I had lunch with Amber, the fabulously tart and smart voice behind Prettier Than Napoleon, yesterday (and can I say, this whole thing of meeting new people through your blog is great?) but that’s not the only reason I wholeheartedly endorse her post about the idiocy of filing your books spine-in, rather than spine-out. Amber says:
The idea that you should not only hide the titles of your library from onlookers out of embarrassment but also actively undermine the books’ utility (because how are you supposed to find a volume with the spines turned away?!?) to follow some decorating trend fills me with rage. If you are doing this, it means you don’t really care about the books at all, or use them. So why do you have them at all? Because you like the look of stacked paper? I respect people who are honest about their reading tastes. You know what a house full of pristine classics with unbroken spines or outdated federal reporters says? You’re boring and pretentious. And a shelf of pages with no visible titles says you’re a cringing phony too lazy or stupid to even nod toward what a wall of books is for.
It’s also a terrible decorating idea. Books lend a ton of fantastic color to a room. In my apartment, they’re one of the first things people beeline for. And you know what? I have an entire section in shelves for my romance novels (Julia Quinn rules, people). But rather than be embarrassed about that, there’s a story behind those luridly-hued and spine-cracked paperbacks. I had bad nightmares for a long time growing up, and one of my college roommates encouraged me to dip into her romance novel collection to help me get back to sleep when I had bad dreams. Those books are what introduced me to the idea of nightmares as manageable. And I’m totally obsessed with Penelope Featherington, who embodies a whole bunch of things I think about women, and writing, and authorial credit, and Lady Danbury, who basically is my paternal grandmother, and whom I would like to be when I’m seventy, especially if there’s a cane I can menace people with. Anyone who wants to make something of it clearly hasn’t the sense of humor and appreciation for great trash to be in my house in the first place.