“I cannot live without books,” said Thomas Jefferson. How well I understand Mr. Jefferson.
Old books. Tattered. Torn. Shabby. Raggedy. Vintage. Some mended, glued, stuck together.
Books of all genres, shapes, size and colours.
They are like works of art for me. A living, breathing, tactile art.
One of my favourite corners in the house, especially in winter, is this fireplace in the living room area. A book lover’s corner. My corner. No fire as it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. The old cast iron kettle stays on the wood heater as its used for hot water and circulating steam when the fire is going.
What you see in the corner is a mix of piled up books of all genres on all sorts of topics. I don’t formally arrange them. I like them layered like this, loosely placed on the shelf this way and that, backwards and forwards, up and down, over and under, above and below, crooked, leaning, horizontal, back to front. I started placing them on the fireplace mantel because there was nowhere else at the time. Our house is a work in progress … and progress and progress. Whew!
All these books attract me. The true allure of an old book is the sensory pleasure it brings, pleasure beyond the reading. It’s the physical process of touching the book, holding and handling it, opening it, perusing it, reading it. The scent of it, the soft smell of an old book.
Sometimes it’s the feel of the old paper pages as I leaf through sort of like dry parchment, some pages quite brittle. Some books have been inscribed with the owner’s name written in cursive using what looks like a nibbed pen and ink.
I never tire of the sensory process of looking at old books, perhaps wondering who owned the book, held it, read it or whether it was read to another. Maybe loaned. Some were library books. Who borrowed them?
I never tire of holding these books, fondling them, flicking through the pages looking at the letters and words, reading them from cover to cover or just reading excerpts, snippets. I never tire of simply looking at them, having them around. I don’t think I’ve ever opened an old book and not found something of interest in the physical book itself or the writing.
Having them around is warming to me. I bow down to a sort of blind credulity when it comes to old books. Only book lovers of my ilk will understand 🙂
You can see this particular book pile has risen and risen, climbing the wall. Books like this can double up as decor, quite inexpensive decor mostly. Of course I pay more for other books, the antique and collectibles and more contemporary reading matter, not in this corner.
Doesn’t matter where I go books are hard to ignore. Like Mr. Jefferson I cannot live without books. Having books is a necessity not a luxury. What other collectibles offer such total engagement and interaction?
Which reminds me, have you seen the 3D wallpaper books or book/library wallpaper or 3D book shelves as murals available now? And have you checked the price? Not in my budget thanks! As far as I’m concerned there’s nothing like the real thing and some of what’s out there is positively tacky, contrived and artifical for my taste. But as I say, way too expensive for me. Here’s just a few examples I found via Google
We are in the process of moving the wood heater into the lounge once the hearth is constructed in February. At last the fire in the lounge room! We have been moving the chimney a bit to see how it’s dismantled. We’ll find another heater to go in this corner.
This image is just around the corner from the fireplace i.e. not books on the mantel.
The miniature flags from the USA reflect the four states in which I lived: Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Florida. The other two are the Stars and Stripes (American flag) and the Gadsden flag depicting the rattlesnake coiled ready to strike.
Starting in 1775 the Gadsden was used during the American Revolutionary War. In the last decade or so we have seen a re-invention or re-use of the Gadsden flag, or at least the rattle snake, as inspiration for the conservative Tea Party movement in America.
Mr. Mona Lisa?
The vintage oil on canvas portrait is an unidentified man smiling gently. A man with a thick ginger beard and twinkling, almost smiling, eyes.
This is one of my favourite old canvasses. I sometimes muse over this portrait thinking of the gentleman as Mr. Mona Lisa even though he is of a later era and his quirky smile is more pronounced than Mona’s.
Who is this man?
It’s not a crack in the old iron kettle, just a water mark.
Do you like old books? Do you have your way of displaying them or using them as decor in some way?