Tag: bookshelf

Five Ways to Level Up Your Bookshelf

There are a lot of amazing ideas out there for how to organize your bookshelves, from the controversy and the minimalism of facing your books spine in, to the confusing technicolor glory of arranging by color, I think I’m the only one still alphabetizing. However you organize your books, though, there area  few things you can add to make your shelves even prettier.

 

1. Decorative Book Ends

 

Add a splash of color to your shelves with this purple agate and gold covering. Heavy enough to hold up your hardbacks, and pretty enough to make you want to replace your simple steel ones.

 

On the other hand, if your books are colorful enough already, or you’re going for a monochrome look, try these lion book ends. Griffindor pride?

 

 

A few of these bookends can lend life and cohesion, and have a wonderful antique feel, like a library in a victorian manor.

 

 

2. Decorative Lights

 

Fairy lights are classic, and no one’s hating, but here are a few other options for bookshelf lamps, like this moon lamp. All moon lamps are good moon lamps, but this one actually hovers.

 

 

Alternatively, if space isn’t your thing, try this open book lamp for all your book viewing needs.

 

 

And it changes colors! Perfect for on top of your bookshelves or next to your books, or really anywhere you need some light in your life.

 

 

3. Antique Clocks

 

Ever lose track of time while reading? It’s caused a lot of problems for me. Avoid this foible by adding this antique clock to your bookshelf.

 

 

Sure, you could use a normal clock, but this clock makes your shelf seem like a library and not just a pile. It looks so official.

 

 

4. Bookmark Organizers

 

Bookmarks always going everywhere? Solve all of life’s problems (or like, most of them) with this book shaped caddie.

 

 

I know there’s shelf controversy, but how do we sort our bookmarks? Discuss.

 

 

5. Globes

 

A globe is great if you need to fill some space on top of shelves, or if your bookshelves are absolutely massive. Plus, and you might be sensing a theme, this one looks antique and fun.

 

Deco 79 Traditional Wood, Metal, and Plastic Decorative Globe, 14''H,9''W, Multicolored Finish

 

This globe will make you look WISE. Worldly. Plus if you forget which countries are adjacent to which, there’s your answer.

 

 

Images via Amazon 

 

 

Featured image via Quizzeria

Check Out the Designer Behind Gwyneth Paltrow’s Home Library

To complete the bookshelves in her newly renovated L.A. home, Gwyneth Paltrow hired Thatcher Wine to curate and beautify her library.

 

Image Via Time Magazine

 

Wine is well-known in the design world for having founded Juniper Books. Since 2001, Juniper Books has focused on sourcing rare and out-of-print books to complete book lovers’ libraries. A few years after founding Juniper Books, Wine started creating stylized book sets that look as good on the shelf as they feel in your hands.

 

 

In an interview with Town & Country magazine, Wine spoke about how his idea to create custom book jackets has been setting a new wave in interior design:

My invention for the book jacket means that someone can have the complete works of Jane Austen, but in a certain Pantone chip color that matches the rest of the room or with a custom image. People have invested in how their home looks: They chose the cabinets, the carpets, the paint, and the window coverings. Why settle for books that a publisher designed? Books can have as much style as anything else in the room.

Image Via Juniper Books

 

When asked about what exactly he chose to complete Paltrow’s bookshelf, Wine said:

I looked at books she already owned, which focused on fashion, art, culture, photography, and architecture, as well as books that her kids liked. We expanded on those topics, and for the kids, we included a selection of classics that we thought they might like as they got older.

 

Image via Juniper Books

 

Would you ever consider doing something like this for your library? We can’t all be Gwyneth Paltrow, but everyone can find new ways to express themselves through their bookshelves. Check out some more of Thatcher Wine’s beautiful bookish designs from Juniper Books!

 

 

Featured Image via Juniper Books

Can You Resist Bookstores? No? Then These Memes Are For You!

We’re all book nerds here, so I’m sure I’m in good company. The only thing I love more than a good meme is a good bookstore. Why not combine the two? If you, like me, can’t control yourself in a bookstore, these memes are for you.

 

 

The best invite

 

Image via Meme

 

Yes. Yes I do. Also I have zero chill. Any self control I may usually use is just gone. Maybe I’m the only one, but if I even pass a bookstore in the street I have to be gently steered away, or sometimes physically dragged. The pure glee on her face really says it all. And those are good friends right there.

 

 

I know all I need to

Image via An Intentional Life

 

All books are queens, and you know it. Sure, I can spend eight plus hours just looking around, but do I need to? I already want them all. The only limit is how many books I can physically take home on the subway, and even that barrier doesn’t get a lot of respect. Sure, I’m sorry by the time I get home, but when I’m deciding, no one can stop me.

 

 

Ancient wisdom

 

Image via MemeCenter

 

Sure, it’s three pm on a Tuesday, and I’m drinking bubble tea, but I think I still look mysterious and wise. The books are used. That means they’re old and dramatic, regardless of the particular facts. I may not have the mysterious potion or the rocking beard, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

 

 

I’ve put a lot of thought in, and decided

 

Image via Pintrest

 

Now you may ask, when are you going to read them? Where are they going to go in your apartment? These minor logistics aren’t my concern right now. I’ve read the backs, and I’ve decided the best book in the store is all of them. At once. Right now. No, I don’t take criticism.

 

 

Nothing can stop me accept…

 

Image via Meme

 

As long as I have blood plasma to sell, I have book money, but unfortunately most shops won’t take it directly. It’s dangerous to even go in, why did no one warn me? You did, and I ugly cried in the street until you caved? Agree to disagree. But I will be back.

 

 

Ready to investigate?

