I did some rearranging in the home office, and ended up with an empty shelf immediately to my right at eye level. My first temptation was to fill it with the kinds of things that I like to pull out and read, or just look at, as a kind of mental palate cleanser throughout the day.
The list of books on the shelf is a fair jumble, but one of the big standouts is Coffin: The Art of Vampire Hunter D, courtesy of a good and longtime friend of mine. It's enormous, for one -- a softcover in a hardback sleeve -- and it opens up across the whole desk when I look through it. It's a nice way to remind myself that the moment we're in, here and now, is not the only thing that could exist or has existed.
One of the other books on there is the screenplay / art portfolio that Akira Kurosawa assembled for Ran. It is out of print and not easy to find, and in my utopia there will be a copy of this book to go with a copy of the movie. I think if I had to throw out all but ten books in my collection, this would be one of those ten without me even having to think about it. Kurosawa painted the pictures in the book over several years, when he was already nearly blind, and the fact that you can look at some of the stills in the movie and some of the canvases and see one-to-one matches in nearly every shot is worth more than any number of years of film school.
There's also that out-of-print book of '20s / '30s Japanese boy's magazine illustrations that I found on eBay and snapped pictures of earlier (I can't find the post I made right now). I was thumbing through that one a lot as inspiration for Vajra, actually -- I strongly suspect the characters I was coming up with were nothing like their actual counterparts on the page. (And if they were, I'd be both surprised and dismayed...)
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind