Monday, July 8, 2013

My Ideal Bookshelf: A Book Inspiring Books

Walking through the library yesterday I came across My Ideal Bookshelf on the 'New Releases' bookcase.  I was immediately drawn to the featured names on the cover: Malcom Gladwell, Thomas Keller and Alice Waters.  Taking the copy home with me-I flip through this coffee-table book and look through the composite collections of writers and artists I love.  Looking at their collections to see how the books played a role in the total sum of who the person has become.  Edited by Thessaly La Force and art done by Jane Mount-this beautifully constructed book takes an incredibly personal look at our bookshelves-that do, tell the story of us.

I was inspired to make my own...

I'm guilty of what I call 'mood-reading'.  I'm sure I am not alone in this process, but so often when I read by instinct-I find some really wonderful, soul-touching books.  Of course, in high school I read Salinger, because everyone told me not to-and I found solace in Holden's frustrations and angst.  I devoted all my email addresses to Poe and wore berets because I thought it made me seem deep, but also-I did gravitate toward the rhythm of Poe's work and words and could vividly imagine the places and feelings of each piece.
Kitchen Confidential helped me breathe in a time I thought the restaurant business had consumed all my spirit.  To some people Bourdain is wonderful because of his attitude and crude sense of humor.  To me, he represents those who struggle to put on the 'sh*t-eating-grin' and go to work.  He gave me pride when I most needed it and allowed me to continue on in a business I really do love when all I wanted to do was throw my hands up and walk away. 

The Art of Happiness saved me thousands of dollars in therapy sessions at a time my life was in drastic transition and I thought (as we all do from time-to-time) that I was the only one who has ever been: perpetually cheated on, lost an amazing person to death and left a steady income to try to propel their education and make something of themselves-only to become incredibly broke, but try to hide it with a smile and reassurance that I was doing the right thing.  It took a year before I truly believed this change was good, but The Art of Happiness gave me such a broader perspective-while I was broke and alone, I learned to still be happy and value what I had and those few around me.  It taught me to live a communal life and how a selfish life is a lonely life.

All of the books on this shelf have touched me in a way-either by their story, how I came across the book or who the book always reminds me of.  And as this shelf may change over time-it is a current and accurate snapshot of me, now.

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