Creeping on my Friends’ Books

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Whenever I go to someone’s home, I’m always drawn to their books: who are they reading, what editions they have, how they treat their books, and how they store/display them. Looking at people’s books is akin to being an intellectual creeper. You are trying to get a better understanding of who this person is based on their literary interests. But book collections are not always a true reflection of someone’s self. They can have books stolen, lost, borrowed. They could have moved and had to downsize. They could keep them on an eReader. Oh my. It’s getting difficult to be a creeper. Luckily, my friends have allowed me to creep on their books.

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Laura is a merchandiser. Her roommate Chelsea is in landscaping. They have integrated their books into the same bookcases, which is a testament to their friendship. They have a lot of great vintage books. They’re in different sized bookcases and curated with amazing tchotchkes.

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Some of Laura’s favorite books are:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Franny and Zoey by J.D. Salinger
Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Some of Chelsea’s favorite books are:
Shame by Salman Rushdie
Tales of Ordinary Madness by Charles Bukowski
A Question of Power  by Bessie Head
The Place of Dead Roads by William S. Burroughs
Jesus’ Son by Dennis Johnson
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

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Sarah studied art in college and now works in a museum. She has numerous art catalogs and monographs. Oh and a lot of great literature.

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Scott is a merchandiser and studying graphic design. His books are artfully displayed. He has a lot of fashion and art books. Oh, and he just got a dreamy book all about fonts. I can’t wait until he’s finished reading it to tell me all about it.

Some of his favorite authors are:
Allen Ginsberg
Kurt Vonnegut
Douglas Coupland
Aleister Crowley
Note: Battle Royale is mine. I forgot it was my copy until Scott reminded me.

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Scott introduced me to Virginia. When she moved here from Ohio, Scott said, you’ll like Virginia, she reads. That was all that I needed to know and we’ve been fast friends since the day we met. Virginia works in a bookstore. She lives and breathes books. She’s introduced me to so many great books that I love. She is the only other person I know that always has a book in her purse. Her apartment is overflowing with books. Every surface is covered with them. It’s as though her apartment is one big bookcase and she has tried to carve out a living space for herself. It is one of the coziest apartments I’ve ever been in.
Some of her favorites are
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games
Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind

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Lina is an artist from Sweden. She has so many treasures compiled together. Pictures of her family along with books in Swedish from her home country. I can’t help but get excited when I see books I’ve read in another language. Why do they look so mysterious and glamorous? She also has a lot of beautiful art catalogs as well.
Two of her favorite authors are:
Unni Lindell
Stieg Larsson
Both Swedish. She told me that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was originally called Men Who Hate Women in Swedish. She gave me Studio 69 by Swedish author Liza Marklund and she bought me a ticket to see Marklund speak with other Nordic writers.

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Claire moved to San Francisco from Seattle a few years ago. Her first apartment was temporary and she knew she would be moving in a few months. She is a curator and a bit of a minimalist. Her book case reflects her life, clean and beautiful without anything she doesn’t totally love.
One of her favorite authors is Wallace Stegner and one of her favorite books is Gone with the Wind.

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Christina recently moved to Seattle from San Francisco. She’s originally from Portland. She moved these books from Portland to SF and then to Seattle. She bought a lovely new bookcase. It is handmade and she bought it off of etsy. It’s so much nicer than her old bookcase she had in SF. One of her staff sewed the red cat for her. Her grandma used to wear those boots as a little girl. She loves Courtney Love and you can see the face out of Love’s book.
Some of Christina’s favorite authors are:
Chuck Palahniuk
Anthony Bourdain
Jane Austen
Pablo  Neruda
Sylvia Plath
Vladimir Nabokov

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When I moved last, I didn’t have room for all my books and bookcases. My dad made this bookcase to fit in my studio. My parents are kind and let me store the rest of my books at their place. I have always kept my books in alphabetical order and rearrange them when I get a new book. Here are Scott and Christina trying to convince me that my alphabetical order needs to change. They want me to reorganize my books by color and size. They are insistent that it will change my life. I haven’t done it yet.

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