Check It Out: ‘Bookshelf’ builds on book love



Am I the only one who gets excited looking at pictures of bookshelves? I hope not because I really want “Bookshelf” to tickle the spine of others. This is not a typical bookshelf book. Is there such a thing, you ask? Well, in my biblio-centric world, a typical book about bookshelves offers DIY projects ranging from simple designs (plywood and cinder blocks) to more elegant solutions such as glassed-in hardwood cases. Not as typical but also not unheard of are books devoted to photographs of libraries, showcasing institutional, and sometimes personal, book collections.

So, what makes this week’s title unique compared to other bookshelf-oriented books? It is, without a doubt, one of the best tributes I’ve seen to all things created for the sole purpose of housing and displaying printed material. Inside this shelf-ish guide you’ll find hundreds of photos glorifying the bookshelf. Many are clever such as a cantilever design that looks as though the books should tumble off. Some are multitasking wonders — a metal rocking chair that also provides book storage — but all are works of art. Whether you’re into straight lines and sharp angles or curves and whimsy, something for every book lover can be found in this delightful publication. And if a design piques your interest, you may have a chance at owning it: A brief description as well as the designer’s website is included with each photograph.

I’m especially intrigued with “Bookshelf” because I am in the process of unpacking 40 boxes of books I’ve had in storage for almost three years. My husband assembled an amazing shelving system for my book collection, so I am not in need of shelves. But Alex Johnson’s book stirs my imagination and gives me a deeper appreciation for something I would otherwise take for granted. Be it ever so humble, there’s nothing quite like a bookshelf.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at