Are paperbacks OK?

Hmm, good question? No, I think it’s a stupid question. I keep going on about this, but only because I get so surprised by what people say and think.

The other day I opened my excellent new house magazine and was pleased to see that bookcases are now in. No need to be minimalistic. Oh. So where were the books that I’m now supposed to put in my newly sanctioned bookcases, while I was minimising my style? Waiting in the attic to be in vogue again?

The magazine asked a few specialists about what’s OK to put in your bookcases. Some way down on the list of questions was “Are paperbacks OK?” Luckily the experts were open minded enough to believe they are. But I’m really shocked that someone could come up with the question in the first place. This is the same magazine that featured the wallpaper I showed back in December, which was a stack of battered paperbacks.

They also favoured the idea of colour coordinating your bookcases; i.e. all yellow books together, and so on. A bit like Laurie suggested in her comment to the book wallpaper. It does look good. And hopefully I’ll remember whether Ulysses had a yellow spine, when I try and find it. But there’s the fading. Most of my books have changed colour since I bought them. And when my visitors try and ascertain if I have a copy of Ulysses, how will they know what colour my particular edition is?

We fed our local bookshop dinner the other night. Before leaving they needed to see our “library”. They now know first hand that we have a problem. And it’s not the colour coordinating.

9 responses to “Are paperbacks OK?

  1. Have you ever been into a house for the first time, and took a while to realise what was comfortably familiar and friendly about it? I have – and it was ages before I realised it was because the owners had the same books in the same order on their shelves!

    Me, I liked it when you had rows and rows of old-style Penguins, most with orange spines but punctuated by the odd grey Modern Classic or green Penguin Crime.

  2. It doesn’t have to be the same books as I have. Having books at all, that look as if they’ve been read, is enough.

  3. I made a sunset shelf : book spines on the orangey-red spectrum, trailing off into deep pinky purple, a nice contrast with a shelf of bluesy hues underneath. Which leads onto ranks of green Viragos and some exotic aquamarines.

    And then I got fed up. And the rest is all over the place.

    But it was fun and I love my colour co-ordinated shelves, however sad that is. And I can always locate a book there…

  4. Ooohh. Can I come and look?

  5. My boyfriend shelves books based on which books he thinks would get on with each other – which books have the same FEEL. So ‘Rebbecca’, ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ all go together, Philip Pullman is next to Susannah Clarke etc etc.

    The problem with this is that he can’t shelve a book until he’s read it and knows where it’s supposed to live …

  6. That’s what the floor’s for; stacking books.

  7. Oh no, he has a whole ‘to read’ bookshelf.

    My overspill books used to live on the windowsill, but they started going mouldy, so now they’re piling up in the hope of invading the other books and scuttling away to form rebel book colonies under my bed.

  8. Must comment on Rosalind’s note.

    Have you ever felt very very uneasy in a new acquaintence’s house, say the parent of a kid in your child’s class. Nothing is obviously amiss–no guns in plain sight–but you make excuses to stick your head in as many rooms as you can get away with because you just know something is very wrong indeed.

    And then it hits you: there are no books.

    Not a single one in sight.

    And then it hits you:

  9. Both my GP and Son’s reception year teacher are in awe of our book filled rooms. It worries me.

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