A preemptive bookshelf eulogy

Woe to the world, reader types--the bookshelf is dead! Well, not actually, but it's coming. Ok, not really soon, but eventually. Russell Smith writes:
People come to see my minuscule new living room and say, hmm, you could have another foot and a half without that wall of bookshelves. True, but then you would never be able to distract yourself, while waiting for me to dress, by pulling down, at random, Weapons of World War II and 100 Erotic Drawings.

But you’d probably have brought your own e-reader with you, which you’d be looking at anyway (checking Facebook, updating: “I am so mad right now”). Book-walls are just aesthetic now, just an unusually dense wallpaper: We don’t really need them for consultation....And all our books will be invisible, like our music: The sum total of our literary experience will be a list of file names on a grey plastic machine in a briefcase.
After careful consideration, I think Smith is overreacting a little here. There will always been a need for secret bookcase passages, and a place to store trophies.


  1. And don't forget that a gutted unabridged something or other is a great place to stash your secret plans to take over the world.

  2. but if the bookshelf is dead... where will I stash my candy?!?

  3. JLJ--the fake book! I can't believe I forgot that one! Which is, coincidentally, where Jamie hides her candy.

  4. We own a house built in 1926. The walls of several rooms are lined with bookshelves, and those rooms are without a doubt warmer than the rooms without bookshelves. Books aren't just pretty and snooty; they make excellent insulation! And, you know, we do have secret passages to the subterranean laboratory. Don't tell anyone.

  5. I have three fake books... I have a lot of candy :)