Sunday, 10 February 2013

I Love Books

Bookshelf Love

Practically the first thing we did when we moved into our new house was have bookshelves built for the living room. As an open-concept house, this one had few walls, and no long walls where, in previous apartments and our first house, we had placed three or four Ikea Billy bookshelves together, which I think is the way they look best. In this house, with the only long wall split by the focal fireplace, we decided built-ins would look better.

Then we had some crown installed across the top between them. Before I start listing all the things not quite right in the living room, let me say that these shelves and the books on them are at the top of my things in the house for which I am grateful list. With four degrees between the two adults in the family and a houseful of avid readers, it is hard to make room on the shelves, and sometimes I give books away, but then regret it later when I am looking for them. (I see one shelf in the upper right full of photo albums. Surely they can go somewhere else.)

I am now plotting for when my second son moves out next fall: I will move all the Billy bookcases from the garage up to their room and create a long wall by rearranging the beds!  Where to store books is an ongoing concern.

Don't you think the spot between the bookcases would be perfect for wallpaper to match the dining room, which is just left of the left bookshelf?

Here is another bookshelf I love, in an apartment designed by Albert Hadley.
House Beautiful
These are backed with wallpaper. I don't think you can see but ours are backed with bead board.  These ones do what you are supposed to do: add a few object to let the books breath. I never seem to have space for that.

My mom grew up with no money for books, but was an avid library user. I think that is cool, and as my bookshelves fill, I am trying to become a more regular library user myself. I also know about ebooks but never think I will get used to their uncoziness.  Hey, I am a poet, and poetry will always be published by small presses in books, I predict wildly. Still, I can't get used to the sight of bookshelf empty of books.
House Beautiful
This room is called a study, but what would you study in here but the shape of the vases?
And here is something that makes me really mad: bookshelf wallpaper.

I can understand not having money for books, but having money for wallpaper of books before books? I just don't get it. I can't imagine what my mother would say to that.

Here are a few little tricks I have tried after reading decor magazines and books, but I don't recommend them.

First, I reorganized my books by colour. People notice as soon as they walk into the house. But try finding a book by theme, genre, or author, as I used to organize them, and good luck to you. Many hours of frustration have ensued.
Second, I took the glossy paper covers off most of the hard covers in an effort to de-commercialize them and make them look more old fashioned.

The Matthew Arnold books really are old.
The not so obvious problem here is that in my mind is the picture of Angela's Ashes, The Courage to Teach and all the rest with their paper covers on. Now they are doubly hard to find!

I guess this summer I will go through them all again, put their covers on, and rearrange them by some method other than colour. Sure it will look more chaotic, but life will be calmer.  I like this work, because I get to hold each friend in my hands and love them up close, one at a time. You can't do that with an ebook.


Tess said...

Do you have them catalogued? That would be fun :) I organize mine by topic/period and genre. One day I hope to have spine labels and a proper classification system in my library *g*...

Susan Telfer said...

That is pretty well how they used to be organized, and it works a lot better than colour for finding books!

Tess said...

I should also say my fiction is organized first by genre, then by author...

Grace Telfer said...

I agree about the ebooks. Reading off the computer is already weird enough, but to read books offa a screen? Ugh!