Bookcases are more than just functional furniture for me. They’re part of my aesthetic of what a living space should look like: they’re about covering large expanses of wall space with infinite combinations of color, about parallel and perpendicular lines, about verticality and symmetry and strength. My organizational principle for books is intentional disorder. I go out of my way not to organize my books, aiming for something like the room described in this passage from Franny and Zooey: “Dracula now stood next to Elementary Pali; The Boy Allies of the Somme stood next to Bolts of Melody; The Scarab Murder Case and The Idiot were together; Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase lay on top of Fear and Trembling.” If I ever get married, I’ll just type up this sentence and send it out with the invitations in place of a registry.
Where better to put this principle of decoration into practice than in one’s childhood home? Our shelves are already an eclectic mishmash, although my dad’s collection of Tom Clancy and John Grisham and Robert Ludlum novels is generally segregated from the rest of the books in the house, which are mostly mine, with a handful of my mom’s mixed in. Of course, most of my New England book collection hasn’t arrived yet. We may need to build an annex in the yard.
Here are some samples:
Look at those cracked and tortured spines. Now THAT’S love!