Unpacking My Library
Writers and Their Books
By Leah Price (Editor)
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300170924, 208pp.)
Publication Date: November 2011
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As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object—whether pristine collectible or battered relic—is growing as well. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favorite novelists who share their collections with readers. Stunning photographs provide full views of the libraries and close-ups of individual volumes: first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions.
In her introduction, Leah Price muses on the history and future of the bookshelf, asking what books can tell us about their owners and what readers can tell us about their collections. Supplementing the photographs are Price's interviews with each author, which probe the relation of writing to reading, collecting, and arranging books. Each writer provides a list of top ten favorite titles, offering unique personal histories along with suggestions for every bibliophile.
Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books features the personal libraries of Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Díaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart, and Edmund White.
Leah Price is professor of English at Harvard University. She is the author of The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel, Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture, and How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain. She writes on old and new media for the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, and the Boston Globe.
“In its beautiful design, Unpacking My Library is itself an argument for the continuing vitality of physical books and the libraries that contain them.”—The Boston Globe
"Filled with juicy details about how writers read, collect, and live with their books.”—Jean Temarin, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Winner of the 2012 New York Book Show Award in General Trade Jacket, as given by the New York Book Show.
"[M]any of the observations may help disorganized book nuts bring some shape to the mishmash of books we call our own libraries."—Alan Bisbort, The Sunday Republican