I’ve always loved to read…and I’ve always loved how books look, especially old ones. When I go to thrift shops or antique stores, I can’t resist looking through old books: the well-worn leather and canvas covers; the yellowed, almost tea-stained color of the brittle pages, the way the type looks, that dusty smell of old paper. I love reading the dated inscriptions, “To Harry on your 10th birthday…Love Aunt Agnes, 1911”…something about the beautiful penmanship (people had such gorgeous handwriting back in those days) and the lovingly jotted notations, are so intimate. Books with gold-imprinted, leather-bound covers are my favorites. I’ve always dreamed of a library filled with these books…one that requires a ladder or spiral staircase to reach the volumes at the tippy-top of the shelves….remember that scene in “Beauty and the Beast?” I swoon when Belle sees the amazing library…
|Today’s super-quick sketch, a stack of leather-bound books.|
I’ve read every one of the books I have on my shelves…some even several times. But these days, I rarely hold a book, flip through the pages and read it…nowadays, with my busy work schedule, I listen to audiobooks on my iphone, instead. But I’ve kept every book…like a piece of artwork or a photograph of a friend, I have a sentimental connection to them, and collecting them on my shelf is like holding onto a memory. And when I glance at the covers as I walk past the shelves, words from the bindings pop into my head and I am reminded, ever so subtly and subconsciously, of the words and stories that had me captivated.
Using books for home decor has always been popular…covering them with coordinated, color coded paper jackets for a uniform look; stacking them to use as a little side table or display; cutting/hollowing them out to use as a holder or box for secret treasures, keys or invitations. Restoration Hardware even sells sets of vintage-looking books, with the bindings torn off and tied with twine, for use as a decorative accent. While I think it looks pretty, I’ve noticed how common it is in decorating lately. It makes me a little sad to see the binding and covers removed…it’s as if the books have been stripped of their identities and the words within the pages will never be seen. The pages might as well be blank. As someone who loves reading, appreciates typography as an art form, and understands how much goes into the production of anything printed (especially when you factor in all aspects of how a book is made…from the original concept all the way through editing/publishing, cover design and illustrations, to the physical press production)…it kinda breaks my heart.
|Books as “decorative accents” from Restoration Hardware.|