March 13, 2008

Animals Belonging to the Emperor

So the last time around I mentioned my quirky and highly subjective system of organization for my bookshelves (and, indeed, other shelvable media as well). As it happens, last week Elly threw down the gauntlet for bookshelf pr0n posts, so this seems like as good an excuse as any to take a tour of one small corner of my library. So, then: Mah buks. Let me show u them:

This is the bookshelf most focused on straight-up prose fiction in my office (as opposed to reference books, graphic novels, or art books), so it seems like a natural one to showcase for you library voyeurs. Moving in closer:

The Datlow and Windling Year's Best anthologies were what restored my faith in modern fantasy back in the early 90's. My shelf fits exactly volumes one through eighteen; I don't know if that's a sign to stop, or to get different shelves. Also featured here are Thomas Monteleone's Borderlands anthologies, which are delightfully weird and dark, and a couple of Chaosium Mythos collections. (Frodo sculpture by Big Tony; and yes, the sign on top is from a Borders, though I confess I came by it through entirely legitimate means.)

Here we have New Weird, Old Weird, slipstream, and horror. The first third is classic weird fiction in more or less chronological order: Lautreamont, Chambers, Machen, Dunsany, M.R. James, Blackwood, and Lovecraft. In the middle are my personal favorite Lovecraft heirs, William Browning Spencer and Thomas Ligotti (and I don't use phrases like "the gem of my collection," but if I did, I'd say it about the hardback copy of Ligotti's Teatro Grottesco there at center stage), followed by the often Ligottian Darrell Schweitzer, Brian McNaughton, Jeff VanderMeer, Jeffrey Thomas, and Mark Danielewski. From there we have different sorts of all-out deconstructive weird fantasy: K.J. Bishop, Jay Lake, China Mieville, and Scott Lynch. Floating above are the unclassifiable Robert Aickman, more Mythos anthologies, the multi-talented Ramsey Campbell, and Hal Duncan's Vellum, which has kicked my ass every time I try to pick it up. (The Thing in a Jar there behind my tavern pipe was a 33rd birthday present from Spyder, and you're probably happier not seeing it any closer.)

And here is a whole bunch of urban fantasy and the genres adjacent thereto, all sort of circling around the Big Block o' Neil Gaiman in the middle, with some high fantasy and space opera thrown in for good measure. Hiding behind the hip UF and tie-in novels on the right, Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar books are keeping thematic company with Ellen Kushner's Riverside mannerpunk. From there I've got Patricia McKillip's Riddle-Master (probably my favorite Tolkienian fantasy that isn't actually very much like LOTR) and Gaiman's novels and collections, followed closely by Alan Moore and Mike Carey, likewise comics writers-turned-novelists. The rest of the shelf is filled out (to bring things full circle) with the sort of fiction the Year's Best anthologies made me fall in love with: Susanna Clarke, Kelly Link, Elizabeth Bear, Ekaterina Sedia, Cat Valente, and some wonderfully pulpy dark urban fantasy by Jim Macdonald and Stephan Zielinski. Outliers include more eBear, Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, the first Liz Williams Detective Inspector Chen book (which I'm now reading, and is delightful), and, of course, John Crowley's Little, Big. Just below you can see a tantalizing hint of the next shelf down, which is All Clive Barker, All the Time (and which I'm going to have to find something creative to do with when he gets around to the next Abarat book).

(There's actually more to this bookcase as well, but it's sort of behind my laundry basket, and no one wants to see that.)

And just to show what a ridiculously obsessive completist I am, I've gone and made sure that everything in the above photos (along with a great deal more shelved elsewhere) is in my catalog at LibraryThing, which is a relatively new addiction for me and so I haven't actually added everything I own. Give me time.

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