The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives


A display of books on the mantel

Theme: Origins.

It was somewhere on Twitter, I think, that I saw a bookseller comment on household book displays, on the ways people live with and around books. It was around the time that I found out the library supply store does not require an institutional account (or institutional quantities) to purchase bookends and other accoutrements for maintaining an upstanding collection, and thus began the thematic displays on the mantel. A catalogue is not always sufficient to ensure one can remember the books one has on hand, but searching out a book (or five) on an arbitrary theme – well, it can offer a new perspective. Sometimes the themes are easy or obvious (‘Halloween’ or ‘writers from the former Yugoslavia’ or ‘modernist lady writers’), while other times they lead to unexpected narratives or images (‘dogs’ or ‘origins’, above). A broader theme allows greater latitude for interpretation – and thus a deeper scouring of the shelves and a greater sense of surprise, wonder, or amusement. The displays are arbitrary of course, and generally changed within a month or so – small skirmishes in the ongoing struggle between memory and attention.


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