I’m at my sister’s and I’m looking at her bookcase, which isn’t organized in any particular way. THough in her guest house, where I’m staying, the shelves are filled from her life as an MFA student in theater. So there’s lots of heady stuff along with the classics like Ibsen, Chekov, and Shakespeare. Upstairs, there’s everything from Roberto Bolano to Prep. The requisite Franzen. This guy Jonathan Tropper who she loves. Lots of contemporary fiction. The novel, at least around here, is not dead.. When I used to date (which is euephemism for two week stands), I’d always check out the guy’s bookcase. I’d flee if he had a tattered copy of The Fountainhead or On The Road, and stay if he had Fitzgerald or Lawrence or Hawthorne or Melville. And to this day, if there is a bookcase in a room, I will always gravitate toward it and construct an identity based on what I find there: a person’s tastes, moods, passions, perversions. I will fill in the blanks, pass judgement, and often rethink that person based on his shelves. Not to mention the sheer beauty of book spines. It just can’t be the same as scrolling through a KindleNookIpad.
How does a bookcase speak to you?
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