 

Image via Me.me

These bookstores think they’re so clever. And they are. I mean, are those even mystery books? We don’t know. We’ll likely never know. Unless someone wants to go full Sherlock Holmes and get into the truth of this. Volunteers, please send an owl posthaste.

 

 

Featured image via Pikdo

Building Turned Into Jaw-Dropping Bookcase Illusion

Stand by for a warm and fuzzy feeling.

It has often been said, by those who enjoy a good book, that we live inside of our soft and hardcover friends. Such a notion has never held more validity than it does for the lucky residents of an anonymous building in Utrecht, Netherlands. The aesthetically pleasing surprise comes courtesy of illustrious street artist Jan Is De Man and tattoo artist Deef Freed‘s handy-work.

 

Trompe L'oeil Art by Jan Is De Man
Image Via Mymodernmet.com

 

The owners of this building, who love a good read, asked their delineating friend, Jan Is De Man to deface—or rather reface their previously boring structure. De Man took it upon himself to ask local residents to suggest book titles he could include in his creation; his goal was to create something that reflected a culturally-diverse community in unison (without offending of course: no trigger-happy literature). The result is a mural displaying a wide variety of books which includes literature spanning eight different languages. Unfortunately, I will not provide a list of those books in this article—feel free to pinch and zoom at your leisure.

 

Literature Themed Mural in Utrecht
Image Via Mymodernmet.com

 

“We’ve noticed that this project brought people together without pushing it,” said De Man, “they met each other through books. Regardless of the differences in cultures, regardless of the differences in political point of views. Regardless of being extreme right or extreme left. Books are magical. They tickle your brain. And everyone can read the same book, but feel something different.”

De Man’s friend, who also lives in the building, had wanted the artist to paint a mural on his home for some time; however, De Man’s original plan was not of the literary variety. Being a huge fan of Forest Gump (I can only assume), De Man wanted to paint a huge smiley face on the building. Typically, when people see a smile, their moods are naturally lifted. After studying the shape of the building, it dawned on De Man that smiles are provoked by all sorts of things—therein lies the idea of a bookcase. A structure that’s functionality most closely resembles that of a community, a family, a hug, a home.

 

Featured Image Via Mymodernmet.com

Image of two generals dividing the Earth with bookshelf overlaid.

What Does it Mean to “Decolonize Your Bookshelf”?

Many among us are obsessed with the state of our bookshelves. We meticulously organize, arrange, and decorate our personal libraries according to varying criteria: author, title, color, height, etc. But how often have you paused to consider how those books made it to your bookshelf? Have you ever read between the lines of one of your favorite works and found something troubling? And how often have you stopped to wonder about the classic works accepted into the Western literary canon and why they’re there?

 

Those of us who have ever studied postcolonial theory have, at the very least, a cursory familiarity with how pervasive the effects of colonial history have been and still are on society. Everything from politics to beauty products has been touched by colonialism, and there is still contention over whether or not colonization is even a thing of the past.

 

 

Map of the British Empire circa 1897

Image Via The British Empire

 

Colonialism has had one of its most insidious effects on literature. For instance, today when we hear of colonial regimes and policies, we recoil instantly (or at least one would hope that’s the general response), yet we still hold up works like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness as being examples of exemplary literary skill and talent in spite of its perpetuation of horrific colonial narratives. And aside from lauding literature that directly engages with colonial oppression, there is an even more insidious effect of colonialism that erases the narratives written by those who are/have been colonized.

 

 

Shelf of selected works in the Western canon.

Image Via MC Easton

 

When I was in college, I elected to take a course on Caribbean literature; it was taught by one of my favorite professors, and I trusted that in addition to a new world of literature, I would also be getting an important history lesson. In one of the first weeks of the class, my professor told us an anecdote about what happened when she told her mother about the class. Her mother, who was living in another country at the time, decided to visit her local library to pick up a few volumes of Caribbean literature in order to get a sense of what her daughter would be teaching. When she asked the librarian where their Caribbean literature section could be found, the librarian responded: “Oh, I don’t think they have literature there.”

 

 

Facepalm

Image Via Tenor

 

I hope I’m not the first to tell you this: yes, the Caribbean has literature. In fact, there is some amazing Caribbean literature you can look up with a quick Google search, literature you probably haven’t heard of before, unless you’ve had the opportunity to devote serious time to literary study. This is not because these texts require some level of exclusive literary expertise to access, but simply because the famous works everyone has heard of were written by people who had the power to circulate them all over the world, specifically people who are white European men.

 

The phrase “decolonize your bookshelf” has been on the rise in recent years, and its meaning is fairly simple. Decolonizing your bookshelf means examining the books you keep and the books you love and considering whether/how each book has served to uphold the acts of colonialism. In addition to sifting through the works you’ve already read, decolonizing your bookshelf means actively seeking out and reading works by authors whose work has been disadvantaged by colonialism. There is an incredible wealth of literature out there that has not made it into the Western canon simply because of the circumstances in which the author lived/lives.

 

Now to be clear, you aren’t a bad person if a significant percentage of the books in your collection were written by white European men. The reason why that percentage may be high has more to do with the systems in place that delivered you to that literature rather than any fault of your own. And by the way, no one is going to begrudge you your favorite books. The point of decolonizing your bookshelf is not to punish you, but rather to recognize the circumstances that suppress the literary output of colonized or formerly colonized people, and to swim against the tide in an effort to resist some of history’s evils. The destruction of colonialism can never be undone, but we can (and should!) certainly find ways to honor what has been destroyed.

 

Banner draped on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum reading "WHEN WE BREATHE WE BREATHE TOGETHER DECOLONIZE THIS PLACE"

Image Via Hyperallergic

 

 

Featured Image Via South Africa Today and Everything Fiction Wiki.