Friday, February 02, 2007

Goin' Off the Rails on a Crazy Train

Look at those books! Who would DO that? WHY?!?!?

This is from Pottery Barn, by the way.


Amy said...

That demonstrates to me a person who doesn't like books at all, just a person who thinks that stacks of bound paper makes them look intelligent. WRONG. You are right, horrible taste. They would actually look quite nice, turned the right way.

Anonymous said...

That's so funny. I got the catalog earlier this week and thought the EXACT SAME THING when I saw that picture.

My second thought: the dust! My god, THE DUST!

Gina said...

Unloved books--books as props--make me sad. It's like seeing unloved children.

Anonymous said...

Here's what happened. It's a room in a house full of voracious readers. The books' backward placement on the shelves simply reflects the brevity of their stay there. This scene looks sad and chaotic, and it would be, except that the books were like that only for a minute. As soon as this picture was taken, all the eager readers came in and pulled the books from the shelves, willy nilly, and brought them out with them to read elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

From a photographer's viewpoint, I would say that the books are turned around so that they create a monochromatic background. If the spines were out, they would be overly busy visually.

TLB said...

I think they also do it so you can't read the spines, so that Pottery Barn would be unknowingly endorsing certain authors.

Personally, I don't see what would be wrong with that.

blackbird said...

I'm shooting myself in the foot, I realize -
but I HAVE DONE THAT with my books.
Tall stacks on my mantle. Pages out.
I was in book production in my previous life and love the colors of the papers.

Gina said...

Okay, I'll buy the idea of loving the colors of the papers. Seeing those stacks and stacks like that, all without being able to tell that they are . . . it breaks my heart. And gives me a tic.

hungry in LA said...

I stayed in one of those overtly chic hotels in downtown Boston a few years ago and they had books in the lobby all bound in white. You had to pick each one off the shelf to see what it was. Maddening. I don't think anyone every reads them.

BabelBabe said...

I can't look at that without feeling nauseated. Isn't that weird? Maybe it's my obsessive-compulsive tendencies kicking in. But I am serious. My stomach is seriously unsettled just looking at that picture.

Maybe I need to go pop another Zoloft.

Anonymous said...

Stacks and stacks of books all around the bed - good.

Not being able to figure out which book is which - bad.

I don't think I want to look at that picture any more.

Anonymous said...

The ones on the shelves above the bed are not backwards, they're spine-up. You can still see what they are, from a certain angle. Maybe a librarian lives there, or a page. That's how we put books on the book trucks. (Anyhow this makes me feel better about the picture.)

Anonymous said...

And what's that thing on the bedside table? A Monkeyball? (Osage?)

Kathy said...

I'm a librarian, so is bb and Gina and we are all seriously bothered by this picture. I would never do that to my books. I think I'd go mad.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm a librarian too. I'm with you on this, Katya. I think seeing the books that way is disturbing. Maddening, really. In my post about their being in the same position on the shelves as they would be on a book truck, I was just trying to find a less-disturbing way of dealing with this harrowing scene. I'm not denying or minimizing the wrongness of what we're seeing, just trying to make sense of it.

Here's my inner dialogue about what's going on with those wrong-way books:
Q: Why are they like that?
A: Okay, there's got to be a logical explanation. Well, maybe they're shelved booktruck-style.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my God! I SOOO apologize. We were in the midsts of Hurricane Katrina and had to evacuate.

Our house was ruined.

Pottery Barn adopted us as part of their "Save the Katrina Homeless" program.

The only thing that made it out of our house was us -- my husband Vern, my two girls Sue Rae and Velma Kathleen, and our hound dog Elmo -- as well as the books we managed to throw into the back of our RV when we skedaddled out of Maukalakee, Mississippi.

Pottery Barn provided us with the funds to rebuild. All we had to do was agree to the photo shoot they wanted to do in the new master bedroom in our doublewide. I have never had monogram sheets before! That was a luxury only the people at Pottery Barn could have provided us with. I know, I know, it made me blind. Blind with materialistic gluttony!

As to the way the books were displayed, the folks at Pottery Barn were behind deadline for their Spring Catalog when they did the shoot, and we weren't moved all the way in yet. Their workers, other homeless Katrina victims, were ordered to toss whatever books they could find onto the fake bookshelves lickety-split. Tawnya, the art director, said she didn't want to see any titles or colors. She wanted "uniform paginality" that would accentuate the feeling of middle class banality without having to bring television sets or computers into it. The workers, who were being paid by the hour, for that day only, agreed to lower their aesthetic standards so they could feed their starving children.

Bottom line: we did what we had to do. To take care of our families.

I apologize.

Pottery Barn is a bunch of blood-sucking capitalist pigs. They took advantage of us in our situation of desperation. Now, we, the homeless victims of Katrina and its aftermath, will forever be haunted by the fact that our collection of paperback book classics is in the no man land of eternity that a Pottery Barn catalog creates.

Mea culpa! From Maukalakee, Mississippi.

Sincerely yours,
Jolene Carter Wuggins

BabelBabe said...

I continue to be seasick. (This from the woman who pores over Pottery Barn catalogs and House & Garden, not for the furniture but to see what the books in the bookcases are.) Of course it could be because I am drunk now, too.

isn't it funny, the posts that provoke the most comments?

Hey Jolene - go back to Mississippi, girl, I'll send you home with copies of Jewels of Tessa Kent and As I Lay Dying. Damn PB - what's next, Wal-mart ads, dear?

Suse said...

That picture makes me twitch.

And Gina, I tried to comment on your HP post but blogger wasn't having a bar of it and now I can't remember what I was going to say anyway. Something about do we know when the 7th book is coming out?