03 August, 2011

Nerd Books

I have a lot of books that a layperson would probably dismiss as "nerdy." I did a quick perusal of my shelves and confirmed that they are largely made up of differing categories:

Theater Nerd Books:
The Theater and Its Double - Artaud
Brecht on Theater - Willett
Norton's Complete Shakespeare - Norton and (of course) Shakespeare

Literary Nerd Books:
The Mysteries of Udolpho - Radcliffe
The Annotated Pride and Prejudice and The Annotated Sense and Sensibility - Austen
Aurora Leigh - Browning

Anthology Nerd Books:
17th Century Verse
18th Century Verse
Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Classics Nerd Books:
The Essential Plato
The Essential Dante
Antigone - Sophocles
The Nicomachean Ethics - Aristotle

Scholastic Nerd Books:
Major Voices: 18th Century Women Playwrights
A History of Italian Renaissance Art
The Art and Architecture of Islam: 1250-1800
Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries

In my living room alone, there are seven dictionaries, four novels by Dickens, two copies each of Moby Dick and The Essential Koran, and more Barnes & Noble Classics editions than I can easily count.

But despite book spines that proudly announce their contents to be A Dictionary of Fictional Characters or Etruscan Art, and despite that there are authors on my shelves whom most people have probably never heard of (Burney, Trollope, Boccaccio), I'm pretty sure I just opened a box containing the single nerdiest book I have ever owned. Behold:

That's right. It's Harry Potter in Latin. 


  1. Hi Cousin!

    That is awesome.

    I was just about to comment that most of the nerd books (at least the ones I bothered to bring to or buy in Germany) are language nerd books, covering everything from English usage to German, Czech, Spanish, Danish, and Latin dictionaries. Yay Latin!

    Also, I've been curious about the Mysteries of Udolpho since I first read Northhanger Abbey -- do you recommend it?

  2. 2nd edition Player's Handbook or gtfo.

  3. Ha! The mirroring continues. I just started going through our books and rearranging shelves. My classics are mostly Dover editions, rather than B&N (who doesn't love Dover's free, 70s-esque 'art'?)

  4. I'll see your AD&D Player's Manual and raise you a 1st ed Deities and Demigods...

  5. Harry Potter in Latin? I'm thinking that's kind of awesome, even though I don't know Latin. :) Harrius Potter makes me giggle though.

  6. Oh dear, now that's a challenge.. :) Ok, how about Gerard Genette's "Paratexts - thresholds of interpretation". A book about page numbers, index pages, footnotes and end papers .. or is that too scholastic? ;)

  7. Karie - not at ALL. That's an impressively nerdy title. When I moved from San Jose CA, I sold a lot of my scholastically nerd-tastic books back - the ones with titles like A History of Plant Propagation, which was fairly stultifying even for me.

    Somewhere around here there's a box of books labeled "Heavy! - Art History Tomes" that I have yet to unpack. There are no fewer than 3 art history survey books in there (all of which have the Mona Lisa and Sistine Chapel, natch), along with several more pointed books. I think there's one about the historical psychology of color and possibly one about symbols in northern renaissance paintings.

    Where IS that box...