Blog ♥ 52 inches of books

I recently decided to thin out the book collection in my studio space. It was a surprisingly emotional task! So many books have been so influential and inspirational to me, and now it's hard to part with them.

My books are like little mementos; I remember each one's origin story. Féminismes Électriques was an impulse buy at an art gallery gift shop in Montréal, Thread of Fate was a gift from Brandon, Atari Color Graphics was an incredibly lucky find in the bargain section of Half-Price Books...

There's certainly some subconscious aspect to one's bookshelf that's meant to declare, "Hey, visitor, look at these eclectic books that illustrate how quirky and scholarly [or insert other adjectives here] I am!" I'm guilty of that line of thinking. That said, as far as I know, no one who has visited my studio space has actually bothered to review the contents of my bookshelf. Only in my imagination do my friends nod, tracing a finger across the spines, declaring, "Hmmm, yes, fine selection of oboslete technical manuals and toy collecting guides!"

In my studio, I have one of those IKEA shelving grids—you know, the ones with 13" cubbies that perfectly fit records?—where all my books live. My goal was to reduce my collection of books from seven full cubbies to four. That's 52 inches of books.

Elephant magazine

Books that didn't make the cut would get packed up into boxes. Presumably they'll be dealt with at a later time.

I made the arbitrary decision to exclude comic books and zines from these shelves but to allow longer-form graphic novels and manga. My thought here is that comics and zines don't really stand up on their own in bookshelf world: too floppy, no spine, easily crushed by hardback books and negligent reshelving. I prefer to keep 'em in binders or portfolios. So, comics and zines get their own cubby. OK.

In the end, here are the books I decided to keep in the four book cubbies. No showboating, no misty-memories books, no assembly language workbooks that changed my life forever but basically haven't been cracked open since 2011. Only books that actually get referenced or read regularly made the cut. (Or, in the rare case, a book that I expect to reference soon. But this is treacherous territory, so I tried to be judicious in including these.)

Enjoy the list below. And if the mood strikes you, nod along as you whisper, "Oh, I read a chapter of this in art school..."

  • 80sガーリーデザインコレクション
  • 80sガールズ大百科
  • Amusement Machines
  • Apple T-Shirts
  • The Art of Computer Designing
  • ASTRO girl! (July 2014)
  • The Best of Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy
  • Bruno Munari: My Futurist Past
  • Build an HTML5 Game
  • Charley Harper
  • Codex Seraphinianus
  • A Decade of Barbie Dolls and Collectibles: 1981-1991
  • Delete: A Design History of Computer Vapourware
  • Design as Art
  • Designing Embedded Hardware
  • Does Jane Compute?: Preserving Our Daughters' Place in the Cyber Revolution
  • Dynamic Symmetry: A Primer
  • Electronics Illustrated (June 1959)
  • Elephant (Summer 2017)
  • Fanzines: A DIY Revolution
  • From Girls to Grrrlz: A History of ♀ Comics from Teens to Zines
  • Game Graphics
  • Geometric Graphics
  • Ghost World
  • GLI.TC/H 20111 READER[ROR]
  • Grafix (Vol. 1)
  • Hertzian Tales
  • The History of Nintendo: 1980-1991
  • How to Build Your Own Working Microcomputer
  • HOW TO マシン語 Z80/6809 マスター編
  • HTML5 Games
  • Illustration in Japan (Vol. 3)
  • Krazy Kids' Food!
  • Level (November 2014)
  • Making Games for the Atari 2600
  • Marfa Modern: Artistic Interiors of the West Texas High Desert
  • Memphis: Objects, Furniture & Patterns
  • Murach's C# 2015
  • Nagel: The Art of Patrick Nagel
  • The Nature of Code
  • The New Illustration
  • No More Rules: Graphic Design and Postmodernism
  • Paul Rand
  • Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose
  • ピコっとハニエル (Vol. 1)
  • Pioneers—Layout Design
  • Popular Computing (January 1985)
  • Popular Computing (February 1985)
  • Popular Computing (April 1985)
  • Pretty Ugly: Visual Rebellion in Design
  • Psycho-Pictography: The New Way to Use the Miracle Power of Your Mind
  • Retrofonts
  • QuizFest (August 2014)
  • Sex from Scratch
  • So Pretty/Very Rotten
  • Steal like an Artist
  • Studio Secrets for the Graphic Artist
  • Susan Kare ICONS
  • 高田明美アートブック2 クリステラ
  • Video Girl Ai (Vol. 1)
  • Video Girl Ai (Vol. 2)
  • Video Girl Ai (Vol. 3)
  • Video Girl Ai (Vol. 4)
  • Videogames Hardware Handbook (Vol. 2)
  • Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
  • Ways of Seeing
  • The Web Design Annual
  • What Is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good for Nothing Artist and Her Pussy
  • You're an Asshole for Buying This: The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe
  • The ZX Spectrum Book/The Commodore 64 Book

Posted September 2 at 11:54 PM while recovering from a cold.