Yes, I already recounted the Ikea Bookshelf Saga, but may we please talk about bookshelves one more time, as a prequel of sorts? (Then, I promise, we never have to speak of them again.)
It’s just that…they are so versatile and present. They can change a room, make artistic statements. There’s a reason they are so often featured in home decorating shows. You don’t have to look very hard on the web to find pictures of bookshelves in all sorts of dramatic configurations that will take your breath away. Absolutely amazing. And I love every bookshelf I’ve ever had, though not a single one of them was fancy.
When I was growing up, my room featured a tall combination piece with three long shelves for books above and a cabinet below for everything else—namely, Holly Hobbie dolls, horse statues, and a box of shells I had collected on trips. It was sturdy and spacious—there was even a spot for a record player where I spun scratchy 45s.
In college, my shelves were made of white plastic milk crates. They stacked nicely and took abuse well, which was good because those dorm rooms were small and, you know, college.
By graduate school, my books lived on a rickety shelving system fashioned out of bricks and two-by-fours that was expanded several times over the years—all I can say about that structure is thank goodness it never fell on top of anyone.
When we moved into a new house, my husband and I bought some grownup (at least that’s what we thought at the time) faux-wood shelves and lined the front room wall. After we had kids, though, guess who needed the space to store the unfathomable wave of baby gear and toys slowly engulfing our entire house?
We had no choice but to lug all of the books to campus. I’m an English professor, so luckily, the office was already decked out with three large metal shelves. I quickly begged a fourth and, well, that was as many as they would let me fit inside because of fire codes or something. The shelves took up so much space that I had to remove a desk, but hey, sacrifices had to be made.
Then IKEA came to town. Somehow, little by little, we acquired more bookshelves. I blame, at least partially, the super-cute cube designs. We now have four-cube, six-cube, and eight-cube formations in various rooms. Heaven help me, I keep catching myself thinking that we need more. They are definitely not elegant, but the amount they hold is mind-boggling.
And surely the most beautiful thing about any bookshelf is its function: to hold our real treasures, the books.
What kind of bookshelves do you have/love/want? And how do you organize your books: color, shape, topic, author, genre, historical period, or…? So. Many. Choices.