Creative bookshelves

I’ve posted about bookshelves before. They fascinate me, as I find the physicality and aesthetics of books as artifacts and art to be very important, almost as important as their content. (I know I’m not alone in this, and that’s one reason why eBooks will never fully replace books for folks like me.) I think that my wife first realized how much I love books — and how crazy I am — when I bought a copy of Henry Petroski’s The Book on the Bookshelf. She was in disbelief that even I would be interested in such a book. (To be honest, this book is also evidence of another book-related problem I have: though I bought it years ago, I have yet to read it, but I really do mean to read it some day.)

Bookshelves are also a constant source of frustration for me because I don’t have enough to properly display my books. I have a bunch of cheap bookshelves, as well as a few nice built-in bookshelves in my home, but far too many of my books have to be boxed-up right now because there’s no room for them. And that’s why I’m always envious of private libraries where the owner has managed to create a really special environment for books and reading. I’ve come across a compilation of twenty really neat, creative bookshelf configurations. I’ve seen one or two of these before (the Pac-Man one, for instance), but it’s a really nice set.

And speaking of some people who are in desperate need of bookshelves, creative or otherwise, here’s a couple that has acquired what they say are 350,000 books. They’ve had a second house trucked in to house them (why not get a barn or shed or something instead?), but now that house is being crushed under the weight of the books. To be honest, I doubt they actually have 350,000 books. We have 6,000 books in our home, and know how much space and weight those take up. I also know someone who has 30,000 books stored in a separate house, and those basically fill up that entire building. Suffice it to say, they have a lot of books.

Book sculptures

I certainly don’t endorse mutilating books, even for the sake of art, but I suppose it’s OK if the books were going to be destroyed anyway. In any case, here are some photos of some phenomenal art installations and other pieces created using books.

Brian Dettmer, the “Book Surgeon,” also creates sculptures — of a very different kind — out of books. He does some amazing work. Here is a link to about fifteen of his pieces, and here is an interview with Dettmer with another seven or so photos of additional pieces.

Amazing and beautiful stuff! (Though it still makes me wince ever so slightly to see books destroyed….)

Children’s books as clothing?

While we’re on a children’s book nostalgia kick (see my recent post on vintage book club mailers), remember Little Golden Books? I was appalled a few years ago to find that the current editions are cheap, staple-bound, and flimsy, lacking all the charm and sturdiness of the originals, but I still remember the original books very fondly.

And apparently I’m not the only one. A clothing designer named Ryan Novelline (an appropriately bookish name, isn’t it?) has crafted an absolutely beautiful dress out of discarded Little Golden Books covers. She provides lots of photos of the dress itself as well as the construction process Check it out!