02 February 2005

Books are furniture

"A house without books is like a room without windows."
~ Horace Mann

In defence of complaints regarding personal "clutter," I have always maintained that books are furniture, and have used Mann's line as corroboration. There really is a method to the madness of having random stacks of books piled around the house: it just looks better. And I freely admit that when I visit other people's homes, I surreptitiously glance at their bookshelves (and tables and floors and chairs) to see what they're stocking their minds with.

A gleeful discovery of CAAF's confession, "I do always peer at the catalogs (particularly Pottery Barn for some reason) to see what books they have on their shelves" led her to post on Nicholas Baker's essay, "Books as Furniture."

Now I have happy precedent for my daft habit of only leafing through catalogs to see which books they place in their well-decorated rooms...

In a more literal vein, MIT students constructed an exhibit of furniture made entirely out of books last year:

Smith used pages from P.D. James' detective novels as quilt panels which she machine-stitched with red thread. Other book pages were shredded to provide stuffing for the quilt and pillow. The mattress is rows of stacked books.

"I was able to find at least two comfortable positions [on the bed]. I was really surprised; I thought it would be like boulders," said Demaine.

Ah, but would lurid tales seep into her dreams?

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