In my fervid hunt for a blog topic this morning, I stumbled upon this wonderful video, which was  shot at Type Books in Canada by Sean Ohlenkamp (a marketing director who must be a passionate book lover).  It made me happy.

Ever since I can remember, my need to be surrounded by books has amounted to something like a personality disorder.  When I hear people say they can’t buy any more books because they don’t have room for them or, worse, that too many books somehow clash with their décor, I get a bit twitchy.  For me, books bring a room to life; in fact, all the lives contained in books fill a room as surely as a gaggle of guests at a cocktail party.

So, despite the fact that my e-reader has hundreds of titles in it, I can’t imagine how bereft I’d be if there weren’t thousands of lively physical editions in my house and office, making general nuisances of themselves, lining the walls, peeking around corners, leaning precariously on stools, and threatening to jump out from tables and shelves in their eagerness to be read.

Do you anthropomorphize your book collection or is it just me?  And do books have a life force too?  I think they do.

14 Responses to Whimsicality

  1. Thomas Jefferson once said, “I cannot live without books.” I believe he meant physically as well as spiritually. If you’ve ever visited his home at Monticello, there could be no mistaking his meaning.

  2. Every time I see a copy of JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL I feel a powerful urge to buy it and take it home, like it’s a cat waiting to be adopted. Never mind that I already have two or three, not counting the ones I’ve given away. It needs a good home! I think it’s a similar phenomenon.

  3. PJ says:

    I share the book mania. I’m afraid I’m a hopeless dinosaur when it comes to e-books. Yes, I own a reader and I use it for convenience sake, but I must always be surrounded by physical books. I much prefer reading pages rather than electrons—and I do believe there is a vibe to paper that digital can’t reproduce. Books are my friends. Their existence comforts me and I love having them encroach on every available space. I fully expect to one day be one of those little old people who is found mummified and buried in a pile of books.

    • Luna says:

      Exactly! I don’t understand why everyone is so worried about the e-readers and how they will change the world, because I’m pretty sure that real book lovers will never give up their pages to an electronic gadget.

  4. Catherine Whitney says:

    Shortly after Hillary Clinton became First Lady she visited Jackie Kennedy in her NYC apartment. More than anything Hillary was impressed by the books–stacks and stacks of them, covering every surface and piled on the floor–yet somehow looking so artfully arranged that Hillary later tried to duplicate the effect–unsuccessfully.

    • Miriam says:

      Great anecdote! Doesn’t surprise me that Hillary, bless her heart, didn’t achieve the same effect as Jackie.

      • Emily says:

        Oh — for the artistic effect! My books are just a mess on the dresser, the living room floor, open shelving in the kitchen where I removed the wine rack which normal people fill up with wine bottles, and I discovered one of my new books under the coverlet on the sofa with one corner all chewed up because my 12-week old kitten likes to chew on books.

  5. MS says:

    Whenever I go to estate sales with my husband, he heads for the garage while I search for the books! Every home has at least some…surprising what they can tell you about their previous owners!

  6. Julie Nilson says:

    When you run out of space for books, you don’t STOP buying new ones–you give some old ones away! Donate them, give/lend them to friends, spread the love!

  7. While I’ve weeded my print collection a little bit since getting an e-reader, I still feel that the full shelves I’ve kept add a lot to my room, and it would feel very different–and emptier–without them. In fact, I think a major reason I could bear to part with so much of my print collection is that I work in a library, and am surrounded by more books than I could ever own on a daily basis.

  8. Andrea says:

    I love looking at them (which is why I don´t want an e-reader) and they somehow inspire me when I´m writing. Which is why I have a hardback version of the complete works of Shakespeare staring at me from the shelf above my writing desk. You never know… might help! 😉
    One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: “In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
    I want to live in a library…

  9. ryan field says:

    I have four different digital reading devices, but my print books are still important to me. I keep “On the Road ” on my night stand at all times,and Anne Tyler is always close by.

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