Books do Furnish a Room

Friday April 4, 2008 in books |

Browsing in a second hand bookshop, I overhead a customer making an unusual enquiry. She was looking for a set of encyclopedias – the old fashioned sort – because she’d seen such a set in a neighbour’s house and thought they looked very decorative. The assistant was sorry, but because they’d had a lot of people come in with similar enquiries they were out of sets of old fashioned books. She agreed that they could be highly decorative.

Perhaps I am a book snob. I have an oldish set of encyclopedias – probably early 1930s – but it’s boxed away safely somewhere because it’s so hideously out of date. The lady in the second hand bookshop put me in mind of a friend of a friend – and this is probably an urban myth – who walked into a shop and ordered a yard of books. She’d just had a new shelf put up, and a yard of books would fill it handsomely. Although I have seen similar yards in other people’s homes, pristine sets of Booker winners and the like – never opened. Each to their own.

Yeah, I think that’s terrible. It is still fashionable here in the states to buy cheap books with imitation leather covers in matching colors to put on display. And yes, you can buy books by the foot! Some don’t even have writing on the inside, just blank pages.

Utterly hideous!

chartroose    Saturday April 5, 2008   

The purpose of books is to be read. “Looking pretty” is not what they are about. As you’ve said before, an attractive cover might make you consider a book that you wouldn’t otherwise have considered, but I’d never buy a book that “would look nice on my shelf”. I’d want one that I’d enjoy reading!

But many people simply don’t read for pleasure. No, I can’t understand it either, but that’s just the way the world turns…

JackP    Saturday April 5, 2008   

The books with blank pages are often to be found in Ikea showrooms, although that is still not acceptable. And they sometimes do worse – empty boxes fashioned to llok like a row of books.

The Book Tower    Saturday April 5, 2008   

shudder I can’t imagine using books that way. To me, books are meant to be read, and the only issue is finding enough shelves in the house to support them!

heather (errantdreams)    Friday April 11, 2008   

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