hello, my name is jean pierre de rosnay… and i’m a bookshelf voyeur.
hello jean pierre. okay, bookshelves…
so, out of curiosity, what kind of bookshelf do you have?
sadly, i don’t have one. at the moment. because of money and space constraints i just haven’t been able to get one.
so how do you have your books now?
they’re all in piles. there’s one in the lounge, in and around the tv and there’s one in the bedroom around my bedside table.
and i assume this isn’t ideal for you.
how does it make you feel?
well… not great. ’cause i like my books a lot. they’re my friends. i like to have them out and displayed, on a shelf. i don’t know… its hard to explain… it’d just be nicer that way. i want to be able to touch them and see them all at a glance and be able to just pick one up, open it, look at it a bit and then put it back.
but, things are finally looking up so i think i’ll be able to get one in the next few months. ah, thats good. okay, so lets talk a little bit about your problem.
well. um… i guess it has to do with how much i like books.
i like books a lot. i like how they look, how they feel, how they smell, i like old books, new books, paperbacks, hardbacks… all kinds. i love the covers of books, the different covers of different editions.
okay. so …
so, i guess… well, i remember my mom’s bookshelf. she had a lot of books, and she had this tall and wide bookshelf. there were tons of agatha christie’s “dune”, “the lord of the rings”, “tai pan”, “sun signs”, “hamlet” and lots others. i just used to love looking at them, being around them. just walking past them was nice.
and how did it develop from there?
well, from there i was always interested in friends’ bookshelves. initially it was just to see what books they had but then it developed to seeing how they kept them. it amazes me all the different ways you can keep books, the different ways you can arrange them on a shelf, even how where you have the bookshelf affects how the shelf looks.
that doesn’t sound so bad. are you sure you’re not being a little hard on yourself?
well… no… because, you see, it doesn’t just stop with friends, it extends to strangers as well. i’m interested by any bookshelf, no matter where it, who it belongs to or what kinds of books it displays.
its gotten to the stage now that if i walk down the street and notice a bookshelf, then i just have to look. i have to look at how they’ve arranged it, how many shelves they have, the colour of the bookshelf, where it fits in with the rest of the furniture, are there ornaments on the shelves and the overall effect. needless to say, one can’t really assess all of these things in just a glance, so i normally have a good old look. sometimes i, er, even… stop… and, er, stare…
into other people’s homes?
people you don’t know.
just there, in the middle of the street.
for a few seconds.
yes… well, sometimes for longer.
’cause, you know, sometimes the person has created a really nice effect with their bookshelf, and i want to try and work out how they’ve done it…
sometimes its really hard, you can’t always put your finger on what they’ve done… so i, er, go past their house again, when i can, just so i can look at their bookshelf.
i don’t go out just to look at their shelf, its just when their house happens to be on my way. i mean, i could take another route, but i may as well go past their house… since i, er, … you know… i may as well…
thank you. uh, for… sharing that.