White

* – Denotes a comic-book. My apologies to the artists, whose names I have not listed, as I have catalogued this list by the name of the authors who wrote the stories.

Also, I want it noted that the books on the shelves in no way represent my complete holdings of the works of particularly Manning, Vonnegut, Hornby, and Pekar. I own close to everything those four have ever written (though there is still some Vonnegut I have not yet found). The stuff I put out is just the stuff that meant the most.


Vinyl I Spun Today:

  • Waylon Jennings and Old 97s: Iron Road
  • Big Mama Thornton: Jail
  • Drive-By Truckers: The Big To-Do
  • Kurt Vile: Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
  • Velvet Underground: Scepter Studio Sessions
  • Queen: The Game