In any excellent Antiquarian bookstore, fine sets line the walls like Gilded Soldiers. Those colorful, pretty, golden and silver jewelry bindings all handsome with their tinkly medals. They all but twirl their mustaches while riding horseback. Love it.
They are beautiful. Sometimes they are going to good homes. And there are times when they are just purchased for decor and I wonder their ultimate fate. (Perhaps as set design in some off-off Broadway production of a Chekhov play.) And there have been times when I cannot get them wrapped and out of my sight fast enough because they are pretty but dull or because they are plentiful but heavy. In both cases, I am happy to send them to Chekhov.
So, in Manhattan, and Jersey City and Newark and, I suppose, most cities across the world, there are new buildings being built with vast apartments and condos. Most of them will be missing a wall, maybe two. The walls have been replaced with glass.
I call it the Infinity Wall.
These million dollar homes in the sky have included in the price, the feeling of limitlessness. The view from the windows lead to infinity over the landscape as important gardens in the Renaissance led to the horizon through the trees.
And as a result, there are fewer walls on which to build a library. Art has replaced books as, for besides the price and collectibility, they usually come flat packed.
What to do? Move on and press on with books that are visual and delightful but do not take up much real estate. Someday, I have faith, the good, Gilded Soldier will return to the houses of those who are willing to give up a wall or perhaps even an entire room. I’m assuming that day will come when we, as a people, and those of a particular class (let’s be honest), will see the value in leisure time spent with a material book of variable relevance.
Just not MY home…because…well, I’ll admit…I’m addicted to negative space.
On my turntable: Stateless by Lene Lovich
Favorite Song: “Lucky Number”