January 20, 2011

New home library design: making less with more!

     Books are more than just reading material these days!
     Wait, scratch that: there seems to be a trend of people using books as a lot less than reading material.
                According to this article originally printed in The New York Times, the big new trend in interior design is big, custom-built libraries.  Boy, I sure would love to have one of those!  I’m thinking built-in shelves in at least two rooms of my home—and maybe overhead in a hallway or two—to corral the thousands of books that spill out all over, and maybe even encourage me to somehow keep them all organized.  Sure, I’ve got plenty of perfectly-serviceable bookcases, but isn’t the built-in look so much more neat-looking, much cooler—much more, I don’t know, built-in?  That’s not even taking into account the fact that I live in earthquake country, where heavy bookcases can become very dangerous, super-sized dominoes.  And did I mention that built-ins look cool?
                So people are spending thousands for these custom-designed libraries.  The thing is, the designers are also supplying the books!  And you can get any genre of book you want, like light blue & gray, earth tones, paper-wrapped, or even sheathed in linen!  If you’re looking for even more mental stimulation, perhaps you’d like to go for the “books displayed backwards” option, so that you could enjoy the texture of the pages.  Mm, paper-y!  Or if you are into a more classic look, you can still go for a library of same-sized volumes, all bound identically in rich Corinthian leather—on all six sides, if you wish.
                Apparently, those of us who actually like to read our books should be grateful for this decorating trend, as it is a boon to the more-endangered-than-ever publishing industry—if only as a way for them to slough off their remainders of Danielle Steele potboilers and Michael Jackson biographies, giving them a new lease on life following a vigorous draping in taffeta.  Yes, it would appear as if these biblioartistes and their clientele are actually subsidizing the reading habits of the rest of us!
To be fair, if I must, some of these showcase books may eventually get read.  May.  The more affordable of the libraries come without the choice of any particular language of text, but at least one client insisted on English, because “he wanted the option of being able to read his books.” Options, after all, are where it’s at here in the ‘10s.  Of course, other folks are more into appearances than options, such as the people who “insist that (the books) be in English, because they want them to look as if they could read the books.”  Yeah, “as if they could read the books.” As if. 
Now, the buzz you’ll hear a lot in childhood education circles is about having a “literature-rich environment.” This has to do with incorporating books and reading throughout the home and school environments: books in the playhouse, reading recipes aloud as you cook together—and of course, letting your children “catch you” reading for pleasure.  We can translate all of this into the terms of the new decorating craze, can we not?  Next time you redecorate your kids’ room, don’t forget books!  Get some children’s classics—or whatever, really, it doesn’t matter (as long as they are of a uniform size)—find some cute wrapping paper (bonus points if you laminate it first)—and truss them up!  You’ll probably have to tell the children that these are not gifts, and are therefore never to be opened, but they’re sure to catch on eventually and enjoy the style as much as trendy adults around the country already do.  C’mon, get into the spirit; it’s enough that you actually have all of these books in your house—no need to waste time actually reading any of them!
That’s why the e-reader was invented, right?

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