Quality Book Cases

Here I am again dealing with the book cases issue once again. Should I slight build some, buy some, or just leave all the books and their boxes? The problem is that it is moving time again. It seems as if every time I move my host of regenerated that the new residence will offer some normalcy, some sanity, some degree of permanency.

But in reality I find within a few weeks of starting to unpack that the landlord or roommate is a total whackjob, passive aggressive, a drug addict, or a thief and I I am forced to yet again go through the unenviable process all over again. Because of this the books now usually stay in their boxes during this probationary period, and only those I have the most immediate need for get placed on makeshift bookcases constructed of bricks and boards, milk crates, or sometimes even the cardboard boxes they are already in…just flipped to their open sides so I can easily check the contents.

But finally, after twenty-nine years of living away from mom and dad’s house and after thirty-something moving episodes, I am going to finally buy a place of my own. Those poor books that have been relegated to such harsh treatment in the past will finally find a sanctuary of their own.

They will be shelved on book cases. The question is what kind. On built-ins? On prefabricated book cases? On old eclectic choices I find while antique shopping for metal or wood or those ubiquitous pressboard book cases? God willing, they may even be displayed on brand new book cases. But there’s the biggest dilemma: which style book cases to go with? The options are endless, really, considering the interior decorating styles: there’s modern contemporary, French, Mediterranean. There’s baroque and Goth, there’s traditional, and there’s mission and eclectic and shabby chic.

I usually prefer to go with the Mission style book cases: these bookcases came into being long after the first bookcases in history were designed, but they take their influence, of course, from their history and purpose, which for Mission style furniture was utilitarian at best.

Book cases were not specifically made to house books until the 17th century, when the English readers first saw a need when books were more widely collected and cherished. Because of this, in universities and libraries, and then in a few scholars and book lovers’ homes (according to the compilers of the Antique Collector’s Dictionary), in the last parts of the century, bookcases were becoming rather common. Then book case design and construction were passed on and picked up by others in other parts of the reading and academic community: Georgian breakfront (also known as wing) book cases were built, followed by the “upper stage glazed” bookcases and the Regency period dwarf (tiered) bookcases.

At the close of the 19th century, Mission style bookcases, part of the pragmatic Mission style furniture set, were readily available in homes due for the most part to the influences of the Arts and Crafts movement that was evolving, pioneered by such great creative minds as William Morris, Gustav Stickley, and Frank Lloyd Wright through the 1920’s. But we ended up with were book cases of simple, elegant lines and solid construction may be the smartest choice for my needs, regardless of if I happen to stay in one place or have to move yet again.