Unpacking My Library Writers and Their Books Leah Price

Publication date:
30 Nov 2011
Yale University Press
208 pages: 140 x 203mm
270 color illus.
Sales territories:

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Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their BooksAs 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 favourite 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 favourite 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 Diaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Stephen Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart, and Edmund White.

More about this title

• Winner of a Book Jacket Design Award in the 2012 New York Book Show
• Read an article about Unpacking My Library on Yale's blog

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.

"Filled with juicy details about how writers read, collect, and live with their books."—Jean Temarin, The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Browsing among the bookshelves of the writers featured in Leah Price’s enchanting little book, which I found difficult to set aside, I noted that several writers went in for The Adventures of Tin Tin, the children’s stories of CS Lewis (a favourite of theirs and mine was The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe) along with Milton’s Paradise Lost…Ah you always return to the great classics at some time in your life. Nobody seemed to have any of the Harry Potter series, so the spell of the boy wizard was not as widespread as I thought!"—Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post

Blog Reviews

Lynne Hatwell’s Dovegreyreader blog
John Dugdale for the Guardian books blog
Lee Randall for the Scotsman arts blog
Alex Johnson’s Bookshelf blog

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