cover image My Ideal Bookshelf

My Ideal Bookshelf

Edited by Thessaly La Force, art by Jane Mount. Little, Brown, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-20090-5

Cutting across the disciplines of art, music, food, and literature, the celebrities interviewed here share the books that have mattered most in their lives. Their preferred titles reflect career choices (Hugh Acheson, a Southern chef whose bookshelf holds food-related tomes) or the books that influenced their childhood (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author who read British literature growing up but grew to love novels by Chinua Achebe and Jamaica Kincaid). Through glimpses into these personal libraries, editor LaForce and illustrator Mount hope to expose their audience to a vast variety of literature. Indeed, the layout of the book contributes to creating a sense of cultural diversity; the alphabetizing of the contributors leaves chefs next to authors next to musicians. The beautiful and brightly colored images of book spines that accompany each interview evoke the whimsy of a personal library on a quiet, rainy Saturday with a couch and blanket nearby. The brevity of the interviews and dynamic illustrations make this a perfect coffee table book: easily skimmed and a happy and inspiring conversation starter. (Nov.)