Bookshelf Porn: The Feng Shui of Creativity

nerdy side 2Despite being the sad owner of a cheap bookshelf from Wal-Mart whose shelves currently sag under the weight of my personal library, I have a huge heart for bookshelves. In fact, I am a proud member of the Bookshelf Fandom on Tumblr. Have you seen Bookshelf Porn? Eyes have never gazed at such beauty! In my gleeful obsession, I hereby dedicate this Nerdy Sunday to bookshelves everywhere!

Something strange and disturbing has occurred over the past few years. There’s this ebook thing going on. Electronic facades of books, they populate things like ereaders and tablets. Through various employers, I currently have a iPad (ew) and a Samsung Note (why?). It’s a little entertaining to me that people think these things can come close to replacing computers, let along books. The closest a tablet has come to replacing a computer is the latest Surface tablet, but even that fails to replace books. Nothing can replace the smell, feel and experience of bound paper and printed words.

People laugh. They say I’ll come to. A time will come where TK’s home will be without the splendor of a bookcase. The only whisper of its existence will be in an abandoned tablet… abandoned because reading books on those things is annoying!

I’m sorry if this disappoints the world, but this is what I have wanted since 1992, and that will never change.

For years now, I have dream my prince charming will waltz into my life, gift me a vast personal library and then leave me be while I do nothing else but read everything there. Of course, such activity would severely cut into my writing, gaming, blogging and anime watching. The reality of the situation is that I must be my own prince charming. I’m sure there are people out there who have far more books than I do. Budgets and time have limited how many books I buy and read. Despite this, I hold my dream of a personal library close to my heart.

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This photo, “Bookshelf Porn” is copyright (c) 2014 Jules Morgan and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

As my boyfriend continues his secret mission, I dream about the place where we might live. I’ve already informed him that I need one room all to myself, which I will call “TK’s Creative Suite.” This will serve as my personal library, a writing center and a shrine to all that inspires me. The bookshelf that blesses the walls of this place is key component.

The greatest shelf I have seen to day is this Read Your Book Case shelf. Literally nothing would make me happier than to have that in my home. In the absence of such a masterpiece, I think my short term plan is to have one wall covered in nothing but full bookshelves. In a perfect world, all such shelves would have glass doors, but those shelves cost way more money than I have.

My love of bookshelves stems from the atmosphere they provide. One of my favorite writing spots is my local library. Surrounded by shelves of stories, worlds past, worlds yet to come and worlds or pure fantasy, I soak in the creativity. Add the smell of coffee and my pen will be moving at light speed.

What I wouldn’t give to have such an atmosphere in my own home. The plan is in the works! I can’t wait to move into a larger place so I can put it into motion. I’m one secret mission away from making “TK’s Creative Suite” a reality.

What does your dream bookshelf look like? Do you think ereaders and tablets stand a chance against books? What is your favorite thing about books and bookshelves? Any suggestions on the best bookcases money can buy?

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58 thoughts on “Bookshelf Porn: The Feng Shui of Creativity”

    1. I hear people read slower when they read on ebooks, anyway. I just can’t have that. As it is, I don’t have time to read all the books I want to. I can’t afford to read slower.

  1. All my life I have collected books and love the smell. I had a bookshelf specially built for one house and it was beautifully built. It followed me around, getting filled with more and more books — paperbacks, hardbacks and even a couple of prized leather-bound books. Sadly I have had to downsize in my retirement, making room for my wheelchair. Only the prized books remain – like my 1972 copy of Lord of the Rings, and my father’s 1932 edition of Old Mr Fox by George Brookbank. Sadly many of the new acquisitions are on my Kindle… but I still buy paper books when tempted. My nephew now has the bookcase.

      1. I think it’s just the light. Irritated my eyes a lot. I’ve stopped reading ebooks and sticked to reading physical books and my eyes have been fine. I mean I still have a batshit eyesight but my eyes don’t hurt anymore.

