Bookshelf Report: Who Needs Clothes?

The Bookshelf Report is an ongoing series where we ask the same 5 questions of Bushwick readers who share 5 pictures of their bookshelf with us. Today’s “bookshelf” comes from Noah Skocilich, a Bushwick fan currently living in China. Noah showed us his traveling books on a recent visit to Seattle.

photo of suitcase full of books

1. What is your favorite book on this shelf? 

Easy. Infinite Jest. Best novel ever. Simply in a class of it’s own. I almost had to stop reading altogether for awhile after finishing, just to let the pure essence of that novel fully settle into my mind. I brought it with me from China thinking that I would give it as a gift to my mother. That didn’t work out, and I’m actually glad, because this is one book I really just do feel a sentimental attachment to; I mean, even to this physical copy, that I physically read over the course of a couple weeks in Jan and Feb 2013.

photo of suitcase bookshelf

2. How do you organize your books?

I’m not totally at peace with this, because I feel it doesn’t honor the content of the books themselves, but being a completely self-admitted visual snob (some might say visually OCD) I always line books up in size order, so that the line of their tops makes the least jagged curve possible. Sometimes this puts similar books together, actually more often not, but in any case the visual consideration usually wins out.

Also, as long as we’re sharing the (sort of) deep secrets of our soul, sometimes i will “organize” books in offices and other people’s homes like this.

Photo of a Kindle in a suitcase

3. Be honest. What percentage of books on this shelf have you actually read?

I think it is like 8 out of 24. (Ed. Note: Pretty impressive, considering Noah bought many of these on this trip.)

Books

4. What book do you plan to read next?

I mentioned above that Infinite Jest is just simply, bar none, my favorite novel of all time, and that I finished it a few months ago. I have read other books since then, but nothing else by David Foster Wallace. I think enough time has passed now though that I am ready (and actually craving) for more. So, pretty sure the next one I read will be the copy of The Pale King that I bought while I was home. That will be the book that I keep in my backpack on the plane.

As a sidenote, one nice thing about flying back and forth between China and the US frequently is that it’s a tremendous opportunity to read all or most of a novel in one stretch. I mean, you could just watch movies and nap, but given that you could take those ten or so hours in the air to have once and for all read a novel that might take you months to get through otherwise, it just feels like a really great opportunity that i would be loath to squander.

In fact, I credit those long flights for really making me a reader to begin with. It was about a year ago exactly actually, that on kind of a whim I picked up Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom in the Seoul Incheon airport, and read most of it on the flight to Seattle. Since then, I’ve always looked forward to these long flights to repeat the experience.

cover of The Pale King

5. Wild Card: Where do you put your clothes?

Ha! Good question…well, being a hippy, you know, I have always felt wearing any clothing at all was overrated. Actually, there’s still room for plenty of clothes in the suitcase. In case you’re wondering why I carry so many books with me traveling, well, I have lived overseas for the last few years in a city where it’s not tremendously easy to stock up on physical copies of English language literature. So, a big part of my semi-annual visits home is exchanging and restocking my reading material. Bring some books home with me to put in ‘deep storage’ so to speak at my mothers, and replace them with others.

Think your bookcase has what it takes? We’d love to take a look! Send us your photos!

  • Geoff Larson

    I love this series!!!!

  • Levi

    I also love this series.

    I hope he enjoys The Pale King. I love it; it totally stands up as a fantastic novel (while making me wish DFW had been able to finish it on his own). His short story collections are essential as well.

  • Noah Skocilich

    Hi Levi, glad to hear you enjoyed The Pale King. I got a pretty good start own it on the plane from Seattle to Seoul, and finished in a week or so after getting home.

    In any case, yes, loved it. In the way that I’m sure you understand some people simply love David Fster Wallace’s writing, I simply loved and delighted in it, and still do, even though that feeling is mixed with sadness for DFW’s too-early death, and the now forever wondering what the novel would have and was meant to have been.

    Have you read all of his others?