Any bookworm will tell you, the books on our shelves say a lot about who we are as a person. Sure there are books we check out and borrow and just read for fun, but the books we buy, the books we invest in, the books we display and read over and over again, those are the books that say something about our true nature.
In My Ideal Bookshelf, one hundred cultural figures, writers, chefs, fashion designers and more come together to reveal the books that matter to them most—books that reflect their obsessions and ambitions and, in many cases, helped them learn something about themselves and their passions.
Judd Apatow, Roseanne Cash, James Franco, Ben Fry, Atul Gawande, James Patterson, David Sedaris, and Ayelet Waldman are just some of the names on this amazing list of individuals who contributed to this title.
Perhaps the coolest aspect of My Ideal Bookshelf is the painted illustrations that accompany each spread. Artist Jane Mount showcases these book selections with colorful, hand-lettered book spines that showcase each contributor’s ideal shelf.
Here’s James Franco’s shelf, for example:
And here is Atul Gawande’s shelf:
Driven by first-person commentary drawn from interviews with the editors, these contributions are sure to grow any bookworm’s reading list. Each contributor walks you through their shelf, introducing you to new titles you wouldn’t hear about elsewhere and giving you new perspectives on some titles that might be sitting on your shelf as well.
The great thing about this book is that you can reference it, reading only those contributions that are of interest to you, or you can read it cover to cover and gain insight on books you may not have ever heard of before. When I read this collection, I read it cover to cover, absorbing all these amazing stories and taking note of these books that helped shape and mold some of the smartest minds in literature today. I found that I had several books in common with people like James Franco and Ayelet Waldman, but found new and amazing books suggested to me by the scientific mind of Atul Gawande and a few hilarious new reads from comedian David Sedaris. Before I knew it, my Good Reads To-Read list grew to more than 300 books. Not a bad problem to have!
Organized and laid out like a small coffee table book, My Ideal Bookshelf is a must-have for book lovers. Not only are the stories and artwork inspiring, but this book is sure to have all us bookworms thinking about what our ideal bookshelf would be…what books helped mold and change us into the person we’ve become…and what books we find ourselves going back to, again and again, like an old welcoming friend.
After a brief brainstorming session, my ideal bookshelf would probably look a little something like this:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Anne of Green Gables
- The Harry Potter series
- Heckedy Peg
- The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Lord of the Flies
- Peter Pan
- The Princess Bride
- The Alchemist
- Sense and Sensibility
- The Book of Lost Things
- The Catcher in the Rye
- The Girl With No Shadow
- The Little Prince
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- The Odyssey
- The Painted Drum
- Solar Storms
- The Polar Express
- The Story of Babar
- Through the Looking Glass
- Where the Wild Things Are
I’d clearly need a big shelf.
What books would be on your ideal bookshelf? Share in the comments below!
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.