Puff Chrissy’s Shelf Porn: Part 4

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And here we are at shelf number 4.

For those just joining in, Shelf Porn is where I take a shelf from my library and go through the titles and write down some random thoughts. This is either 1) seriously boring, or 2) mildly interesting. Your mileage may vary. Click around to see the previous three shelves.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare is one of my textbooks from university, where I took two semesters worth of Shakespeare courses. I remember enjoying the courses, especially the professor (whose name escapes me now), but I was too young and distracted to take in everything. This is reflected in the countless doodles inside of the book. Which stuns me considering I recall this book being ungodly expensive. Cool book though, and my notes are still visible.

It’s hard to see, but wedged between the Shakespeare book and From Hell is the second issue of Egomania, a publication by Eddie Campbell. This issue is mostly an extensive interview with Alan Moore that is enormously fascinating. Well worth having, and is a small part of my PhD work.

From Hell is the classic book by Moore and Campbell, a mesmerizing account of the Jack the Ripper murders. It’s the touches of metafiction that I really love, but the detail and research is really something worth marveling over.

Great Tales of Horror and the Supernatural is one of those books you can find in the bargain bin of pretty much any major book chain in the States, and it’s a cheap way of accumulating a lot of classic stories under one roof. Not a brilliant collection, but plenty of gems.

World War Z is the exclamation mark at the end of the literary resurgence of zombie fiction in the last decade. If you’ve been avoiding this book because of the hype, I assure you it’s all true. Max Brooks attention to detail here is as frightening as the zombies. Also, I listened to the audio version of this (abridged) with actors reading various parts of the book, and it’s an experience worth your time.

I picked up Under the Dome in December when I was in the States. At the risk of repeating myself, I grew up reading King’s writing, going out of my way to buy his books as soon as they were published. It’s been a while since I had a King hardback in my hands, and feeling the weight of it on my lap was like going back in time. The story was excellent, and well worth carrying for the 30 hours it took to get back to Poland. King is simply the best storyteller in American today.

Everything’s Eventual is another great King book. This and Secret Windows are the only older hardback King books I brought back to Poland last time. I have over 20 King hardcovers in my library in the States, and for weight reasons, getting them over here is difficult considering that for every one King book I could be bringing up to five other books.

While I love King’s novels, I have a soft spot for short fiction, and King’s short stories have always been special. Everything’s Eventual has a lot of great stories. “1408” is a real stand out for a lot of reasons. On a technical level, the set up is extraordinary; so much so, that you feel like there’s no way King can possibly show us the ending in a satisfying way. And yet, he pulls it off beautifully. He shows us the horror and it’s still frightening. I would put this story together with Joe Hill’s “Best New Horror” as horror stories that successfully manage to scare readers without leaving it up to our imagination. Something that’s extremely difficult to pull off.

Delta of Venus by Anais Nin is one of the treasures in my collection. Not only is it an expensive book, it was left to me by my grandfather when he passed away, so the nostalgic value of the book is priceless.

Fictional Space in the Modernist and Post-Modernist American Novel by Greg Malmgren was a huge help for my MA work, and helped to create the foundation for my PhD work. It’s a little dated, but the ideas on display here are pretty awesome.

The Last Romantic Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite biography about the man. He was certainly one of the greats.

More university books, including The American Tradition in Literature, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy and The Norton Anthology of English Literature. All great books to keep, especially when you’ve no access to the internet.

The Writer in the Writing by Krzysztof Andrzejczak is a cool little book. Some nice ideas in here to spice up my PhD work. One sad note though. I ordered this one through Abebooks as a used copy. When I received it, I discovered that it was signed by Andrzejczak with a personal note to a friend. Man, I think I’d be devastated if I saw this happening to one of my books.

The An Anthology to English Literature series were picked up in a bookstore in Wroclaw by my wife. One of the many reasons why I love her.

Another important book for my PhD work is Between Science and Literature by Ira Livingston. Great stuff in here.

Immanuel Kant’s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is one of many books I have in this series. If you’ve been to university and taken a philosophy course, you know exactly what series of books this one comes from. Ah, memories…

Chaos Bound by N. Katherine Hayles is good reading, but not my favorite book by her. That one is coming up later.

N. Pendleton’s What Trees Have Done is a fine collection of short stories. I don’t think this edition is in print any longer, which is a shame. And I’m not saying this because I wrote the introduction. Some of the stories here show up in his more recent collection. Click the white book over there on the right to purchase it.

Essential Literary Terms is a great addition to an English major’s library, especially if you end up teaching it one day.

And we’re done for today.

Thanks, and see you next week.

2 thoughts on “Puff Chrissy’s Shelf Porn: Part 4

  1. So, if the tag “comics” gets the site billions of hits, then what kind of stats are you reaping weekly with the slyly-titled “Shelf Pr0n?”

    BTW: I’m in the interested camp vis a vis this feature. I always snoop through people’s bookshelves when I’m in their home.

  2. I do the same thing with people’s shelves. I used to do the same with their music, back in the day when A) people had CD libraries and B) I was hip to what was popular (by hip, I was only two years behind). This feature has been a lot of fun.

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