Friday, March 1, 2013

Bookcase Bookcase on the Wall

I don’t think I would be revealing too much if I admitted that whenever I go to someone’s house I head straight for their bookcase to see where their heads have travelled. If you are reading this, you probably do the same. So in this brave new world of e-reading where bookcases might disappear and you can’t tell what latté sippers or subway riders are delving into because all that you see is the back of a Kindle, what will happen to our curiosity about our fellow and sister travellers?

One trend that is floating around the interior design world is bookcase as decorating artifact. Recently we supplied a condo developer with ten feet of darkly spined books. It didn’t matter what the books were. OK, it seemed odd to me, but it was fairly easy to do and so we filled the order.

Another movement that seems to be gathering momentum is books as art, or at least as props in the artistic endeavor. (See, for instance, Jane Mount and Thessaly La Force's My Ideal Bookshelf.) At a recent contemporary art show that I attended, the artist who had the most red "sold" dots was someone whose sole output was heavily lacquered and shiny pictures of bookcases. They looked lovely to me, and obviously to others. The pieces were also expensive, so I guess this guy has caché.

I’m not sure what is going on here. It could be that people realize that books are an endangered species and so a picture of them is better than nothing. Or it could be that people still believe in the British writer Anthony Powell’s title and all that it implies metaphorically—Books Do Furnish a Room.

- Barb

p.s For those addicted to looking at photos of beautiful bookshelves and libraries, take a peek at the site Bookshelf Porn (yes, you can safely view the site at work).

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