Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogging about bookshelves

Recently (or, at least, recentishly), my friends Jen and Alex both blogged about home libraries* and encouraged other people to send/post pictures and talk about how they go about displaying books. I didn't take either one up on the offer, but not because of apathy - I simply hadn't gotten around to taking any pictures of my furniture/rooms since we last moved.

Clearly, though, I'm going somewhere with this. And if you guessed that I wouldn't write about home libraries and my lack of pictures unless I had finally taken some and was going to post them, well, you'd be right.

This is a shot of the legal bookcases in our dining room, which are just ridiculously sexy - hence, they're prominently displayed in the room at the center of the house. The one on the left houses most of our fiction and poetry, roughly half of that lowest shelf devoted to cook books. The one of the right is mostly fun stuff - poppy and mindless books on the top shelf, mass market hardcovers and 50 year old kid's lit on the middle shelf, and books that will eventually be Penelope's on the bottom. (Along with a box set of John Lennon demos and Queer as Folk DVDs, both of which had nowhere else to go.) But the point is, clearly, to showcase the bookcases themselves.

This is from our office. I have one of those big shelf units with the desk attachment, which is why the four squares in the bottom-left corner are basically a wash (my files, some computer junk, and the power-bar). The higher eight shelves are almost exclusively comic books, and the other four shelves mostly books about politics and theory. It's spectacularly hard to actually see any of them, though, I can tell - in part, that's because I used a moody, high-contrast visual effect on all of these; in part, it's because Blogger absolutely sucks when it comes to preserving the detail that does exist in the image.

The tower beside it is exclusively academic stuff, with whole shelves devoted to our particular fields (a masculinity shelf, a third-wave feminism shelf, and so on), except for the very top shelf, which is all Foucault and Butler. It's was previously an ugly, tan-colored Billy bookcase, but I spray-painted it black to match the other unit and bought the black door to increase its impressiveness by at least 200%.

This one's just fun. It's another Ikea bookcase, which matched nothing in our last two places but fits really well with the trim on the doorways in this house. Anyway, it's in the hallway and filled with goofy/cool stuff that earns us hipster capital.

* A fun note about Jen and Alex's ways of approaching the topic: superficially, at least, they bring some very different concerns and investments to the table: Jen uses the term "book storage" in her post's title, while Alex throws around the word "bibliophilia". And yet they're also both responding (with a lot of derision) to paranoia around The Disappearance of The Book, so they're really not all that different.


Jen said...

Shout out for me? I'll take it.

I like the dining room units best - more for the shelves than the books. Good bookcases are hard to find.

neilshyminsky said...

Victoria's dad bought them at an auction. They were, if I'm recalling correctly, formerly owned by the CP rail company. I would guess that this is the way to find them, if you don't want to be paying an excessive amount at an antiques store.