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by Alex Johnson

Thames & Hudson

In shops now

I have recently gone into a co-habitation phase.  I live in a great house with plenty of space but very little light (it’s not unlike a treehouse), so every available wall surface has been, or is about to be, a window or sliding glass door.  Which is great for natural light though not as great for the hundreds of books I have collected over the years.

Now I have edited my collection, of course, but a man’s library is a very personal and particular thing, and there are plenty of “non-book people” out there in the world who just don’t get it.  Thankfully, freelance journalist Alex Johnson most certainly does.  In 2007 he began his Bookshelf blog, which highlights some of the most unique bookshelves you will ever see.  And for those of us who want to thumb through these images on paper rather than click through them on the internet (guilty), his new book showcases some of the most interesting library solutions you are likely to find.

In the pages of “Bookshelf” you will find over 300 different shelves and storage spaces which are incredibly creative, space efficient and, it seems, one-of-a-kind creations that you cannot just “add to cart.”  There is a play on the ladder shelves which have become quite the thing in American retail shops by Belgian artist Michaël Bihain.  Or there’s a collection of lines and shapes by Israeli designer Yedidia Blonder that give books just enough space and support to float on the wall.  Or there’s even a design that is, in fact, post boxes mounted to a wall with glass doors and keys so you can store your books in small lockers.  And then there are shelving units inherent to the design of reading chairs.  Lots and lots of those.

Really the book operates on several levels: it is an exhibit of fine art created for and by book lovers, it is an amalgam of ideas and inspiration for your own home or office, and it is (potentially, if you can organize it), a catalogue of products that aren’t easy to acquire, but the right amount of dosh and buttering up may find some of these very designs in your own home.