  2. We own easily a thousand books right now and have bookcases in six rooms of the house (so far). We did have three times as many books but we had to undertake the very difficult task of parting with the majority of our collection when we emigrated as books took up so much space in the shipping crate – and shipping anything across the Atlantic is massively expensive. Since arriving in America, however, I’ve been restocking by buying discarded books from our library. I’ve only once left the library without buying a book and I go to the library once a week. I’m a literature graduate and former English teacher which means I can justify my book addiction. However, running out of storage space as I am, I do buy some books on the kindle, books I know I’m likely to only read once. It’s a good compromise. I always wanted a library too, ever since I was a tot and visited Sir Walter Scott’s library at Abbotsford. It was the smell and the scale and the ladder that moved along the shelves that got me. Now, in our new home, we have plans for a library corner in our formal living room. I’m anal retentive about my books. The non-fiction is arranged by subject and the fiction by author surname. I used to organize the kids’ books but that way madness lay as they disorganized them. As to good bookshelves, we always found that the Billy range by Ikea stood us in good stead. There are better bookcases, for sure, but we found those were a good compromise between expense and robustness and we could then buy as many as we needed – which was a lot. Here we have a mixture of Ikea bookcases and ones I scored on Freecycle.

    1. I get you on the organization. I used to work as a library paige and insist on arranging my books by author’s last names. If I remembered the number system, I’d also sort by subject, but I have sadly forgotten that. I have mostly fiction and fantasy novels, anyway. ^_^

      And I would LOVE one of those libraries that has a ladder in it. It would be my Beauty and Beast dream come true!

  3. I love books too. Also, never been a fan of reading on the tablets. My mother keeps trying to talk me into it and I finally made the concession that no, I would never buy one but if someone bought me one I would only use it for traveling – to cut down on the inevitable 10+lbs of extra weight in my luggage for the novels.

    I love that bookshelf porn website. Awesome. We have a library at the moment in what I call the “Red Room”. We have ten cheapo bookshelves from Walmart covered in books and bursting at the seams.

    When we build our own house in the future we plan to build a two story library. My fantasy is to have it round like a turret with the second level having it’s only walk way and those fancy iron wrought rails and spiral staircase. Still working on the hubby about the second story but he loves them as much as I do so I don’t think it will be too hard if its in the budget. 🙂

    1. You and I must be soul sisters. That’s my dream as well. I love those houses that have turrets built in one corner. I imagine such a room to have built-in book cases that make up the walls!

      I’ve gotten better at traveling with books, but I used to bring 2 – 5 with me as a child, no matter how close or far we were traveling. I think I’d find a use for an erearder maybe… but I could use my phone, or one of the two tablets I have as an ereader and I don’t.

      More than anything else, I think I’d use an ereader to read blogs. I’m not sure if they all do that, though… or if any do that.

    1. They are truly wonderful places. I have a few friends who think libraries will be dead within a decade, but I think they’ll stand. I love libraries and I see plenty of people there when I go.

    1. A kindle is like a tablet, though, isn’t it? It’s just more limited (although now they have ones that go online, right?).

      I don’t have nearly that many shelves, but I will have to do something when I buy a book, next. I recently filled up the one I have. I’m not really sure what to do. I have one 6-shelved case and one half that size. I’ll probably work on the half sized one, moving my movies and games somewhere else. Eventually, I’ll need another tall case (and a bigger apartment.

      1. I say the Kindle reader is different from a tablet because it is much, much easier on my eyes. In fact, it’s easier on my eyes than paper.

        My guess is you’ll either soon be tripping over stacks of books or getting that bigger apartment you mentioned.

  4. I too love books, but I’ve become somewhat converted to e-readers and tablets. I read about half on e-readers and half the old-fashioned way. There are some convenience factors to e-readers that give them an edge over books, but there are times when I just need to curl up with a book and you simply cannot do that with an e-reader. There is something to be said for turning pages and the smell of the paper and just the tactile sense of holding a book in your hands.

    1. I admit there is a convince factor to ereaders, but I don’t think they give them an edge. They fill a need of readers everywhere – needing lots of books with limited space. What really scares me is 12-year-old who just grow up with ereaders to the point where they don’t even consider a real book.

      1. I agree, but as a writer, there are also opportunities that e-readers have created. For example, I just completed a 30,000 word novella. In the old world, it would be very difficult to come up with a way to publish and market it. With e-books, any story of any length can be published and possibly find an audience. And, while I agree that it would be preferable if 12-year-olds spend some time with real books, if an e-reader is what it takes to get them reading, I’m OK with that. It’s interesting, with respect to your other point — the convenience — I go back and forth when I travel. Sometimes I want to take the Kindle because it’s small and I can just pick one of the books I have on it to read while I’m on the road. Other times, and this is more common at the moment, when I travel, I want to take a stack of three or four books and wallow in them regardless of the space they take up.

        1. I can see that opprotunity. If I had an ereader, I think I’d read more self-published works. That said, I know a number of self-published authors who have a physical book you can buy.

          1. Everything I’ve self-published is also available in paperback. Self-published authors who don’t also publish in paper are denying themselves an opportunity to create a more permanent record of their work. But what I can do with this particular story is this: a series of three novellas of about 30,000 words in length that will be published as separate e-books and then as a paperback collection of all three. When it’s finally done, I’ll make sure you get a copy. 😉

  5. I think ereaders and books will exist side-by-side. I have both, and I love both for different reasons. Though it can be frustrating because books I adore should be in print. There’s nothing more annoying than buying an amazing book on my kindle or a so-so book in print! I also have dreams of an amazing library. Right now, there’s no room in the house, but someday . . .

    1. Yeah, I can see the value of both, but I don’t think one will ever make the other obsolete. I only have one large bookshelf right now (I have a smaller one for DVDs and video games. I love the idea of getting another large bookshelf, but I have no room. When I finally move, I plan on throwing out my old Walmart shelf and buying something larger and more sturdy. I need room for my collection to grow, after all.

  6. I don’t think that e-readers ever will be able to fully take the place of physcial books. I have a mini library of my own, and it is absolutely my pride and joy. But I would be lying if I tried to deny that I love my Kindle. It’s more about the ease of obtaining reading materials and that I can take entire stacks and shelves of books around with me everywhere I go. (I wrote a little piece of my own on the subject not long ago: http://shelfpick.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/the-e-reader-debate/)

    But something about the smell of paper and ink just gets me every time.

    1. I forget who first said it, but I heard somewhere that books are no more afraid of ereaders than stairs are of escalators.

      I can see myself with an ereader someday, but I don’t think I could ever buy one for myself. It’d have to be a gift or a prize.

  7. I have my own aversion to e-books, and an unnatural attraction to the real thing. too many books. . .stacks of em. and I don’t own a bookshelf! Have you seen the bookshelf made entirely of books? Think I could pull that off if I weren’t so busy staring at the wall.

    1. Hahahaha. I know people like that. I know people with bookshelves who have more stacks of books around the house than books on the shelf. That makes me nervous, though. That’s why I want a bookshelf with glass doors. I could protect my books from dust and such while still gazing at their beauty.

  8. Oh man. I’m feeling you here. The other day I just told my wife that I want a library in our home.

    As far as eReaders, I was in Japan for two years and access to English books was very limited. I must say that my eReader saved my life. But the first thing I did when I came back was dig into my storage unit to find the bag of books I left there. And that was that, haven’t touched the eReader since. Too many beautiful books to smell and hold and absorb into my unquenchable brain.

    1. Yep. I can see how awesome ereaders are for travel, but I want real books in my life. what does your wife think about a home library? Is she on board?

      1. She is totally on board with a library. In fact, we believe the only good walls are ones covered in bookshelves! This post has really sparked my imagination. Thanks! The future home of bookshelf will be awesome!

  9. Okay, I’m in love with the “Read Your Book Case” book case. I have an eReader, but books are quickly coming back into my life as I realize that I rarely finish books that I buy on my Nook. I think from now on I will only buy books on my Nook that are way cheaper that way. Yay for books and bookshelves! 🙂

    1. They say people read slower and retain less information when reading an ereader. I guess it makes sense to me then that you find it hard to finish a book on the device. Speaking of books, how is Vampire Academy coming?

  10. I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, but I still managed to dedicate an entire wall to my bookshelves. So what if they’re in the dining room?

    When my husband said there wasn’t space for a third shelf in the apartment, that I’d have to cut back, I laughed in his face and said, “just watch.”

    I’m proud to say that all three bookshelves made it into the apartment.

  11. I clicked the “Bookshelf Porn” link, and all that came to mind was, “WANT.”

    I do appreciate ebooks, in about the same way as I appreciate anything that’s helpful/useful/fun/cheap, which can come in huge quantities. I mean, have you ever checked out the Gutenberg project?! Yes, yes, yes! On the other hand, reading an ebook of Don Quixote isn’t even close to as nifty as reading an 1880 edition printed version, with tissue paper covering intricate ink drawings, and a cover made of leather with faded text. Also, finding specific passages in an ebook is a PITB. You can’t just flip through it until you see familiar text; you have to hit PageDown (or similar) a bunch of times, wait for stuff to load, navigate bookmarks…and otherwise have less fun at it.

    So, yes: my personal library sags on an old, wooden shelf (and in boxes, and on tables…) under the weight of new and old tomes, alike–and there’s truly nothing like having all 13,000 pages, or so, of the Wheel of Time series, in hardback, beaming back at you. Nevertheless, I also hoard absolutely as many tasty ebooks as I can get my digital mits on, for those times when I don’t have $5-$200 to spend on the hard copies that I really want.

    1. You have all of The Wheel of Time series in hardback!? I only own the first nine and they are all in paperback. That’s such a huge series. I’m on book seven.

      And all that is to say, I agree. Sometimes you just need the fantastic, leather book. And when it comes to the best of the best series, nothing but a physical book will do.

  12. I really like some of these: http://www.lushome.com/small-home-library-designs-bookshelves-decorating-small-spaces/49885
    There is an ebook reader in our home, which I used only for studying for exams on the train, and for reading some books I wasn’t able to get for cheap in used copies over here. I love having my favourite books around to read them over and over again whenever I want to. Right now a lot of our books are on a high shelf in our corridor because the only real bookshelf is filled with paperwork and university related ring binders. My favourites are in a beautiful wine crate next to my bed, though!

    1. Yes, they are lovely, aren’t they. Nothing makes me want a home library more than staring at pictures of other home libraries. When I started college, I used to keep the most precious 20 or so books with me, leaving the rest at home. Eventually, my parents wanted to use my bookcase and put all my books in boxes. I was horrified. The first thing I did when I moved to my own place was buy a bookshelf and proudly display all of them.

  13. “Nothing can replace the smell, feel and experience of bound paper and printed words.” My sentiments exactly! I do not have an eReader! I have a bookcase full of books! Ikea has good, sturdy, affordable, bookcases in modular style. I’ve got three of them! Nothing like arranging books and treasures in a bookcase to look like beautiful art.

      1. Positive for my needs. They are rectangular and vertical to fill a wall in my living room. This is my second set. I’ve split them up for use in a smaller space. Ikea may have square ones. I’d check on line!

  14. I prefer physical books over ereaders, but I do find value in kindles and so forth. I’m a freelance manuscript consultant and it’s easier to send a PDF version of the manuscript I’m working on to my kindle. I can highlight and comment on things directly, and upload my notes to my computer. I do use my computer to physically track changes and type up the diagnosis. I do also read galleys on my kindle and if I like the book, I go buy it when it is released. I do prefer paper and glue to led screens, however, and the creative suite is a really cool name 🙂

    1. Hmmm, an ereader might be a good way to do my own editing once I get my story all typed up. I can see the value, but I could hardly prefer ereaders.

  15. the sensation when you flip the pages and dive into each words and keeping book marks ,the intoxicating smell of new pages are like dreaming the dreams which you want to live for ….though the accessibility of books and its weighted baggage of history is no way comparable with e-letters. its like you not liking your own handwriting lest you want to cover your mistakes but never forget mistakes are raw materials for your future structure. sometimes when you don’t feel the feeling than you cant force yourself to feel.
    yep dream of having personal library is what I am also living for.

  16. I’m with you, I have read books on my phone but I don’t like it. Nothing can compare to a good book in hand, the touch, the feel of turning each page when done and the smell each book has to offer. I don’t know, there is nothing better than the smell of a good book. lol And I LOVE the library!! I tell my friends and bf all the time about how I used to use my lunch breaks to go to the library and read and how the first thing I did when I moved was get a library card, that is once I got a piece of mail with my address on it, and all they do is laugh and make a comment like who goes to the library anymore or Nerd! I have to say the day any library closes for good because of these new ebooks will be the day a small part of me dies inside. And I have heard people say that the generation born now won’t experience libraries. They predict by the time they will be able to read libraries will be obsolete!! Like the Twilight Zone episode The Obsolete Man will come true!! :*( I hope that never comes true.

    1. NO! I WON’T LET IT HAPPEN. Libraries must always be. And I’m right there with you. I use my lunch breaks to read. I get comments here and there. It’s like being on the school bus all over again. “Why are you reading?” Um… because it’s awesome. The real question is, why AREN’T you reading?

      ^_^

  17. Ok, seriously thank you for sharing the bookshelf porn link. Dear God, I never new there were so many people out there who were just as obsessed with beautiful shelves full of books as I am. My husband doesn’t get it and wants me to offload a bunch of my hard-earned gorgeous beauties. What can I do? There must be a helpline out there somewhere…I really enjoyed this post, thank you!

    1. Yes, there is a whole bookshelf fandom on Tumblr. My nerdy heart loves that website ^_^

      And tell your husband never! I don’t know how long you’ve loved books, but assuming it’s not a recent thing, he should have seen the home library coming!

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