Books That Look Like You Might Actually Read Them Someday

I want Thatcher Wine’s job.

In case you haven’t heard, Thatcher Wine is the owner of Juniper Books – a one-man show responsible for beautifying “many of the world’s finest homes, yachts, restaurants, hotels, retail stores, spas, common areas of high end residences, and other locations” that was highlighted in the January 6th edition of the New York Times.  How does he do this?  With books, of course.

Mr. Wine’s clients don’t just want any books.  Oh no.  They want “decorative ‘book solutions.'”  Like, say, 1,500 books wrapped in blank white paper.  No titles.  No author names.  Just white paper-wrapped books “to provide a ‘textural accent’ to the space.”  The Times goes so far as to predict that the white-wrapped book will become “this year’s version of the deer head” before going on to tell book lovers to relax, “the printed, bound book has been given a stay of execution by an unlikely source: the design community.”

Funny.  I don’t really see it that way.

Call me old-fashioned, but I thought books were supposed to be read.  Apparently the “high end” market   to which Mr. Wine caters are not really that interested in actual reading.  Although, Mr. Wine states that “Some people will insist that they be in English, because they want them to look as if they could read the books.”  Alex Hampton, a New York decorator, say that more and more clients are asking for “books they actually might read.”  Well, yes.  Obviously.

Here’s an idea.  If you want books you “actually might read” – why not have your driver take you to the local independent bookstore and pick out a few yourself?  Even better, why not fill your miles of bookshelves with shoes or eight balls or something you actually care about?  I mean, imagine how much coke you could store in your “library”…or money!

This is not to downplay the aesthetic quality of books on shelves.  There are few things more lovely than a well-stocked library.  And there’s no shame in selecting certain books to grace your shelves because of a beautiful binding or color scheme.  My own shelves are strategically missing certain books because, frankly, they don’t “look” good there.  But the books that are on my shelves are there because I or my partner have read them or intend to read them in the very near future.  Having a complete stranger select books for my shelves just sounds ludicrous.  That would be like asking a complete stranger to select artwork for my walls or clothes for my closet. But. Wait.  Oh.  Yeah.  People do actually do that, don’t they?
It all just seems so silly to me.
That being said, I still want Thatcher Wine’s job.  After all, he gets to spend his time searching out books (an activity that I spend weeks of my life every year doing for free) and he makes a pretty good penny at it as well.  One job he did for a private equity manager cost $80,000.00.  Eighty-thousand dollars.  The way I see it, Mr. Wine’s not the enemy.  He’s actually literature’s greatest advocate because, at the very least, he’s carefully selecting books for people who clearly don’t read but might someday.  I just hope he’s choosing good books.

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