Last week we had three extra box shelves installed to our TV unit which had already been fitted in December.
Choosing the furniture to our living room comprised of some sacrifices. Matt had always wished for bookcases and I, being the owner of several books, had naturally agreed. However we had to take into consideration the fact that our open plan is not huge. With half of the space being taken by the kitchen and dining area, a full standard TV unit piece with several shelves (something like this) was out of the question.
Therefore we opted for this piece which came with two wide shelves with doors and three single box shelves that are attached directly to the wall. It was big enough for our appliances and it did not give that overcrowded feeling to the area. The fitter installed the box shelves on the right side of the wall (immediately filled with Matt’s DVD/Blu-ray collection); it looked modern and airy but for the sake of having more storage and also for the love of symmetry, we immediately went to order three additional box shelves for the left side.
I was thrilled to be finally able to bring my most precious books from my parents’ house. I spent around an hour organising them in the best possible way. Matt tried to categorise them by color; not a bad idea but not an easy one to accomplish. I have enough white and red book spines, but the rest are just a mishmash of colours which are hard to categorise. I prefer to see my books sorted by author and genre and the end result came close to that.
The honour of taking the first box shelf was my favourite author, Natsuo Kirino; a few more books and she will own the shelf completely! The others that followed are some of my other favourite Asia-themed books (you might like to check out my reviews of some of these books on my other blog, Asia in Literature), ranging from Japanese horror and fantasy to Chinese historical-cultural books. The bottom shelf contains a mix of my Italian, non-fiction and classic books together with some of Matt’s books. The rest had to go on the top covered shelf alongside the Swedish comic book collection.
I love how our ‘entertainment area’ looks now. It’s symmetrical and it represents us perfectly, both individually (my books and Matt’s films and Super Nintendo console) as well as a couple who share the same interests and inspire each other (there are the collectibles of the anime Slam Dunk which I made him watch and love, and there is the vintage-looking tin box which I use as a memory box with all the stuff collected from our travels and outings). It might still look bare in terms of decor – we need to embellish the whole area with paintings and some other decorations – but I find it aesthetically pleasing, especially when I look at the books. There is this strange exhilaration inside me when I look at books on shelves that almost equals the joy of actually reading them.
This leads to another weird thing about books that I’ve come to realise lately: unread books on tables. What is it with books which you have started, sitting on the coffee table or at your bedside? The book which I had started on my trip to Sweden (An Idiot Abroad; a post about it is in the pipeline) laid on our coffee table for weeks on end. It made me uncomfortable because it was a stark reminder of my regression in reading. I utterly feel ashamed and also more ignorant for not finding enough time to read in the past months. Yet, seeing a book on the table represents a myriad of possibilities: stories to be unravelled, words to be discovered, a chance for pure enjoyment or even the risk of disappointment once the book is read.
These are also the vibes that I get when I see my books on the shelves. Read books give me memories, the unread ones are an adventure waiting to be experienced. I don’t know if these are common emotions for book lovers or if they might be perceived as an excuse for my current lack of reading. It is not clearly mentioned on this list of worst habits of book lovers which I came across this week although, having shelves full of books might be related to excessive purchases. But who is that silly person who thinks that books are not to be bought because of lack of reading time or restrictive shelving? Go and tell that to a bookaholic, I dare you!
Books are a way of life. Whether they are being read, decorating shelves or laying patiently on top of a table, they are our companions. There is no rule to keep you from buying them and you will certainly never have enough. Take good care of them and cherish the emotions that they can give you.
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If you are also fond of book shelves (or even plain shelves and interior design in general), check out the below: