Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spines In, Thumbs Down

I heard and then read something this morning that makes me wonder where I've been for the past few years. Apparently there is a decorating trend which calls for flipping around the books on your bookshelf. That's right; spines turned in, not out.

This is one of the book shelves in my house. Pretty average.

Yes, I actually kept most of my college textbooks.

I rearranged that shelf to give you an idea of what a spines-in / pages-out bookshelf looks like.

Poor Calvin and Hobbes has seen better days.

Is it just me, or is this plain weird? Do these people not read? Or am I the only one who needs to see the spine of a book to know which book it is?

Mr. Vagabond and I have always adored books, both to read and for their aesthetic appeal. I am constantly changing around my book cases to make them look a little bit different. I've got nicknacks mixed in with books here and there, some larger books are stacked up and lying flat and there are magazines stacked on a couple of shelves, too. But one thing I've never considered is flipping books around backward.

If a uniform color scheme is what these decorators are aiming for, why not make matching book jackets for all of the books? That might actually be cute. It could be done with wrapping paper or unpasted wallpaper. The pasted kind might stick to the book.

Something like this:

Cut some wrapping paper (Sorry, Mr. Baldacci).

Fold it to fit the book.

Tuck the ends of the paper around the ends of the book cover and voila: Book jacket

If plain or white is what you're after, flip the paper over, use white paper or even brown Kraft paper.

Maybe even add labeling stickers to write the title on.

Book spines are functional. They help hold books together and guard against dust and UV rays. With the spines turned in, page edges will age and yellow a lot faster. Plus it just looks odd, and not groovy odd. Weird odd.

My official, and not terribly important judgment call for this trend is Thumbs Down.



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  2. No, you aren't weird. Placing books with spines out looks bizarre to me. Plus, it completely moves books to "decoration" only. Books are meant to be read!

    I'm enjoying your blog, but wonder if I'm crazy for thinking of purchasing a 120 year old Folk Victorian. (I am googling Fold Victorians, and that's how I found your blog.) I just took a tour today. The sweet 90 year old owner walked along behind us pointing out her antiques from France. The house looks like an antique/junk store. It's crammed so full of furniture, knickknacks, and junk that it's hard to tell what sort of shape the house is in. It has vinyl siding, two horrid and inappropriate additions, a rotting deck, and ten years of acting as a storage unit rather than a home. Still...I'm tempted by the beautiful woodwork, fireplace, and staircases. I can't wait to see more of your renovations.

  3. Buy it!! Ha! Yes, I love this wretched, old house and I would buy it all over again in a second. Of course it wouldn't be wise to ask me in the middle of February, since the insulation here is the pits.

    From one old house lover to another, just some advice. If the house has quirks (like the funky addition and vinyl siding) but the inspector tells you that the structure is sound, you're on the right track. If there's carpeting, don't do what we did. We pulled back carpeting at the edges, which revealed tongue & groove pin flooring. Once we bought the house and ripped out the carpet, we learned that only the perimeter of the room looked that way. The rest was a plain old ugly plywood floor.

    A sound house with lots of ugly "remuddling" can be brought back to life. A rickety house with beautiful accoutrement isn't worth the investment, in my opinion.

    Thanks for reading!

  4. That would be "pine" floor, not "pin" floor. lol

  5. Love the books! It really looks good. I think I'll go do this to ours right now... haha

  6. A good idea, why not change the look of the book? It all depends on your mood - one day you may want to see your book wearing pink dress, while on the other day, you may want it in blue, just because you feel it that way.

    1. I can totally see pink dresses on my books!

    2. I can totally see pink dresses on my books!

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm developing a problem, though. I have so many books that now I need a few more book cases! :-)

    2. Thanks! I'm developing a problem, though. I have so many books that now I need a few more book cases! :-)