And the 2012 Winners Are!

Congratulations to Emily Selinger, Ian Fox, and Asya Pokrovskaya, winners of the 2012 Book Collecting Contest!

1st place:
Emily Selinger
Collection: "Words of the Waves: A Nautical Collection".

Emily did an excellent job on her essay which shows her passion and knowledge of, and as she says her obsession for the sea.  She grew up on the coast of Maine and from the time she was a toddler was involved with boats and the sea.  Every summer as a child she explored Casco Bay; went on to teach sailing; spent a high school semester abroad on a training vessel in the Caribbean and eastern seaboard; and eventually after a year in college spent two years as a deck hand, educator and finally a first mate on an historic fishing schooner that went from the Virgin Islands to the Great Lakes and back. Thirty books comprise Emily's collection.   The books deal with topics as wide ranging as sea critters; fishing schooners; rope and knots; weather; poetry of the sea; stars; children's experiences at sea;  photos of the NE coast; the art of sailing and longitude. The essay and bibliography are clear, focused and detailed in her love and knowledge of the sea. She is a very deserving winner.

  • What prompted you to apply?
    I have to admit that I was initially very tempted to apply based on the cash prizes offered. When looking through my personal library for books to include in my collection, however, I got rather swept up in the process of reexamining and reflection on the importance of each item to me, where they came from and why I have them. Applying for this contest became a unexpected reexamination of a lifelong passion of mine, and how book collecting has helped me foster that passion.
  • What are your plans after graduation?
    I'll be a junior next year, studying abroad in Italy in the fall.
  • Do you have a favorite place to look for books?
    I really enjoy looking for books in used and independent bookstores, particularly in new places that I have the chance to travel to. I also greatly enjoy sharing and trading books with friends and family.
  • Any advice you would give to future collectors?
    I think most people don't realize they even have something that constitutes a collection in their personal library. In thinking about applying, I was doubtful if I had enough items to meet the requirements. In going through my shelves at home, though, I was blown away by how many books on my topic I really did have. I think I would just say that it's worth taking some time to browse through your personal library. Those topics that are most dear to you probably will produce a surprising range of items.
  • What is your favorite item in your collection?
    I love everything in my collection... its hard to pick a favorite. Of particularly special value, however, are the children's book "Wynken Blynken and Nod", by Eugene Field, and the historical textbook Men Ships and the Sea", by Capt. Allan Villiers.



2nd place:
Ian Fox
Collection: “The Devolution of man: Mental and social ‘madness’ throughout literature”.

Ian thoroughly deserves this award, having written an insightful essay which describes the genesis of his collection and its evolution, and the justification for the books he has included and shared with us in his bibliography. The ‘literature’ which makes up his collection includes novels, plays, and stories – and even a much-loved and admired children’s book.
Clearly a great deal of thought – and, as Ian notes – some "subconscious filtering" – has gone into assembling the collection to date. I applaud Ian for the selection of the works he has submitted, and wish him the very best in both
expanding and refining his collection for many years to come.

  • What prompted you to apply?
    I've always loved how books absorbed me into the text and forced me to reexamine my world. When I saw the signs for the Contest I did some research on past winners and thought that it would be alot of fun to synthesize the themes of books that had accumulated in my years of reading.
  • Do you have a favorite place to look for books?
    I found a used book store in the Proctor District, just a few blocks away from campus, but I like to get lost in any sort of book store. I found a few of my books in a Half-Price Books in Minneapolis. For me, used books are always better. The aged and used feeling adds character.
  • Any advice you would give to future collectors?
    I would say that there are no future collectors, only collectors who don't yet know that they collect. Whether academic or recreational, a group of books that anyone might accumulate on anyone's bookshelf probably has some sort of theme already. So I would not offer advice, but, rather, tell people to look at what books you enjoy and love reading about, see what you have already, and just wander some bookstores. Wandering gives surprising focus in the mind of a collector.
  • What is your favorite item in your collection?
    My favorite book would be a copy of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." It has a dark blue fabric lining with black and gold text on the outside, which really feels like what the book should embody. Substantive and slightly used, but still in good condition, the book also feels a little grim when I hold it in my hands, which I think is pretty cool. It's also just a great book.



3rd place:  
Asya Pokrovskaya

Collection: “In Search of America: A Discovery of Agency through Language and Symbols.”  

