Friday, November 25, 2005

Shelf doubt

Susie Boyt in The Guardian agonises over how to organise her books...
No one in her right mind would display her wardrobe on open racks and shelves in the living room for all to see: the bad mistakes, the telling array of sizes, that dented tin of Doom to Moth, the smell of sweat deodorised. It would be more exposure than anyone could bear.

I've always felt a little like this about books too. Until now I have kept mine stowed away, around the walls in my office, in the bedroom, piled up on the landing out of sight, even under the beds. I've never felt books added much to any room visually, as long as you can always find one when you need one.

But recently I have had cause to revise my opinions: one of my daughter's friends asked her mother why we don't have any books in our home, and I'm not sleeping well because the stack of books next to my bed is so high that it is penetrating my dreams, where towers and precarious cliffs loom large. The upshot is that I now have 14 bookshelves near the front door where anyone who visits the house will see them, and I feel almost paralysed with indecision.
There's now a debate raging about the subject on The Guardian's Culture Vulture blog.

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