In a Denver Post article entitled “Book lovers rejoice! How to coexist peacefully with your collection,” — by a woman who claims to be a “book lover” in search of “suggestions of how best to display [her] book collection” — we find the following appalling advice, passed along uncritically:
Amy Trager, a certified professional organizer based in Chicago, suggested flipping the books around so the pages are facing out, instead of the spine, to cut down on the visual clutter of the books’ different colors and sizes.
This caused in me a reaction of disgust and aversion not unlike my reaction to [the prospect of ever being exposed to] the brain-eating scene in a zombie movie. The article goes on to explain, helpfully:
That only works, of course, if you don’t need to quickly access specific books, but it’s a great way to add texture and a neutral, toned-down feeling to your space, Trager said.
Like using your oven to store your shoes only works if you don’t need to bake.* WTF?
Trager had another client who needed to keep her books in the living room but hated the way they looked. She created covers for each of her recessed shelves out of thin paperboard. When she wanted a particular book, she could pull the covers down, but when they were up, it looked like a solid colored wall, fading into the background.
The only answer here is to arrest this woman and force her to donate her books to the local public library.
I realize that, as a dog lover who bought a light-colored, linen-upholstered sofa and as the proud owner of a gray formica kitchen counter, I should not be giving design advice, but I feel very strongly that there is only one good way to display books: out and proud.
*This, on the other hand, is not totally out of the question as a design solution in our house.