Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

But really, should we even care if the books weren’t read? They’re talismanic, remember. They exist principally as super-filters, as evokers of an implicit world. It’s like ambient music: you may not even notice it’s playing, but it gives you thoughts you wouldn’t have if commercial pop were playing in the background. The books evoke desire, a desire for a better, more intelligent world. They can do that when read, but also when left unread on the shelf, because they are beautiful objects.

Mrs Tsk*

I came across this quote on tumblr, and went off later to see who had posted it and if I could actually reference it. It appears the blog owner Mrs Tsk* authored it, and it made interesting reading in a way to see it fully in its context.  I am quite happy tho to consider it as a stand-alone comment as well!

I often wished as a student that somehow all the knowledge that was contained in those books - all the anatomy and neurology and biomechanics could somehow be transferred from the books into my head by osmosis. If somehow just by having the books around I could absorb their contents. Sadly it was not to be.

The quote got me thinking about the roles books play as objects; not simply for their content.  What do physical books on shelves say to us? How do they affect our mood? How do we feel when we are in a room filled with books? What does the smell of old books make us think about?

I don't know why, but I was surprised to realise all the associations I make with books and having them around and about folk who have books and those who do not, on all sorts of levels and in all sorts of ways. Like Mrs Tsk* suggests, I feel as if they can play their role simply by being; without me needing to actually absorb their contents. Sometimes their titles suggest a quest for further knowledge or investigation which makes me happy to know that people are thinking BIG things; sometimes their worn and torn covers and dog-eared pages tell me that people have be-friended them and that they have been worthy of multiple readings and have been great companions. Some books just look gorgeous and fill me with desire to see, make and do gorgeous things!

A colourful booky-nook at our place - with a painting by Lynn Cran at the top; a painting by Jo Murray atop the bookcase and a piece of pierced porcelain by Kim Schoenberger on the 'top shelf'. And our ever-growing rainbow stack of books of course...


  1. love that book rainbow.... you know that any rational or intelligent thought disappears when I spy a pretty booky tower....

  2. A rainbow of books! Just what every home needs. Do you mind if I steal the idea?

  3. What an interesting quote! I'll have to go check out that blog as well. I think I've thought such things before as well.....and I suppose that is what goes on for me, that the books living in a space are inhabiting it with all of their magic and desire. I know I'm uncomfortable in a home where there are no books....although it takes me a minute to figure out what's wrong. Perhaps there's not enough air in the air...not enough ideas and desire in the space. I can't live my life without them....inhabiting my rooms, read or's almost not the point. There is a lot to consider on this topic! That's for getting my tired brain in gear for the day Fiona!

  4. Ditto to the above.The Thursday quote is always guaranteed to make me think - even if I don't want to!. You have the knack of throwing a bit of mental gymnastics our way every week. Now I could not live in a house without books and I'm forever picking them at random off of shelves and re-reading things. It's sometimes like the first time all over again.... and as much as I love your book stack what happens if you want to read one of the ones at the bottom.....?

  5. I so agree with Patti! I've entered homes that lack books and it just feels strange and wrong to me, not a home at all, utterly without history and character. I've also been guilty
    when first invited into someone's living space of spending more time examining titles on shelves than listening to what the occupant is saying to me! I've never NOT been surrounded by books, at home and in work environments. Such great companions!

  6. You can't have too many books! Thanks for the feature Fiona. It's great to see you collect work of, and support, other artists. Isn't it lovely to walk around your home and be reminded of people by the various 'bits' you've collected?

  7. F such a great thought - of course books have many purposes other than to be read - that is why they were burned not just because of what they contained - the potential for knowledge and change and personal control. And of course they are such quiet companions. B

  8. Indeed...books are beautiful objects that create warmth and atmosphere. The first thing I look for when visiting someone for the first time. Your book nook had me with my nose almost pressed up against the screen.

  9. I love how the cards (?) on the top shelf of the bookcase echo the rainbow of books.

  10. OK sorry everybody - I got lost in NY and forgot to reply to all of these -eek!

    Ronnie - a stack has special meaning to you yes? Please don't attempt to burn this one!

    Jennifer - of course! every home needs a stack and a rainbow one in particular me thinks. Go for it!

    Patti - so true how books are ever present in our worlds in many ways; such great companions.

    Leslie - well the trick is that most of the books aren't there for reading; they really are there for colour. I doubt I'll read any of them; I select solely on the capacity to add to the colours! But other books are there for me always.

    G/Tt - I agree - I hungered for books as a student living away from home and always gravitate towards bookshelves in people's homes (as you now know). Go well.

    Jo - glad to promote of course - i do enjoy the bits and pieces we have around; lots of special folk and their work.

    So true B

    I agree V - so much magic within them.

    Robyn - the ones in the stack are pretty tragic; but the other ones in the case have lots of arty lovlies!

    Hi Jan - the postcards are from Cornelissen and Sons in London - and they were put there just for that - to match so thanks!


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.