It’s time again, for the very first time, to give out that much-coveted semi-occasional award made up just last week and so far awarded only in my brain (to viral video The Joy of Books) for general excellence in book-related things: it’s my Favorite Book-Related Thing of the Week! This week it’s at the California Home and Design blog, where they’re featuring the custom “Book Tables” of San Francisco architect/artist Lisa Finster. Give her a stack of your favorite books and she’ll create a beautiful wooden coffee table with perfectly-carved spaces for each volume. Check it out:
Of all the customizable book shelving solutions I’ve seen—and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how many customizable book shelving solutions I’ve seen—this is definitely the coolest, if not necessarily the most practical. For years now, while dreaming of the day when I have the space and disposable income for proper bookshelves, I myself have been keeping my books in precariously-balanced free-form stacks: piling them by the dozens underneath my desk (back in my old Brooklyn apartment), heaping them in mounds on my bed and sleeping in the spaces between (back when I used to edit book reviews), piled high on the back of the toilet (back when I wasn’t sharing a bathroom with a lady), and more recently stacking them under endtables, across tables, in empty corners and atop unused seating in my girlfriend’s tiny Atlanta apartment. Back at my parent’s house, the closet in my sister’s old bedroom has been inundated by volumes, with overflow building up in the television stand and just beginning to encroach on TV screen real estate.
If I was smart, I would take a cue from Finster’s approach and construct something practical with them—maybe lay them like bricks to form a divide between the den and kitchen, or arrange them in a low, tight cylinder to make an uncomfortable sitting stool, or paste them by their back covers in fixed-width columns partway up the wall for make-shift wainscoting. Of course, if I was really smart, I’d just read the damn things and then unload them to the used bookstore or Goodwill center, maybe pick up a digital copy of my favorites for keeping, and devote all the space I’ve saved to some kind of practical project: like learning how to build one of those Lisa Finster bookshelf tables.