Saturday, July 14, 2012

"Bookshelf," by Alex Johnson

A few days ago, I was at our university library to pick up an academic book I had requested from Link-Plus, a service that allows us to borrow books from other libraries in a consortium. While I was at the library, I checked out the “new books” display in the lobby area, as I usually do when I am in the library for any reason. I never know what I will find. This time, a square, brightly colored book picturing a curved bookshelf on its cover caught my eye. Titled “Bookshelf” (Thames & Hudson, 2012), by Alex Johnson, it beautifully features one or more unique bookshelves on each of its 269 pages. There is a brief description of each illustration, listing the designer, materials, etc., and these are interesting and useful, but the illustrations are the stars of the book. What a wealth of gorgeous, creative, artistic shelves! What a variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and colors! Some of them are both practical and beautiful; others look more artistic than realistically usable, but all of them blend art and an unspoken tribute to the power of books in people’s lives and homes. The colors, layout, and thick, coated paper all contribute to the aesthetic pleasure of perusing this book. A bonus enjoyment for those of us at USF is that the book includes a picture of the Cable Car Book Cart that was custom built by students and staff at the USF Gleeson Library two years ago. This cart is made of wood, and “was built in homage to San Francisco’s iconic cable cars.” The cart is occasionally displayed in the library lobby. Book lovers and artists alike will enjoy this book.

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