Confession time here.
The New York Times online edition is a daily fix for me.
Not, mind you, that I live in New York or plan to live in New York or even know anyone who actually lives in New York who might be featured in its pages but I love the breadth of articles, the substantive debate and research and even, because I’m a nosy, snarky Parker, the wedding and celebration announcements every weekend. It’s just part of my day.
But I will admit to a moment of serious ‘huh’? when I read a feature in the design section of the paper, detailing the banner year book suppliers for designers have enjoyed. These aren’t the brick and mortar bookshops, whose demise is weekly foretold. No, these odd creatures sell used and remaindered books by the cartload to interior designers and other industrial clients like hotels and cruise ships.
The uses these books are put to just boggle (my mind at least!) Thousands and thousands of books, wrapped in blank white paper, displayed on gorgeous, custom floor to ceiling shelves. Not to read, mind, just to add textural interest. Seriously? You spend $$$ on fabulous display space and the best you can do is fill them with leftover books you’ve never read and likely have no intention of ever reading?
They should come to my house. If they could survive the shock that is of books, let loose, untamed by the restraining hand of a designer. Books, on pretty much every topic under the sun, not colour coordinated, not grouped by theme, not featuring a single vellum-wrapped English classic in shades of white or cream, are *everywhere* in my house. They are stacked in the living room, on bedside tables, in drawers and pretty much every horizontal surface. I read, my kids read, my hubby reads.
There are research books and classic literature, World War One histories and technical schema, craft books, kids books, paperbacks and hardcover, romances and historical fiction. I have one lone leather bound book with gilt edges – it was a birthday gift, and frankly “Pride and Prejudice” just reads better that way! – the rest are as God (or the publisher) made ’em, some pretty, some not so pretty, but all bearing signs of being loved and well-read. There isn’t a book in this house that hasn’t been read by one of us, often multiple times. That’s just the way it is.
I love books, in other words.
But I love ’em for what’s in ’em, not just what they look like on the outside. Ebooks, audiobooks, print books, they’re all equal in my eyes. I don’t collect them to impress people, although they’re always welcome to browse my shelfs and ask questions about a book. Forget snooping in the medicine cabinet! I always browse the *bookshelves* whenever I’m invited into someone else’s home! Far more revealing!
So consider this my call to arms! Go show a book in your life you love it for more than its textural interest and eye-catching cover. Give it a read, a breeze through, a deep introspective consideration – whatever catches your fancy. Then, and only then, wrap it in pretty silver paper and stack it by size! 🙂 I won’t have time for that – I’ll be too busy reading