Books and Bookshelves in the Digital Age

Why I am not the least bit ashamed - and actually rather proud - of the piled up second-hand bookshelves that surround me.

“Books are NOT decorations, they are FAMILY!”
By Jackie Blem

I get a weekly round-up of stories from The Seattle Times. Two articles that popped up recently caught my attention and spurred me to defend my beloveds: books, real-live physical books.

Both articles dealt, in different ways, with interior design and new ways to use bookshelves in this digital age. Both made me want to stand up and scream, “Books are NOT decorations, they are FAMILY!”

I settled for posting the comment on Facebook – the digital age way of hollering off the bell tower, don’t you know (and far less likely to garner calls to the police about the crazy woman yelling on her porch at 7:00 in the morning).

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Both articles recommend getting rid of your paperbacks, or at least shuffling them off to the darkest, least seen part of your house. Another suggestion was to shelve by size and weight. Or sort by color.

If your books don’t match your decor, wrap them in a paper cover that does. Space them out with other objects and curios to make a pleasing, uncluttered display. “People are still accessorizing with books,” says designer Marie Meko. “Books provide memories.”

Yes they do. And entertainment, intellectual stimulation, breadth of thought, delight, horror, love, hate, sadness, inspiration, frustration, comfort, windows into the world (or into other worlds). . . .And yes, they can provide us beauty as well.

But by and large, that is not why they were created, and to see them reduced to decorations on a societal level would break my book-nerd heart.

And why I am not the least bit ashamed – and actually rather proud – of the piled up second-hand bookshelves that surround me. I truly wouldn’t want it any other way.

Jackie Blem is blog coordinator, coffee maven, and bookseller at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, CO and a regular contributor to Read It Forward.

About Jackie Blem

JACKIE BLEM is blog coordinator, coffee maven, and bookseller at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, CO and a regular contributor to Read It Forward. You can talk books with her on Facebook.