What interests me about other people’s books is the nature of their collection. A personal library is an X-ray of the owner’s soul. It offers keys to a particular temperament, an intellectual disposition, a way of being in the world. Even how the books are arranged on the shelves deserves notice, even reflection. There is probably no such thing as complete chaos in such arrangements. 


Jay Parini: novelist, poet, and professor of English at Middlebury College


What does your library say about you?




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14 responses to “

  1. That I hang out with little kids a lot *LOL*

  2. according to the many paper backs that have no wear nor creases in the spine… it would appear that I just like to buy books. But no… I’m a college kid who’s time reading is spent on college text books.

  3. Rob, you do like to buy books.  No creases may mean that you are not harsh with your books as you read them.  Perhaps you don’t read books under severe conditions such as warzones, hazardous dumps or in the back of garbage trucks.

  4. my library says that i am desperately afraid of ruining my kids and i just continue to educate myself in any way i can.  ok , it says that my life is lame.

  5. …that i’ve been to college.

  6. My book collection says I have a thing for people who have lots of problems. (Catcher in the Rye, Electroboy, Running with Scissors, Dry, Sellevision, Me Talk Pretty One Day, etc.) But perhaps I just like getting to know people.
    Also, in response to Rob, I think there is something of a novelty in owning a lot of books. They are fun to have for yourself, and to look at. I personally own many books I have not read. Hopefully someday.

  7. My collection says:  I like to spend a lot of time thinking about the world, humanity, the nature of the universe, and why everything is the way it seems.  I don’t like fluff and superficiality.  I have a lot of interests.
    It also says that I like things to be clean and neat.  :o) 

  8. Anonymous

    My books say that I have kids who love to color in them!

  9. mine say that i’ve spent some time as a ministry major at huntginton, and now i’m a geeky computer science major. i somehow feel obligated to keep the books from my major to show that i’ve supposedly learned something from them, even the ones with the nice pretty spines and may not have ever been opened, i plead the 5th. right rob ?

  10. What do my books say about me? That if it isn’t by a black author, then it was either written before 1800 or it was written by a scholar.

  11. That’s a great quote … not quite sure what it says about me, but it’s a great quote.

  12. Mine would say…”Shush you really don’t read much do you?”

  13. That we both recently graduated with degrees in ministry!  Funny thing is, now that we’ve been out for a few years, Dave is going back through and reading the books he didn’t actually read the first time around.  Shhh… don’t tell the ministry profs.

  14. i just found out  that i know someone who goes to huntington…i will have to get back to you on her married name.  both her and husband are alumni and still live there hannah and kevin.  they had a baby a couple of weeks ago (Elias?)  I’ll try to get more info.  i am sure it is a big campus, but a small world.

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