Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Disappearing Bookcase

Sandy hit us very hard. We had to pull out the floors and walls of our living room, dining room and kitchen. Just for the heck of it, we tore out a lot of the ceilings as well. A lot of our furniture went into the trash. Some survived. For example, I have an ancient oak bookcase that I inherited from my grandfather. Sadly, it's pretty small. For the bulk of my book collection I had two huge bookcases I'd bought at Costco years ago. They were sort of a hybrid--a chipboard back with what appeared to be real wood shelves. Alas, they didn't make it.

My wife was not nearly as upset as I that the bottom two shelves of my books were garbage. She'd been urging me to shed my collection for years, but I couldn't bear it. For about three months, we've had huge boxes of books cluttering up our dining room, and I had no place to put them.

I really looked for a half-decent bookcase, but all I could find were small things of dubious quality in the $3-400 range. Everywhere I looked, there were entertainment centers you could plant your 60-inch TV in. They were the perfect size, and didn't necessarily cost more than the puny bookcases. I was heartbroken. I asked furniture store employees why they didn't have bookcases that looked like that, and they looked at me as though I'd just fallen from the sky.

Finally, I gave up. I saw an internet ad for bookcases, 35 bucks delivered, from Staples, and bought three. They really looked crappy when we assembled them. I figured I'd use them until I found something else, then use them for storage in the garage or something. This would be good because all the shelves we had in the garage have somehow disappeared since we replaced all the walls.

But now that I've reluctantly tossed out half the remaining books, largely textbooks I'd been given which were so bad I'd never dream of using them, I've filled the cheap bookcases and they don't look half bad. There they are.

Where have all the bookcases gone? Does no one want them anymore? I suppose I'm part of the problem--a good portion of the reading I've done over the last year has been on the iPad, or even more frequently this very laptop. Are books obsolete? Should I have just gotten with the times and made a huge bonfire?

Tough to say. But if no one wants bookcases anymore, I'm not at all confident we're moving in the right direction.
blog comments powered by Disqus