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Showing your literary spine WO R D S ● JA N UA RY J O N E S

t is a truth universally acknowledged that the eye is the window to the soul. But for me, it has to be the bookshelf. Forget the insides of pantries, shoe closets or the art adorning walls; if you really want to get to know someone, take a good hard look at the selection of books on their shelves. Do they have a curated collection of classics? Or a matching set of orange popular penguins? But it’s not just about the selection – how books are displayed can be just as telling. Is it any wonder then, that the internet was up in arms after lifestyle blogger Lauren Coleman committed the ultimate bookshelf crime – displaying her books backwards! The controversial styling technique was denounced as “anti-book” and Coleman held up as an example of the shallowness of interior trends. As a lifestyle editor, I’m not one to shun an interior trend. In fact, I’m quite partial to one. But a backwards bookshelf? What is the point of owning books in the first place? And this brings me to something even more criminal: “shelf rigging”. Shelf rigging, according to

The Telegraph, is the act of altering your shelves to reflect only your “finest” and most literary books; not, for example, the erotic thriller you read on the beach in Noosa. When I walk into someone’s home, one of the first places I wander over to is the bookshelf, and yes, I judge. Not their books, per se, but the insidious crime of shelf curation. There’s nothing more offputting than perusing someone’s shelves, only to discover a collection by notable authors, all without a single sign of being read. Where is the dog-eared favourite? Or the one that doesn’t fit the colour scheme? Or the trashy bestseller that no one admits to reading, but has very strong opinions about? (I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades of Grey Grey). This kind of behaviour reveals something about a person – mostly that they don’t even like books, let alone actually read them. It’s a bookshelf with very little substance ... perhaps just like its owner. So go forth, book lovers, and display your Mills and Boon and Dan Brown novels with pride, because if nothing else, it shows you actually read them. ●



Profile for The Weekly Review

The Weekly Review Stonnington & Boroondara  

March 28-April 3, 2018

The Weekly Review Stonnington & Boroondara  

March 28-April 3, 2018