21 February 2014

Erudition by the Foot

I found a web page where European leather-bound books were being sold. On closer inspection, I realized it was a trade sight for interior designers, where they can buy books by the linear foot to put into homes they're decorating for people.

Minimum sale is five feet. Special discounts on more than 100 feet!

I can go to any one of my bookcases and pull out a book and remember who gave it to meor where I bought it—and when I read it and what it means to me.

Two green leather tooled volumes of Vanity Fair by Thackery ... a gift from a childhood friend. Tiny blue volumes of Mrs. Browning's poetry.... from a beloved companion. A burgundy leather bound collection of Sir Walter Scott's poems... brought over from Scotland. A small green book of poems by Shelley.... purchased in Oxford. Countless volumes of Dickens, nearly falling apart with use.... bought long ago in an old corner bookshop that is sadly no longer there. 

And so many, many more.... some old, some new, some paperbound, some bound in leather. Some on shelves, others piled on chairs or stools, many holding pride of place on the mantle or on tables. Do I love the way my books look in my house. Yes! of course. Do I arrange some of them so as to highlight the beauty of their old bindings or gold-embossed titles? Yes, I do. But they are all read, all loved, and never bought for show.  

Books as status symbol. Books to reflect one's wealth. Books displayed to imply fabricated learning.  Frankly, the concept confounds me.


  1. I love books, too.I treasure them and I hold their words in my heart.
    I haunt used bookstores looking for treasure ...... Dottie

    1. I do, too, Dottie! Each book in my cottage has a little story to go with it.

  2. As an ex-librarian and book-lover, the thought of books by the foot makes my heart sink. I may not yet have read every book I possess, but I've at least dipped into them all and know what they mean to me.

    1. I'm sure there are homes that have used this service, Perpetua, but I really can't imagine it! But who knows.... perhaps they will be tempted to read some of them. :)