This weekend I was visiting my daughter in Nashville, Tennessee. Part of my time was spent shopping in the quaint downtown of Franklin which is full of antique shops and the like. At the Iron Gate, I noticed several books that had been “repurposed” into art objects. Some books had been decoupaged with old maps and other books had their covers removed and tied into bundles with string.
For the most part, I have no issue seeing books forged into other uses besides reading, except one time years ago. I had stopped for lunch at the General Morgan Inn and Conference Center in Greenville, Tennessee and the dining room had been decorated as a faux “library.” Instead of shelves being lined with books, the owners just tacked up thin boards like ornamental baseboards, to look like shelves. Moreover, they had torn the cloth spines off the books and glued them on the fake shelves to make a grand fake library. This was disturbing and it made it difficult for me for me to eat in such a room.
Both incidences remind me of the writer Richard Ford’s quote: “Many fates befall books other than being read or treasured.”