Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reversing Books

Elizabeth from One Must Shock the Bourgeois* is a frequent reader here, and I was browsing her blog after a recent comment (I do read them *all*, even if I don't reply) and found this intriguing idea: She flipped most of the books in her bookshelf spine side in.

Before

After

On pure aesthetics, it's a total win: The colors are more muted, more similar in tone. It's less distracting and cluttered. Her accessories are part of the same color scheme. It's lovely.

However there's no way it would fly at my house -- library organization was one of the most fraught negotiations of our early marriage, and not being able to see what books you have would defeat all organizational efforts -- but I thought it was interesting, nonetheless. Would you do this to your books?

*Just for the record, I'm firmly in the bourgeoisie, as defined by Wikipedia: part of the middle or merchant classes, and derived social and economic power from employment, education, and wealth. And not shocked by Elizabeth's blog--it takes more than reversed books to shock me. :)

16 comments:

Anthropomorphica said...

I like the idea, it gives the chance of a surprise read. Intuitive reading ;)

Heather said...

I like the look, but it would drive me crazy!

paisley penguin said...

I love the idea because of the color coordination thing. Might have to try it. Not sure if I could live with it but I am willing to give it a shot!

clbarnhizer said...

i might do it to my to-be-reads - as I read them, turn them around, til they are all read. Just for fun. It would drive my husband nuts, tho'.

Sara said...

clbarnhizer -- that's a great idea! I might even be able to sell that to my husband!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Sara- thanks for reposting! I'm a big fan of The Steampunk Home :)

Alas, though I liked the cleaner look of spine-in shelving, my boyfriend vetoed it almost immediately. He's the type of person who has to see something to remember that it exists (if it were up to him, our belongings would be in stacks around the house). I'm still looking for an alternate way to get some visual unity out of our massive book collection. Perhaps brown paper covers?

I love clbarnhizer's idea- if my boyfriend wasn't an obsessive re-reader that would be ideal for me!

PS: I'm amongst the bourgeois as well- but I try to give myself a shock every once in a while to keep things interesting!

HollyElise said...

Love the way it looks.
But I am waaay to OCD about my books being organized alphabetically to be able to live with it myself!

Kalani said...

Interesting; I was recently reading a very animated discussion over this trend on some other blog (maybe apartmenttherapy?) It also tends to get discussed in the same conversations as organizing the books by color rather than content. My own organization is a combination of aesthetics and use -- my leather-bound books tend to be on the same shelf as each other even if they are very different subject-wise. Or a certain edition of children's book classics might take up a shelf. But I love the look of the book spines all lined up, and I have too many to be able to find them if they were turned backwards. I have seen books that are all covered with paper -- white butcher paper is inexpensive and uniform, paper grocery sacks have a lovely natural brown once cut open, and if you have only a few books or want to highlight some, you could get a few beautiful specialty papers at an art store. Ooh, or you could print out tiny pictures and titles for the spines that are all uniform if you want to be able to browse visually. I love books.

costumegal said...

I have a friend who has covered all of the books in one of his rooms with plain brown paper. It looks very cool, and they are not books that he goes to often.

I could live with that if I added a nice vintage style label with the title on the spine. If I had time...

Lynne said...

I too am OCD enough that this would make me crazy. Also, the longest books' pages seem like they would start to curl. Covering them to get a more uniform color palate is a terrific idea which I may use, though.

Fogwoman Gray said...

Um.....no. Since I actually read my MANY books, this would be darned silly.

Laura E. said...

Brown paper was my first thought too. Then you could write the titles on in calligraphy, or perhaps use block letters to stamp or ransom-note-style put the titles on.

RoseRed said...

The readers that I know only reverse their books when the title is something they wouldn't wish their mothers to see. Naturally, as soon as they leave the room these are the books I inspect first. Alas, I have never been shocked. I'm afraid this style idea might give one's guests the impression that one owns rather a lot of books one wouldn't want their mother to see and I don't think it is something I will be trying soon.

RoseRed said...
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RoseRed said...
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Richard said...

You could always paint or stencil the title onto the front of the pages in an ornate font. When you compress a book, the page edges make a surprisingly flat surface. There's actually an entire art form based around it. Look up "edge painting".

-~D~-

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