Friday, February 25, 2011

Sean and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp, "Organizing the Bookcase"

Some years ago I read an article about interior design and bookshelves. It included some photographs of Bret Easton Ellis' bookshelves. Or, rather, his shelf: one long shelf running like a snake around the circumference of his fabulous loft. I was inspired. I'm not neat or organized enough to be a bibliophile, but I do like books as objects almost as much as I like them as texts. Those affections are sometimes in tension. Case in point was my decision to do Ellis one better by organizing my books by color. The problem, of course, was that if I wanted to find my copy of, say, Roy Mottahedeh's The Mantle of the Prophet, I had to remember not only that its spine is red but that my copy is a bit faded, the red fading to the color of old salmon, so that I'd shelved the book closer to orange than to violet. Then, too, there is the dominance of Penguin orange; and the problem of books such as Borges' Collected Fictions, the bottom half of which is a dusty twilight blue and the top half of which is a milk chocolate brown. I could picture the spine, but not its location. So my experiment failed. Fortunately, Sean and Lisa Blonder Ohlenkamp have not: