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One of the aisles inside Chetham's Library, in...

One of the aisles inside Chetham's Library, in Manchester. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I was at a friend of a friend’s house the other day, my eyes were drawn to three walnut colored bookcases in the living room.  Like Raphael’s Three Graces, they stood there, tall and stately, with the two tallest shelves flanking the shortest one. Her books were aligned by height and color, as if they were handsome little soldiers. From my vantage point across the room, I eyeballed some of the titles with interest. (Yes, if you’re going to have books out, I will look at what you have. I can’t help it.)  The bookcases were not overly ornate.  They were simple yet elegant.  The arrangement had a balance and precision that was pleasing to the eye.

I thought of my bargain bookshelves at home, and how piles of book were haphazardly stuffed on various shelves– wherever I could find space sometimes.  I tried to arrange them in order (1) To Be Read; (2) Books from College that I can’t part with; (3) Classics, Greek Mythology and other Stuff that looks properly refined: (3) Romance; (4) Chick Lit; (5) Fantasy; (6) Spiritual and Religion; (7) Dog and Animal; (8) Young Adult and (9) Miscellaneous.

I looked hard at my Walmart ($25) bookcases and critically noted how they never did stand straight and tall. They sort of leaned into each other as if tired of their messy burdens.

I dragged the family out to a furniture store where I found a set of three bookcases that struck my fancy, until I got sticker shock. Maybe Ikea would hold my heart’s desire.  Nope.  The shelves were bland, spartan, and looked like the shelves I already had.  If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, the fact that I would be paying $230 for a presto board bookcase that I would have to put together myself was a real buzz-kill.  Oh well.  Somewhere out there is a bookcase with my name on it, and it won’t cost an arm and a leg.  Until then, all I need to do is thin down my shelves and organize.  Maybe I won’t throw out my bookcases after all.