Ahhhh Bookshelves

March 12, 2012

When it comes to furniture shopping I think I’d be content to buy but only bookshelves … apparently I’m not alone. Here is a poem by Robert Service and a quote from Anna Quindlen and a few images of lovely shelves to admire …

 Book Lover

I keep collecting books I know
I’ll never, never read;
My wife and daughter tell me so,
And yet I never heed.
“Please make me,” says some wistful tome,
“A wee bit of yourself.”
And so I take my treasure home,
And tuck it in a shelf.

And now my very shelves complain;
They jam and over-spill.
They say: “Why don’t you ease our strain?”
“some day,” I say, “I will.”
So book by book they plead and sigh;
I pick and dip and scan;
Then put them back, distrest that I
Am such a busy man.

Now, there’s my Boswell and my Sterne,
my Gibbon and Defoe;
To savour Swift I’ll never learn,
Montaigne I may not know.
On Bacon I will never sup,
For Shakespeare I’ve no time;
Because I’m busy making up
These jingly bits of rhyme.

Chekov is caviare to me,
While Stendhal makes me snore;
Poor Proust is not my cup of tea,
And Balzac is a bore.
I have their books, I love their names,
And yet alas! they head,
With Lawrence, Joyce and Henry James,
My Roster of Unread.

I think it would be very well
If I commit a crime,
And get put in a prison cell
And not allowed to rhyme;
Yet given all these worthy books
According to my need,
I now caress with loving looks,
But never, never read.

Robert William Service
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” – Anna Quindlen


I’ve noticed a trend in decor lately and it’s related to books. I’ve mentioned already how lovely I think it is when a home proudly displays its read and to-be-read volumes in a place of importance among the rest of a family’s artefacts. As impressive as this trend of shelving books according to colour may be it strikes me that it might take up some valuable reading hours to create the effect.  I personally shelve mostly according to the school of willy-nilly. I do keep my already-reads separate from the yet-to-be-enjoyed . . . my book club choices have a shelf (ok make that shelves) of their own but beyond that there is no evidence of any strategy whatsoever and Dewey clearly remains unacknowledged. How do you shelve? Are you tempted to sort by colour and let rainbows emerge from the spines of your library?  I know a few of you at least are a Kindle, Kobo or iPad happier after the holiday … can you stock your shelves as colourfully? Do send photos if you are already embracing the trend!

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