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LibraryThing! Thou Benign Expresser of Aspiration!

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O December, time of year-end lists. I suppose it’s fashionable to bemoan the listiness of this season. I don’t partake in the derision. The lists fold so well into the resolutions of December 31; I’ve got to read this and this and this book; pick up that CD by that one group; get myself to see that one play before it closes! For anyone aspiring to cultural mavenhood (I aspire, at least), it’s a time of promise.

Relatedly, you know what I like? I like LibraryThing’s Bookshelf feature. You’re supposed to use it for books you’ve read, but LibraryThing has recently limited its nonpaying (i.e., freeloading) users to 100 titles, which puts a crimp in the whole “here’s what I’ve read” concept. So I’ve repurposed my list to display titles I would like to own but do not. Here’s mine, by all means, have a peek.

Reading aspirations are complicated. A list like this one is a great way to show off how erudite you are, or want to be; protestations that I would certainly end up reading the merest fraction of the listed titles (which I make, I make!) end up being ineffectual.

I prefer the Bookshelf to that blog perennal, the linked Amazon wishlist, which I often find a mildly aggravating passive-aggressive move. With the Bookshelf (when used as I have), the implied demand for reader gifting is put at several removes. So if, dear reader, you desperately want to buy me any of these books, hey, go nuts. But I’m not going to supply the link that turns it into a subtle expectation on my part.

I wish I could find an easy way to convert the list of titles into .txt format so I could pop it into my iPod. But I haven’t, yet. Whenever I’m in bookstores, I can never remember which darned books I so ardently desire.

The true secret reason I like LibraryThing’s Bookshelf is, Look! Pretty covers! —Martin Schneider


We have actually had an iPod export feature, called iPodThing, in testing at LibraryThing—technically, it was just a pet project of mine because I wanted to do the same thing with my iPod. The only reason that we haven’t released it is because we aren’t completely happy with it due to an Apple-imposed limit on the number of Notes that an iPod can have. But, if you are using a free LT account you will be well under the iPod limit and can use the tool to have a complete list of your books on your iPod. Send me an email with your LT user name and I’ll give you more information. -Christopher (LT: conceptDawg)

Will do! Thanks!

Just today, I happened on the LibraryThing page for Bob Mankoff. But I can’t figure out what Elementary, the Cartoonist Did It is. Is it a cartoon collection, a book of verse, a treatise on political economies, a youthful memoir? Inquiring minds want to google!

Darn good question! I stumbled on a big image of the cover, but it doesn’t tell you all that much and I suspect you’ve seen it. Other than that it’s mostly alibris-type listings sans description of contents. The mystery deepens….

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