Our Bright Young Collectors series continues today with Evan DeTurk, an undergraduate at Princeton University who won this year’s Elmer Adler Book Collection Award.
Where are you from / where do you live?
I grew up in Seattle, Washington and currently live in Princeton, NJ.
what do you study at university? What do you hope to do after graduation?
I am currently an undergraduate student studying Molecular Biology with a minor in Jazz Studies. I hope to pursue a career in research, biotechnology or biohazards, and to continue playing and writing music on the side.
Please introduce us to your book collection. What areas do you gather in?
I primarily collect science fiction and comics and have a collection currently split between Seattle and Princeton. At this point, all of my purchases are books I plan to read and hope to create a collection that showcases the fascinating history and diversity of science fiction. I especially love reading and collecting books that represent important parts of the history of science fiction, interesting and/or new subgenres, and stories with different cultural influences.
How many books are in your collection?
According to my trusted spreadsheet, I currently have 45 books, 25 graphic novels/comic collage editions, and 125 solo cartoons. People who know me know that I love making lists and organizing things, and my book collection is no exception.
What was the first book you bought for your group?
I honestly have no idea when I decided I was sponsoring a collection and not just buying the books I liked, but I think the first book I bought in the current set was a hard copy of cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. This book is not science fiction in the traditional sense, but it undoubtedly includes elements of the genre and really opened my eyes to the diversity within science fiction.
How about the latest book?
The most recent book I bought was a hardcover version nerve cancer By William Gibson on eBay. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the menu and ended up receiving a different cover than I expected! Regardless, I’m really excited to read this book because I’m a huge fan of “cyberpunk” (I think Blade Runner or ghost in bowl) subtype and nerve cancer It is one of his specific literary works.
And your favorite book in your collection?
In terms of both the story and the book itself, this should be Dune by Frank Herbert. I love the world that Herbert created and the themes he explored in the first three books of the series. My copy is a huge market paperback from 1977 that may not seem unique in itself but is so special to me that I got it from my aunt when she passed away.
The best deal you’ve found?
I found plenty of cheap books at thrift stores and used bookstores, but the best deals were actually free books I found in the dorm aisles while commuting to my university. For example, I found an original Octavia Butler dawn I’m sitting outside my building laundry room this year!
What about the person who walked away?
The original hardcover version by Ted Chiang’s Stories from your life and othersHis first collection of short stories. The script itself is another one of my favorites – every story in the book is a winner and the collection showcases how short fiction continues to play a vital role in driving science fiction ideas forward. The original cover looks amazing but it’s not amazing enough for me to justify spending the amount of money I need to get it. I have the new paperback version but it’s definitely not the same.
What will be the Holy Grail for your group?
Someday, I’d like to have a really cool version of Brave new world. This is not only a fantastic piece of dystopian science fiction but also a literary classic, and as a result it has been published in high-quality formats that you won’t see in most other books I collect. Normally I wouldn’t mind – I actually love collecting vintage paperbacks on the market because they help romanticize the good old days of sci-fi publishing and also fit my hand better when reading – but there’s something undeniably exciting about having a kind of fancy. Skin-related volume as well. I read for the first time Brave new world Before I start compiling, so when I decide to re-read it, I may just have to find an oddly nice copy.
Who is your favorite bookseller/bookstore?
I don’t know if I have a favorite off the top of my head, but from everywhere I’ve been lately, I’ve particularly enjoyed my visits to Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Strand Books in New York City.
What would you collect if you didn’t collect books?
While I also collect pens and baseball caps, I’d like a hard vinyl roller set as well. I love to play, write, and listen to music, but I only own about ten recordings at the moment for financial and storage reasons. One space-intensive set would probably be enough for a college student who has to move each year.