I’ve always had a lot of books, ever since I can remember. So did my parents, so I grew up surrounded by books. Where there are books, there need to be bookshelves, or some way to hold them up in a fashion that leaves them easy to access. Piles on the floor, chairs, bed… while I have done that, it’s really not the best way, and it’s rough on the books.
Despite my post yesterday on my growing transition away from paper books and into a digital library, I know that I will always have a significant paper library. My husband facilitates this – and in fact, my bride-gift to him was what remained of my library. Faced with moving, and aware that he loves to read as much as I do, I sold half my library to pay for the shipping of the other half to him. It was his, whether I would live with him or not…
Fortunately, he kept me. And the books.
But I digress, this isn’t about our strange romance. It’s about bookshelves. Any avid reader will tell you that shelves are a necessary evil. I saw a meme photo on facebook the other day, which I can’t find now, saying something like “He’s the right one if he will build you bookshelves.” My mother taught me how to build bookshelves, and I can build my own. My response to the meme was “He’s the right one if he lets you get all the books you want.”
The bookshelves Mom and I built when we moved to NH were made out of beautifully weathered, silvery old barn boards. They weren’t smooth, and the finished shelves weren’t elegant, but they held a lot of books and I missed them when the last set was mislaid during a move after my marriage. I’ve done bookshelves from the semi-traditional student’s brick and board, only I tended to use the square, hollow cinderblocks. They are more stable than bricks, and provide a nook for knick-knacks.
When I moved to Ohio and in with my First Reader, the books I had shipped were largely still boxed up. He had moved into the house not long before I, and there were no bookshelves yet. After some discussion, I got a shelf at Walmart, assembled it, and promptly decided it would never hold books. It’s in the office now with packing and art supplies stashed on it – light stuff, in other words. The next step was a trip to Ikea, where we bought enough shelves to actually use as a wall, dividing one room into two with a row of shelves back-to-back. The Ikea shelves – we have the $25 ones, Billy, I think – are great. Sturdy and stable, and I plan to take them with me when we move.
But what about the dust? Since I’ve started to have issues with the dust on the books, we’ve decided the next house – the forever house – will either have Ikea shelves with the glass doors you can buy to mount on them, or built-ins – with glass doors. This ought to minimize the dust accumulation, cut down on my chores, and (bonus!) look pretty. We couldn’t do it if we had the volume of books we once did, but once we purge our library – which we’re working on already – it will work. Neither of us can imagine living in a house with no books in sight. Books are the best home decor.
Which reminds me. I have a set of books I bought on a whim, neither of us plan to re-read, but we may keep anyway. Is it wrong to own books simply because they look nice? I picked up the entire set of Zane Grey novels, in hardback, for a song… Red white and blue backs, but neither of us enjoy Grey’s writing style now that we are grown up. But I grew up with them, and have fond memories of these very hardbacks in my Great-grandparents house. So they are sentimental to me.