The Trees
by Ali Shaw
The Trees by Ali Shaw

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
by Neil Postman
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman

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Bookshelves and other thoughts on books
Posted by Tam

Matt finished putting up bookshelves in the living room this weekend, allowing a lot of our books to come out of their boxed hiding places. Both of us worked at a bookshop at some stage, and between us we’ve acquired a few books. To accommodate them all, we’ve decided to put children’s books in their own bookcase. The design, art and photography books along with the books we used at university are going into Matt’s study. All the others go in the living room or next to the bed.

Even in this short time, quite a bit of reshuffling has taken place. We didn’t want to alphabetize the books as that would split up certain related authors or published series that we’ve collected. Instead, we tried to put similar kinds of books together on some shelves. The Lost Book Club books all go together, accompanied by Sawyer and Jack figurines that we have. The Gollum and Argonath figurines from The Lord of the Rings also have a proper place on the shelf.

We put a couch in front of the book shelves so that I can lie there staring at the book covers. More practically, it can be used as a reading nook. I’ve heard people saying that they love cracking the spine of the book, or taking it with them into the bath. I’m not like that. I love books, of course I do. I just have different feelings towards them. I love keeping the spine beautiful, making it look untouched when I’m done. I’ll admit that I tried understanding the spine breakers by cracking different types of advance copies I’ve kept around. I thought that there might be a particular kind that brings some kind of satisfaction, if there is, I didn’t experience it.

I guess I treat my books like collector’s items which I like to admire on our shelves once I’m done. For this reason, I hate when the design is changed mid-series though I understand why this happens. I realise that once a book has mass-appeal the cover budget is increased and is often made more “accessible”. I just wish the previous design would be continued so that they all match on our shelf. Sometimes I actually prefer the old design.

It sounds silly, but I guess we just put books where it felt they would fit. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I can collect some more children’s books – the empty shelf looks sad.

We’re lucky enough to have similar tastes in books, and while unpacking we found quite a few duplicated copies of awesome books. Instead of being selfish and keeping them all, we’re going to turn these into geocached surprises for others to find and exchange . That’s the plan, at least. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll just leave them in public places for people to find, like The Guardian and Observer book swap does. More on that later…

(These are the books that are to be swapped, and we haven’t even gotten to the design books yet!)

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