Saturday, December 15, 2012

Top 5 books I need in my life like air

The worst part of working in a library is that, daily, I am tempted by ALL OF THE BOOKS. The best part of working in a library is that, daily, I am tempted by ALL OF THE BOOKS. Whether I'm on the front counter or in a support role in a backroom, this is, I believe, the true beauty and the beast of being a part of a public library. As a result, my TBR (to be read) list is phenomenal. I'm one of those people who finds inspiration/ideas from my surroundings. This means that everything I see, everyone I talk to, other books I read, or films I see, or CDs I hear, lead to my coming across MOAR recommendations to request or look up. I quite happily suffer from a perpetual case of DO WANT and DO LIKE and grabby hands. It makes me ask, though, what is the true purpose of a TBR list? Do we really want to get to the bottom of the pile and know that we've read/watched/listened to everything? Because I suspect I'd suffer from heartbreak if I ever really did complete it. I don't know this for certain because I've never managed to get there. And so what do I do with today's post but freely confess that I've found more to add to my list and, if I've done my job right, to yours, too. This particular list is made up of titles I've come across/heard about/read of that, really, I'm convinced I need in my life like air. Happy 12 Posts of Christmas, people!

How big is your TBR list?

My ideal bookshelf / art by Jane Mount ; edited by Thessaly La Force
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. 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.

Travels with Epicurus : a journey to a Greek island in search of a fulfilled life / Daniel Klein
Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, [he] learns to appreciate old age as a distinct and extraordinarily valuable stage of life. He uncovers simple pleasures that are uniquely available late in life, as well as headier pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate.

Object lessons : the Paris Review presents the art of the short story / edited by Lorin Stein and Sadie Stein
Twenty contemporary authors introduce twenty sterling examples of the short story from the pages of The Paris Review . What does it take to write a great short story? In Object Lessons , twenty contemporary masters of the genre answer that question, sharing favorite stories from the pages of The Paris Review . Over the course of the last half century, the Review has launched hundreds of careers while publishing some of the most inventive and best-loved stories of our time. This anthology - the first of its kind - is more than a treasury: it is an indispensable resource for writers, students, and anyone else who wants to understand fiction from a writer's point of view. "Some chose classics. Some chose stories that were new even to us. Our hope is that this collection will be useful to young writers, and to others interested in literary technique. Most of all, it is intended for readers who are not (or are no longer) in the habit of reading short stories. We hope these object lessons will remind them how varied the form can be, how vital it remains, and how much pleasure it can give." - from the Editors' Note.

Building stories / Chris Ware
Everything you need to read the new graphic novel Building Stories : 14 distinctively discrete Books, Booklets, Magazines, Newspapers, and Pamphlets. With the increasing electronic incorporeality of existence, sometimes it's reassuring--perhaps even necessary--to have something to hold on to. Thus within this colorful keepsake box the purchaser will find a fully-apportioned variety of reading material ready to address virtually any imaginable artistic or poetic taste, from the corrosive sarcasm of youth to the sickening earnestness of maturity--while discovering a protagonist wondering if she'll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage. Whether you're feeling alone by yourself or alone with someone else, this book is sure to sympathize with the crushing sense of life wasted, opportunities missed and creative dreams dashed which afflict the middle- and upper-class literary public (and which can return to them in somewhat damaged form during REM sleep).

Tiny beautiful things : advice on love and life from Dear Sugar / Cheryl Strayed
[This book] brings the best of Cheryl Strayed's published and never-before-published online columns in one place and includes a new introduction by Steve Almond. Life can be hard, life can be great. For years, the anonymous author of Dear Sugar was the one to turn to for advice. Now, the best of Cheryl Strayed's online columns are collected in one place for you to enjoy - and learn from.

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