29 Dec 2010

For the Love of Books...

I've been an avid reader for most of my life, and even though I love my Kindle, I'm still crazy about books. There's nothing like the smell of ink, the weight of a real book on my lap and the touch of paper to my fingertips. An instant cure for stress.

And then I discovered the photoblog Bookshelf Porn. Okay, I don't like the name, but the site's got a lot of great pictures. Of books, obviously, and shelves. And rooms and houses I wouldn't mind living in.

I don't know why I'm so crazy about bookshelves, other people's as well as my own. I suspect part of the the feeling is childlike wonder, remembering how I felt (and still feel) in libraries, looking at all the treasures that would take years to explore.

Bookshelves are filled with the thoughts of generations. In every book that is written, a writer synthesizes ideas and beliefs, mental and emotional experiments not only of herself but everyone she has learnt from: the people she's encountered, her teachers, family, friends and her wider sociocultural environment. Every story offers the invaluable opportunity to look at the world through somebody else's eyes. Bookshelves really are treasure chests, in every way that matters.

So, if you want to go on a daydream or a quest for inspiration on how to store your own collected wisdom, have a look at the Bookshelf Porn archive.

Which are your favourites?

I think for now, I'd go for this one:

The photograph made me think of Solange, a great librarian I knew a long time ago. She gave me a lovely picture frame with the quote: 'Overal heb ik rust gezocht, maar nergens gevonden, dan in een hoekje met een boekje.' - Thomas van Kempen.
(It roughly translates as: 'I've looked everywhere to find peace and quiet, but couldn't find it, except in a corner with a book.')

The frame has become one of those items I will never ever part with and I have it on my writing desk for those days when I need the reminder.
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  1. Thanks for the link! When I look back over my career as a Librarian, I think my favourite library was that of the Royal Army Medical College on Millbank. It had a gallery, with a wheeled ladder, and all the books in beautiful glass-fronted cabinets. A nightmare to manage, of course, but serene to spend time in!

  2. That sounds wonderful! You had me at 'gallery' :-)

  3. From a young age, I've loved books and reading.
    So, since I feel at loss to put down what books have meant for me, I'll leave two of my favorite quotes.

    "When I discovered libraries, it was like having Christmas every day. Jean Fritz

    "“A home without books is a body without soul.”

  4. Thank you, those are lovely.

    I'll add a cheeky one:
    "We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them." - John Waters


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