The good-book fairy is granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
So first of all, I need a room. Because that's one thing I've always wanted and never had: a room just for all my books, shelves covering the walls, a south-facing window, the perfect comfy chair with a lamp and a side table where I could put my drink. Last year, I went to a party thrown by someone from work, and she had the most beautiful attic library -- a huge open room with low ceilings and dormer windows and shelves on every wall. Something like that would do nicely. With an excellent stereo system, since I really enjoy listening to music while I read.
As for the books themselves... I am not usually much for fancy editions, or even hardbacks. So I think it would be full of paperbacks, ideally trade paperbacks because I think those fit in my hand the best. With two exceptions: a reference section, full of fun dictionaries and writing manuals and encyclopedias on interesting subjects and various editions of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable; and a selection of architecture books full of pretty pretty pictures. Those I'd like in good hardcover editions. But the rest would be paper. A nice smattering of feminist thought and travel writing and books on the media, and then lots and lots of fiction. Classic and modern YA; sci-fi and fantasy, some literary fiction, some trashy romance. A book for every mood, that would be my goal. And graphic novels! Definitely graphic novels.
Signed editions? Eh, I don't care so much about those. Only if it means that I got to meet the author -- that's more important to me than the signature on the title page, or the overleaf. Readability is the key for me.
But really, it's mostly about that comfy space. Someday, it will be mine.
Fun question! Anyone else wants to answer this one, I'd love to see it.