Thursday, February 17, 2011

Unshelfless ...

I have these shelves, see?

Built-ins. They flank my fireplace. Shelves above, storage below.


And I have books, see? A lot of books. More books than I have space on shelves, but I love my books and it pains me to let them go. So I thin, selectively and infrequently. But the time has come to thin again.

I've been looking at my books and thinking that there's got to be a better way. Right now, I have them divided and grouped. To the right of the fireplace, cookbooks. To the left of the fireplace, fiction and non-fiction, biography and photography and history and anatomy and biology (hey, I was pre-med; they still interest me), self-help and design.

The cookbooks are grouped by cuisine or type or sometimes author. All the cookie books are together, naturally, but they are part of a larger baking group.

The other books are grouped by genre, fiction by author (all the John Irvings together, Barbara Kingsolvers, etc.). It all makes sense to me.

But the shelves, they're crowded, no room to breathe. And one day, the verticality began to irk me. All those books, lined up, book after book after book. And then I ran across a picture in a magazine of a bookshelf that features books both horizontally and vertically. Not horizontally as a pleasant pedestal for an objet, oh no. Just oases of books stacked up, lying down, amid a forest of books typically shelved.

So I tried that.

You know what?

It creates more of a jumble. My books looked less like books and more like a quilt.

Here are a couple of shelves of cookbooks. See what I mean?

No, no, no, no, no.

So the time has come to thin. I culled many books last year and gave them away to good homes and charities. Now the time has come again.

I can't imagine parting with too many cookbooks, but I can take a good whack at the other side. At the very least, I can pack some away.

No, no. Give them away, Beth. Give them away. Move 'em on out. Let your bookshelves breathe.

But what of certain paperbacks. They're not so fetching.

Baskets, I thought, and measured the shelves for depth.

Initially, I thought about something basic, like this:

But surely there had to be more out there.

I thought perhaps of some sort of wire baskets from a locker room gone by. Or maybe these, from the modern day:

But if I don't want to see paperbacks on the shelf, why would I want to see them in a wire basket?

This guy's dimensions rock:

But could he be more boring?


This dude offers a little more interest:

But then I found these:

Ooh, the color! And I hadn't considered wood.

I think those might be the winner.

But first, to thin.

(To make room for more.)


Blogger Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

Something about the idea of books (a quintessentially nerdy thing) residing in locker room baskets (a quintessentially jock thing) tickles my brain in a wonderful way.

~ Kristen

3:28 PM  

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