Dataviz for "My Ideal Bookshelf"


Fred sez, "My lady, Thessaly La Force, recently published a book with the artist Jane Mount called 'My Ideal Bookshelf.' In it, Thessaly interviews over 100 people and Jane paints their bookshelves. As I observed Jane and Thessaly compile the book over the last year, I couldn't help but think about all the fun opportunities I could have exploring the data behind the shelves. Each of the 101 contributors Thessaly interviewed picked as many books as they thought represented their ideal bookshelf, and I knew some of them would pick identical books. What would the most popular book be (it was Lolita)? On average, how many books did people choose? What would a taste graph linking contributors to each other using the books on their shelves look like? So I pulled the data together into a set of graphs an interactive 3D plot that visualizes the relationships of the contributors based on the books they choose."

The Data Behind My Ideal Bookshelf (Thanks, Fred!)

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  1. I wasn’t going to comment on this post, when suddenly this uber cool kid wearing sunglasses popped out of nowhere to attempt & coerce me into taking a survey. Say what?  

  2. This reminds me of that photo project from about a year ago about “what do you carry on your person” or somesuch, which resulted in a lot of highly self-curated collections instead of actual pocket contents. It read almost as a shopping guide in a glossy magazine; “if you want to be like this person, keep your Moleskine notebook ($12) in your Chrome messenger bag ($140), which includes pockets for your Oliver Peoples eyeglasses ($300) and your iPhone 4S ($200 with 2-yr contract.)”  It says a lot about how the subjects would like to be perceived, without offering any contrast with how they actually perceive themselves or are perceived by others.  Lord knows there’s a lot of stuff on my shelves that I like a lot but wouldn’t put forth as representative of how cool I am (the Savage Sword of Conan anthologies leap out as an example. People have actually made negative comments about that one to my face.)

    1. This reminds me of that photo project from about a year ago about “what do you carry on your person” or somesuch, which resulted in a lot of highly self-curated collections instead of actual pocket contents.

      The fact that nobody had a booger-crusted handkerchief gave it away.

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