Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Joy of Bookcases

Ikea, Ikea. Say have you been to Ikea?
Ikea, the big blue & yellow building?
The Swedes make furniture I adore so
and cheap bookcases even more so.

(my apologies to Groucho Marx)

Like most book nuts, I have books in every room of my home, excluding the linen and front hall closet. While most are in the two bedrooms, there are the regulation cookbooks and books on food in the kitchen, coffee table art books in the living room (not on the coffee table though) and even books of trivial nature in the bathroom for situations that require reading of, ahem, a short or non linear nature. Recently I was rather disgusted with myself as I've amassed several piles of floor stacks of books and made yet another trek to everyone's favorite Swedish press board furniture store and get yet another couple of cheap bookcases. Right now, every book I own (minus the ones in the bathroom) are on a bookcase or shelving unit with some room left over.

By my estimation, I have about 4/10ths of a mile of books. I usually count my books on my birthday, so in June I will know the answer to your next question, "how many do I have?"

I try to keep them in some order but I have them divided mostly between the main and spare bedrooms. The main bedroom housing the newer titles, the spare bedroom holding the older ones that suffered through a house fire in the apartment I lived in April of 2000. The damaged ranged from burnt and totally destroyed to no damage at all. Most books fell into the middle range where the spines were discolored from smoke or the tops of the pages have a slight brownish tinge to them and for a while everything I owned smelled like a smoked ham (the result which is I can't stand the smell of anything smoked since). I did have some rare first editions most of which survived, some not.

I made a little alcove between the two bookcases and placed a chair there and a reading lamp and a ticking clock on one shelf. There's nothing so peaceful as sitting reading while the afternoon light slowly fades away.