Saturday, February 19, 2011

Every bookcase in our house


Jay Livingston said...

Is this an argument for going digital? Is the message this: the books on those shelves will soon seem as quaint and inconvenient as that orange rotary phone in the first picture?

jrlennon said...

Nah, it's just a lot of books. We'll probably have most of them until we're dead, and then some.

Sasha said...

Speaking of, have you seen the new Penguin Classics, that hardback series?

I don't really buy a book unless it's beautiful. Or at least I don't KEEP it. But what do you think about buying a book BECAUSE it's beautiful?

They're only like $13/pop. And they'll last forever, right? I have some books from my (late) grandfather, and they mean a lot to me. I want my kids to have a library like that, too.

Yet another reason why I can't get into the Kindle.Books aren't just for information. They're for pleasure! They're meant to be loved!

jrlennon said...

eh...I dunno. They're tech, like anything else. I happen to like them a lot, but I'm not terribly sentimental about them.

I used to be a real book fetishist--all my hardcovers had acetate jacket protectors on them, I would never in a million years dogear one or lay it open and flat to save a page. Then I married Rhian, who is much more cavalier about the treatment of books. So I eventually came around to her way of thinking, and now I've gone even farther and have kind of stopped giving a rat's ass at all.

It's all temporary, it will all crumble to dust, or in the case of the Kindle get deleted/corrupted/obsoleted, or whatever. But while I'm alive I'm delighted to be surrounded by paper books, and I'm sure I will be until I'm dead.

I do, however, find cheap paperbacks to be beautiful, often way more so than elegantly bound hardcovers. I don't really like the fussiness, the anality of good bindings. I like a crappy mass market book you need to use a rubber band or hair scrunchy to hold together, or with corners that break off in your fingers, or one that's warped from getting dropped in the tub, or stained by rusty drippings from a pipe. I like things that are functional and look like they have lived.

Sasha said...

Guess I have a sort of "the kind you f*ck v. the kind you marry" attitude towards books.

Most of them I'm really rough on and leave wherever I am when I finish reading...but I love the idea of a beautiful book that I absolutely adore just sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read it again. Or for me to just look at and imagine reading again.

THOSE books, I will totally get a gorgeous copy of. You'll have to pry my twenty-five dollar copies of Peter Pan and Vanity Fair out of my cold, dead hands. Or at least wait until I'm incapacitated in order to take them out of my otherwise kind of depressing and dirty apartment.

Also, I do think there's something special about reading a really good book in a beautiful format. You wouldn't ruin a delicious meal by eating it off of styrofoam, right? I feel like the format and the content should match. Throw-away with throw-away, fussy and high-quality with fussy and high-quality.

violentbore said...

In response to Sasha's last comment, I can agree that a fine meal would be ruined - or compromised - if served on styrofoam. Sure.

There's also an argument for keeping your favorites locked away, or stored on pristine bookshelves to remain crisp and beautiful until your dying days.

I wholly disagree with that (er, paraphrased) sentiment. I want my favorites to have the appearance of something that's been used and used and loved to it's core. I want to own multiple copies of my favorites so I can give them away on a whim. I want the 'fussy and high-quality' to endure a little loving punishment, you know?

Who, now, can remember the name of the stuffed bear that sat on top of your childhood dresser, out of reach? I'll take the crusty one with mismatched button-eyes that stinks to high heaven, please.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this and thought you'd enjoy: Libraries of the Rich and Famous(via flavorwire, via Mental Floss)

I love that Karl Lagerfed room. Insane.

Ginger said...

Jealous! All but about 50 of my books are in storage until I can afford a place of my own again. And I'm fiercely sentimental about them. In the past fifteen years I've moved seven times around four states--which has usually meant losing or leaving a lot behind. Case in point: I arrived in Ithaca four years ago with little more than my books, my clothes, and my daughter. So my particular derangement about the books is that I look at them and feel reassured that I (and by extension my world) actually existed before I woke up on my air mattress this morning. No way I'm switching to virtual books, so I hope publishers keep manufacturing my little existential anchors until such time as there's no me left to need them.

knigt said...

I notice the hardcover of Already Dead by Denis Johnson -- have you read it? I'm in the middle of it now, mostly because the thrift store had it for $1 and I wanted to better understand the impact of Tree of Smoke is when I read it next. Though to be honest I don't even put it in the same league as Fiskadoro or Jesus' Son...

jrlennon said...

This has become a surprisingly interesting discussion! BTW, sorry iPhone/iPad users, for the flash slideshow. Which you are seeing as a blank.

Not wild about Already Dead. Tree Of Smoke is ace, though. AD sure stands out on a bookshelf, doesn't it?