Asya wrote a thoughtful essay about exploring the search for the American-ness through literature.  This is a huge topic, so she pulled together her collection to “understand the malleability and transformative nature of place in relation to the empowered individual.”  She submitted a carefully crafted bibliography which describes the books in question and also the role they play in her collection .  She includes fiction and non-fiction, a play, a correspondence collection, a collection of cartoons, an autobiography and a photograph.  The works were published over a period of time stretching from 1959-2011 and illustrate diverse viewpoints.  Her original thesis and her passion to pursue that theme are part of the reason she is an award winner this year.  Congratulations!

  • What prompted you to apply?
    I have always had a deep love for books. Books are probably my biggest guilty pleasure, overflowing my book shelf and piling up on night stands and sometimes piles on the floor. I've wanted to apply to the contest for a number of years, but was always discouraged because my books are so scattered, some being at my home in Denver, some here in Tacoma, some lent to friends (probably to never be seen again). This year, however, I realized that my favorite books were on my bookshelf, and even if there are ones missing, the ones I have with me are the ones that go together best.
  • What are your plans after graduation?
    After graduation I will actually be working for the University at the Registrar's Office for a year, as a temporary Academic Recorder. I am also applying for the Peace Corps, and hope to do that after this year.
  • Do you have a favorite place to look for books?
    I have a lot of favorite book stores - Powell's in Portland, Tattered Cover in Denver, King's Books in Tacoma. I think that the most fun place to look for books, however, is the basement of Sanford & Sons on Antique Row in Tacoma. The basement is filled with shelves and shelves of books, many of which are antiques and rare editions, that you can sift through and sometimes you can find something truly incredible.
  • Any advice you would give to future collectors?
    There have often been times when I've been torn about buying a book because I don't really have the money, or the space, or I know that I probably won't read it for a long time (if ever). Ultimately, the book is always worth it; it can be an endless source of inspiration, even when it is just sitting on your book shelf, or even if you just pick it up and flip through the pages. Books are patient and they will wait for when you're ready to read them.
  • What is your favorite item in your collection?
    The favorite item in my collection is The Collected Cartoons of the New Yorker. Looking through the book is like leafing through American politics, history and society.



The aim of the competition was to encourage full-time students at University of Puget Sound to read for enjoyment and to develop personal libraries throughout their lives, to appreciate the special qualities of printed or illustrated works, and to read, research, and preserve the collected works for pleasure and scholarship.”

The award was sponsored by the Book Club of Washington, a nonprofit organization of book lovers and collectors who has a special interest in collecting and preserving printed materials.  It is a goal of the club to support a new generation of collectors with awards and recognition of their collecting accomplishments.  The club held its annual awards reception on April 19th, where the University of Puget Sound and all 19 students were recognized for their achievement.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the contest.  Plans are already underway for next year’s contest!

Brenna Buckstaff ‘14, Building Better: A Collection on Architecture and Design
Alyssa Christensen ‘12, Sylvia Plath: The Writing & The Woman
Emily Ehrlich (graduate), Collecting the Old West
Ian Fox ‘14, The Devolution of Man: Mental and Societal “Madness” Throughout Literature
Laura Hollister ‘12, A Passion for a Lifetime
Emily Johnston ‘12, Experience and Expression: Seeing Trauma Through Comics
Shannon Kilgore ‘14, The Unlimited Page: Polyphonic Storytelling Within and Without the Otherworld and the Fantastic
Garner Lanier ‘12, Constructing the Body & the Subject: Gendered Theories of the Self
Shelby Lee ‘13, The Construction of Other in Science Fiction and Fantasy
Jessy Lynn ‘13, Passion in Print
Kelsey McCornack ‘12, My How to Draw Manga Book Collection
Toria Messinger ‘14, Signed Book Collection
Vicki Parsons (graduate), Amazing Book Collection
Asya Pokrovskaya ‘12, In Search of America: A Discovery of Agency through Language & Symbols
Lauren Sakin ‘12, Collecting the Idea of Tea
Claire Sarff-Foden ‘13, The Child in All of Us
Emily Selinger ‘14, Words of the Waves: A Nautical Collection
Leah Shamlian ‘15, Keep Calm and Row On
Taylor Westly ‘12, Voice: A Collection On Finding It