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Friday, June 17, 2005

By his books shall you know him

My family has a generations-long tradition of books in the bathroom. For...you know, the occasional extended reading period. My parents always had a stack of Reader's Digests and People magazines, as well as a copious supply of catalogs from Sears and J.C. Penny's. My grandmother usually had Time magazine, Catholic Digest, and a few great old books - the best was an etiquette book from the 1930's. It was a real hoot. (I think it's still there.)

My bathroom book collection tends to be a bit more extensive. Just how extensive I didn't realize until I decided to catalogue a small part of it for the purposes of this entry.

A few years ago I realized I had a problem. The books and magazines in my bathroom had outgrown the small storage cube I had placed in a convenient location, and then the add-on unit that I had placed on top of it. (These are actually closet shelving units from Kmart, very useful for this purpose.) I remembered that I had bought an odd-shaped storage unit a few years ago when a home improvement store (Hechinger's, perhaps, or maybe Triangle) was going out of business. It was a closet utility rack, about 24" wide by 8"deep by 36" tall with three shelves. I realized that it would fit in perfectly in another convenient location.

I built it with little effort, and decided it would house towels, washcloths, unopened bars of soap, new bottles of shampoo, some current magazines and maybe one or two books.

Yeah, right.

I've become concerned recently about the sheer weight of stuff sitting on this poor little vinyl-coated wire cart. At some point it would experience structural failure and the whole thing would collapse in an explosion of books, magazines, catalogs, votive candles, and one small token bottle of shampoo. I decided to preemptively unburden it of its load of books.

Just books. For now, magazines, catalogs, and votive candles could stay, but I wanted to pull out all the books, at least temporarily, and catalogue them.

I was a little surprised at just what I had there.

Here's what I pulled out. I've arranged them grouped by subject or author, with occasional explanatory notes. Keep in mind: this isn't everything that I've got in the bathroom. This is just everything from one small wire closet utility rack.

  • Making of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith -– J.W. Rinzler
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Graphic Novel
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: The Visual Dictionary
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Incredible Cross-Sections
  • Star Wars Visionaries (graphic novel - a collection of stories written and illustrated by artists involved with the latest Star Wars movie)
  • Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Path -– The Letters of Richard Feynman
  • Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams -– Nick Webb
  • The Hitch Hiker'’s Guide to the Galaxy (A Trilogy in Five Parts) -– Douglas Adams (U.K. edition, purchased in Ireland)
  • Don'’t Panic -– Neil Gaiman (U.K. edition, purchased in Ireland, with additional material by M.J. Simpson)
  • Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams -– M.J. Simpson (U.K. edition, first printing, purchased in Ireland)
  • The Hitchhiker'’s Guide to the Galaxy -– The Original Radio Scripts - Douglas Adams (U.K. edition, purchased in Ireland, with added material by M.J. Simpson)
  • The Hitchhiker'’s Guide to the Galaxy -– Illustrated Collector'’s 25th Anniversary Edition - Douglas Adams, with an introduction by M.J. Simpson (a Christmas present)
  • The Selfish Gene -– Richard Dawkins (introduces the concept of the meme into popular culture)
  • The Extended Phenotype -– Richard Dawkins
  • The Meme Machine -– Susan Blackmore
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1 -– Alan Moore & Kevin O'’Neil
  • Heroes and Monsters: The Guide to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 1 - Jess Nevins
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 -– Alan Moore & Kevin O'’Neil
  • A Blazing World: The Guide to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 2 - Jess Nevins (my name is in the "Thank You"s to this book, right next to the name of the world's most famous research librarian!)
  • The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction -– edited by George Mann
  • The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made -– David Hughes
  • Scatterbrain -– Larry Niven (collection)
  • Man-Kzin Wars IX (based on characters and situations created by Larry Niven)
  • Man-Kzin Wars X (ditto)
  • A Guide to Skywatching -– David H. Levy (of Shoemaker-Levy fame!)
  • Minority Report -– Philip K. Dick (in a top-bound, detective's notebook format)
  • Analog'’s War & Peace (1983) (bought at a local Ollie's two years ago)
  • 30th Anniversary of DAW Science Fiction
  • The Simpsons: Beyond Forever! (A Guide to Seasons 11 & 12, a Christmas present)
  • The Metamorphosis, In The Penal Colony, and Other Stories -– Franz Kafka
  • 1984 (Centenial Edition, 111th Signet printing) -– George Orwell
  • Island of Lost Maps -– Miles Harvey
  • A World of Imponderables -– David Feldman
  • The MAD Bathroom Companion : The Mother Load (another Christmas present)
  • The Ebony Tower -– John Fowles (about 20 years old, dug up for a single quote almost six months ago)
  • Beyond Belief -– Elaine Pagels
  • Granta 89: The Factory (technically a book-sized magazine, but it still counts)
  • Old Farmer'’s Almanac 2005
Coffee Table Books (oversized, about 18"x12"): Does that seem like a bit much?

1 comment:

Betz said...

Harold, you should lend out books and charge...you would be a millionaire.