There are little bits of styrofoam strewn throughout the apartment, packaging that came with the new shelves in my office. So much for the minimalist aesthetic; though I liked the oasis of cream wall above the chair rail, I had four stacks of books that had been living on the floor for far too long. The artwork is still off being framed, but here's the latest incarnation:
Yes, those are my poetry books. Yes, they are color-sorted. (There's a section for brown and flesh-toned books at the entrance to the room, and collected essays on craft and translation hidden by the couch.) The last time I wrote about this I used a stock shot, so I thought I'd show the reality. Should you attempt this, accept that there's not going to be any kind of perfect approximation of the color spectrum; you have to be playful in the way you interpret a binding's "shade."
But sometimes really lovely juxtapositions result. Kyle Dargan, meet Kim Addonizio. Mark Doty, meet Sharon Olds.
This is why I like sorting poetry books by color; instead of their familiar alphabetical neighborhoods, authors land in the exotic countries of ROYGBIV. I can only remember twice when this system slowed down finding a book. Plus, the rested eye is better able to enjoy non-book items on the shelf.
Some colors are easier to work with than others. Whites are easy; blues, not so much. There are such jarring differences in what's considered blue that I have to stage them as three palettes.
I also took the risk (we'll see if it lasts) of stacking a small cluster of books on the horizontal.
I'm not sure about this. I worry it discourages picking these books up for browsing. (I cringe when I see professionally designed rooms that reduce big art books to obelisks...admitting, essentially, that no one is EVER going to read the ones on the bottom.) On the other hand, how can I resist Rita Dove and Claribel Alegria? These are books that won't take such neglect lying down. So to speak.
Now if you want to see real heresy, check this out:
Yep. Bindings in. That's what happens to the books I won't re-read anytime soon, but can't let go of for sentimental or monetary reasons.
And with that, we return to our regularly scheduled (and un-photographed) programming.