05 November 2011

Shelf Esteem No. 3

     
With this, my third installment of Shelf Esteem, I worry that regular readers may start to just skip over these posts. Even the best features can become boring over time. But then I think about the voyeuristic, bibliophonic, mania that impels me to do the feature in the first place. And like our often shared tendencies to love book lists and piles of books and collecting book sets just because they exist and rearranging our libraries just for fun, I realize that there is probably a pretty eager fan base out there for Shelf Esteem. And I love dissecting the photos so much that I couldn't keep myself from posting them now if I tried. So I guess I should quit worrying about boring you all--at least as it relates posting photos of bookshelves.

I had a little incident this week where I beat the crap out of my malfunctioning scanner/printer. It is a pity that electronics' manufacturers (and consumers) think that one needs to have extra features to justify higher prices. I would be happier paying more money for fewer features if it meant higher quality and reliability. But those aren't really words that fit into the disposable, just try and get it fixed, world of consumer electronics. Thankfully, I scanned all of my Shelf Esteem images a few weeks ago so I have plenty of images to share until I find a scanner/printer that won't cause me to go nutso.


Cozy Factor: High. I don't necessarily think that clutter equals cozy, but in this case it does. And even without a place to sit, I still find this one very inviting. I can imagine myself sitting on the rug combing the shelves.

The Books: Lots of art books, and midway down on the bottom shelf, those look like they might be auction catalogs. I love how the one book in the second bay is on display by sitting on top another book shoved in below. I am curious about the giant, red Graphic Dictionary of Mexico City sitting on the floor in its own handled carrying case. The stack at the very left in the photo has the autobiographies of both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Among the non-fiction on the shelves I spy Martha, Inc (a tell all about Martha Stewart) and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. The fiction I can see includes Ragtime, White Noise, Queenie, and The Witches of Eastwick. And one called The White Hotel by DM Thomas. Wikipedia says this about it:
The book's first three movements consist of the erotic fantasies and case-history of one of the novelist's conception of Sigmund Freud's female patients, overlapping, expanding, and gradually turning into almost normal narrative. But then the story takes a different course with the convulsions of the century, and becomes a testament of the Holocaust, harrowing and chillingly authentic. Only at the end does the fantasy element return, pulling together the earlier themes into a kind of benediction.
The Shelves: Good, basic, white painted wood. They look sturdy and allow for different size books. I would probably want them up to the ceiling, but then that  wouldn't allow for all the junque on top. (I would also choose different junque and framed pieces, but the overall feel is right.)

Is this person a reader? I think so, but when it comes to fiction s/he seems to have stopped buying hardcovers in the 1980s.

The book I would read if I had to pick one: I think I would choose The White Hotel. I am not interested in women's erotic tales, but it sounds kind of fascinating. Parts of it are also epistolary, which you know I like.
  

16 comments:

  1. The book hoarder in me definitely wants the nice sturdy shelves to extend to the ceiling, but I really do like the hodge podge of framed pictures and knick knacks. Something about them gives it a homier feel. The Wikipedia description of The White Hotel definitely has me curious, if only to know how Thomas gets from erotic fantasy to testament of the Holocaust and back again...

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  2. I love the combination of all the frames and all the books. It's really cool.

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  3. Bring on the "voyeuristic, bibliophonic, mania" !!! For what it's worth, I'm enjoying these posts. I agree this is a cozy shot, which is indeed odd since I usually associate coziness with chairs & sofas. I like all the photos too.

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  4. I'm loving these posts--both the photos and your observations--so keep them coming! We are planning a remodel of our home, which includes library/bookshelf space...so I need all the ideas I can get. :)

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  5. I would need those shelves to the ceiling since I don't organize junque too well, but I do love the white wood.

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  6. I'm loving Shelf Esteem: book-porn and room-porn combined. The white makes it a very restful spot despite the many objects.

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  7. For what it's worth, I'm enjoying Shelf Esteem!

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  8. I love other people's bookshelves. Bring 'em on.

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  9. I love Shelf Esteem! I feel like a book voyeur -- I always look at people's bookshelves, I can't help it. I just wish I could zoom in to the photos a little better.

    It looks to me like this space is some sort of hallway or landing, which would explain the lack of cozy seating. Could it be the owner's overflow bookshelves? Maybe all the post-1980s fiction is somewhere closer at hand, preferably with comfortable chairs. Or a bed.

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  10. I agree with Karen, I think this is a hallway and like the use of space. I love Shelf esteem - please keep it coming.

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  11. Oh, I don't like this one at all. The color, the rug, the dishes across from it. Makes me shiver. :<)

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  12. I agree, this is storage space; maybe these are those pre 1980 books the owners felt compelled to keep for a re-read or hadn’t read yet. I am appalled sometimes by the un-read books on my shelves. Then I get over it.

    Please do keep up your Shelf-Esteem (pun intended). I like the bookish bits as much as I like the reviews. I do often think what you would think of my shelves, what sort of conclusions you might draw about me…what one book you would pick.

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  13. Please do continue with this. It's perfect for incredibly nosy bibliofreaks such as myself! It's also nice to break up the reviews from time to time.

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  14. Megan: You are exactly right about The White Hotel. How crazy. Although the tedious Sophie's Choice seemed to have lots of erotic moments in a holocaust story.

    Willa: It makes for a nice jumble.

    Laura: I am rather pleased with myself for coining "bibliophonic".

    Melody: I have too many ideas. I am not sure what I would settle on.

    Susan: And who would dust?

    Skiourophile: I love the combo of books and design as well.

    Peter: Me too. I will stop second guessing myself on this one.

    Ted: I am glad you are enjoying it.

    Karen: You might be right about the overflow nature of these shelves, I wonder where they are hiding the rest.

    Hayley: It certainly makes for an interesting hallway.

    Nan: There are many components I don't like either. But I would love to poke around and see what is there.

    Ruthiella: I am never worried about having too many un-read books.

    Relish: I agree, too many reviews can be deadly boring.

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  15. Like you, I picked up on the book resting on the projecting book. I may try this at home.
    These are my favorite types of shelves - white, simple, sturdy but with a nice little detail along the top edge. Why oh why do people content themselves with 'billy' from Ikea when they could have a builder do something like this for the same cost (and these shelves won't warp!).

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  16. Stefan: Back in the "old days" when I was in college we would have given our teeth for an IKEA. We had to settle for what was available at Target or Kmart.

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