Shelf Esteem No. 7


Cozy Factor: Zero.

The Books: Lots and lots to choose from here. Wide range of bios from painters (NC Wyeth), writers (Waugh, Wilde, Fitgerald, Sackville-West), composers (Ned Rorem), actors (Gielgud and Olivier) and political types (JFK).   And plenty of fiction too: Amis (pere et fils), Brookner (x 2!) Byatt, Cheever, Le Carre, McMurtry, Mitford, Trollope, Updike, Vidal Edmund White, Anne Tyler…

Plenty of art books, and as I look closer more biography than I initially thought.

And two Persephones. Can you spot them?*

The Shelves: If you live in DC and know anything about local architecture you know that these shelves were designed by Hugh Newell Jacobson. I kind of like them, but I am not sure how I would feel about trying to arrange books in them. The relatively short span of the each shelve allows for the use of thin pieces of wood which I think frames the books nicely. And there is something pleasing to me about how the uniformity and steady rhythm of the shelves bring order to the chaos of the size and color of the books.

I actually have two versions of this very same picture.  The one you see above was culled from a magazine at some point. The other is in the book Books Do Furnish a Room by Leslie Geddes-Brown. It was kind of fun to look for the changes in the placement of the books between the two pictures. There were some additions and some rearranging, it was like going on a treasure hunt. A picture of this library/dining room taken from another angle is also the cover image of the Geddes-Brown book.

Is this person a reader? Most defnitely. The variety of book type and author is in perfect balance with clear areas of the library owner’s interests.

The book I would read if I had to pick one: It was hard to choose this time because there were many that looked good to me, but I would go with The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh.

*(Top row, right side, second section from the left)

8 thoughts on “Shelf Esteem No. 7

  1. Susan in TX December 18, 2011 / 10:21 am

    I had to zoom in a lot to find them, but spotting the Persephones was sort of like playing “Where's Waldo.” I think I also spied some James Michener on the shelf.
    I concur – this has a cozy factor of 0 – I think it is the stark furniture on the evenly matched stark floor. And is that table “rooted” in the floor?


  2. Jeane December 18, 2011 / 12:11 pm

    The room feels too… clinical to me. I can't see myself relaxing there with a book.


  3. music-books-steve December 18, 2011 / 7:58 pm

    The almost uniform size of the shelves disturbs me. These people seem to be able to afford all hardcovers, but for the rest of us it's nice to be able to vary the size to accommodate all those Penguins.


  4. Karen K. December 19, 2011 / 12:29 am

    I did find the Persephones, though I had to zoom in. I agree, the furniture is pretty stark and cold. I like the white painted floor, but it needs a cushy couch and some rugs. Those chairs just look uncomfortable.


  5. skiourophile December 19, 2011 / 2:18 am

    Flowers though – surely that adds a half mark to the comfort factor?! ;-)


  6. A Super Dilettante December 19, 2011 / 9:35 am

    Dear Thomas, Hello. What a great post! I'm wanting more books for Christmas but I'm slightly running out of space in my flat. The books have been piling up on the floor and on the shelves rising up to the ceiling. They are like cliffs which are going to fall at any moment. The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh -I read it a long time ago (But I absolutely adore THE BOOKSHOP AT 10 CURZON STREET: Letters Between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill, edited by John Saumarez Smith)!! Wishing you a very merry Christmas.



  7. Thomas at My Porch December 21, 2011 / 3:21 pm

    Susan: I hadn't noticed the permanence of the table. That makes me like the room even less.

    Jeane: On a hot, hot summer day it might feel good, but the rest of the year? No. And they must take the books into some other room to actually read them.

    Steve: I had friends back in the 1990s who had these shelves in the little townhouse they were renting. Despite their fixed size, they can actually be quite versatile for paperbacks, cds and bric-a-brac.

    Karen: Like I said to Jeane above, there is no way they actually read in this room.

    Ski: The flowers are what kept the cozy factor from dipping down into the negative numbers. :)

    ASD: I have the Curzon Street book and liked it. So much smaller than the NM and EW volume.


  8. Sarah Faragher December 22, 2011 / 9:55 am

    Great bookshelves, but brrrr, what a chilly room! The flowers and apples on the table come across as an afterthought. Could any reading take place here…?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.