Per Chuck Miller, my fellow Times Union blogger:
“The System”: In the main, the books on music, movies, television are on the shelf in front of me. Behind me: almanacs/trivia; church/faith/religion, including hymnals; the recently acquired unread; bio/autobio; classics (Shakespeare, Grimm, Twain); politics; Beatles. Off to the right, and also upstairs, comic book/comic strip stuff (Marvel Masterworks, Doonesbury collections, Elfquest collections, Life Is Hell). This is imperfect, and I’m much less fussy than I used to be.
Favorite female writer: Rachel Carson. She changed my life.
Favorite male writer: Nelson George.
Bought on location (where the writer lived, the book takes place, the movie adaptation was shot): I often buy a book at the museum shop: some book on FDR, e.g., though I don’t always READ them. Of course, I own some books about Albany: O Albany! by William Kennedy, Old Albany, Mayor Corning by Paul Grondahl, Ed Dague’s autobiography (he was a local newscaster).
The largest and the smallest book you own: Some Beatles coffee table thing is the largest. Perhaps, Baseball: Our Game by John Thorn is the smallest, though I used to have a tinier one that is MIA.
Complete works of one author: At one point, it was Russell Baker. All I have now are books cited as complete works, Billy Shakes, Twain, Grimm.
Favorite poetry collection: This series of periodicals called Washout, co-edited by an ex-girlfriend.
Favorite biography: I’ve read so many Beatles bios, they’ve blended together. I’ll say Gandhi, An Autobiography.
Favorite cookbook: Some Betty Crocker thing from c. 1964.
Favorite graphic novel: Maus. I used to know Art Spiegelman when he’d come up to Albany to promote his publication RAW.
A book you didn’t understand at all: Some science fiction book I gave up on, no doubt.
“One of these things is not like the others” (inconsistent editions within a series): There are features in some reference books, Top Pop Singles, Top Pop Albums, and The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, for three, that I’ve had to hold onto earlier editions because they had info that subsequent versions did not. For instance, Top Pop Albums used to have the songs of the albums, but now, for space reasons, it does not.
Best bargain: I’ve gotten a lot of free or cheap books. Somehow, I got a review copy of Freddie & Me by Mike Dawson, and I really liked it.
Most recent purchase: The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish; I went to a reading at the Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza.
Favorite layout design: probably The Dark Knight graphic novel.
Book you bought because of the title: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which I knew The Daughter would appreciate.
Book you bought because of the cover design. Probably happened, but no example comes to mind.
Multiple translations of the same work: The Bible.
Multiple copies of the same work: I have a Complete Shakespeare, and my wife does. That count?
The funniest book you own: probably some Dave Berry book about music.
The most expensive book you own: It may be that coffee-table Beatles book. It’s also the heaviest.
A recurring interest/theme. Anything about the music of the 1940s until the end of the century: musician bios, Billboard charts.
A book you read so many times that it fell apart: Some I Spy novelization I had as a kid.
A book you think everyone should read: I don’t, actually, mostly because I wouldn’t want to be likewise dictated to. One reads a book when ready, or does not.
A book that made you cry: Diary of Anne Frank. Unoriginal choice, I suppose.
A book you would prescribe for an aspiring author: Life Itself by Roger Ebert.
A cover design you hate: Those from most romance novels.
A book that was a waste of your time. I don’t think that’s happened. I read a book, I don’t get engaged, I put it down. There are other books.
Favorite book from your childhood: Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. Speaking truth to power.
The book with the most pages in your collection: Maybe The People’s Almanac, which has 1400 pages or so.
And there you have it. Feel free to take this list and add your own library to it.