You’ll find an impressive list of the libraries of such ex-humans as Hemingway, Samuel Johnson, Marie Antoinette, and of course, Mozart, at LibraryThing.
This link comes via the Very Short List, which says of the social bookworm site: “While browsing, you may discover some excellent books you hadn’t heard of (like Aboard the Flying Swan, by Stanley A. Wolper, found in Ernest Hemingway’s library). Also, by peeking at the titles in a dead person’s library, you’ll get fresh insight into his or her intellectual nooks and crannies — sure, we more or less get why Aspects of Chinese Painting, by Alan Priest, was found in e. e. cummings’s library, but Machiavelli’s The Prince in Tupac’s library? Who knew?”
The other day I had a neighbor over looking at my library (which is pretty modest compared to Hemmingway’s, but kick-ass if you compare it to that of James Joyce — I’m not necessarily making any writing comparisons here, by the way, it’s just the facts). So, the neighbor says, “do you mind if you look at your books?”
Mind? I practically insist. I addition to housing some of the books I have read (I don’t keep everything I buy, and I also — ahem, — will occasionally do something really antiquated like visit a library and borrow a book) there is a nice little catalog of stuff that I’m in the process of reading. The aforementioned James Joyce, for example. I’ve been working on Ulysses for several years. I seem to get stuck somewhere around page thirty. I’ve also not read the copy of Cicero’s “On the Good Life”, though I have actually read Marcus Aurelius’s “Meditations” and Plato’s “Republic”, which come in the same nice set. Plato was a proto-Fascist, by the way. I get the feeling that I could have a beer with Marcus Aurelius, you know, if he wasn’t an ex-human.
I’ve yet to even crack the cover on Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” yet, and to my great shame, I’ve yet to read Primo Levi’s “If This Is Man.” (Not that I’m making any connection between the two.)
I guess my library is a work in progress. Much like me really. It represents some of the books I’ve read and absorbed, yet it also represents the book nerd that I yearn to be. Perhaps it is just intellectual posturing.
What does your library say about you? Does it say anything at all? Why am I asking all these questions?
Does a link to humor-blogs.com and alltop at the end of every post mean something too I wonder? Oh my God I can’t stop asking questions! You should definitely check out the site where I got the cartoon for more savage chicken goodness.