This was a bookshelf

The latest Hum looks at how much a bookshelf tells you (or used to tell you) about a person. Interesting stuff, and oddly I was thinking along these lines just the other day. Music especially these days tends to be a very personal affair but back when I was growing up, having the radio on or putting a CD (or even an LP) on and having the room filled with music was a joy.

I know exactly what my dad’s taste in music and books were, because they were there on the shelves. My kids are ok with books as we still have a ton of dead-tree copies and they share my Kindle, but when it comes to music, it tends to only be communal when on in the car. Other than that I’m certainly plugged into my iPod. I wonder if the kids realise just what a wealth of music there is lurking on the hard drive attached to my computer…

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Diary date: 20th March, 1986Bookshelf

This was a bookshelf. It contained books, in which individual pieces of paper were bound together into a coherent whole. As a visitor to my house, my bookshelves told you a little about me, and what I thought was important and worthwhile. They gave you something to look at and to talk about. They helped you guess whether we were likely to get on, or had interests in common. Their arrangement gave you a sense of how I thought. Their coloured spines brought the room to life.

Today, my Kindle e-reader holds more books than all the bookshelves I’ve ever owned. But when you see it sitting on my kitchen table, it tells you nothing about me, my life, how I think, or what I might believe. It speaks only to me.

On the wall of my home, I used to keep silver discs piled…

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Author: dave

writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, bookworm and stationery geek. Doing fun things with digital.

4 thoughts on “This was a bookshelf”

  1. A really interesting pair of posts which initially made me feel a bit sad for the loss of the physical medium and the insight that gives you into a persons likes and tastes, and the way that insight helps to build relationships and spark discussions.

    But then I thought some more, and realised that although technology has removed the physical, it has also changed the way I environment in which I build those relationships and have those discussions. Goodreads.com is my new bookshelf; the #NowPlaying hashtag on twitter is my new cd rack; IMDB check-ins have replaced my DVD pile. And all of these things feed into my Facebook page, which in many ways is my new ‘front room’, into which I invite my friends to socialise, share my passions, reminisce, debate issues with me, and chat about the things that make us smile.

  2. That’s an excellent point! I’ve expanded my circle of acquaintances with who I share such things too, and find my reading and music tastes are richer for it.

  3. Just to follow on too, re: communal music – since xmas we’ve been making a conscious effort to turn the tv off and put music on at home, so we’ll often put the radio on in the kitchen when we sit down for our evening meal, or I’ll put my ipod on it’s dock and hit shuffle when I take the kids up for their bath – this does remind me though I still need to create some child-friendly playlists though: had to cut a mad dash from the bathroom to my bedroom to skip the track on when Rage Against The Machine came on the other night!

  4. I’m a dinosaur: I don’t own an iPod, I listen to the radio (and more recently my Nokia radio- streamed playlists.) The music fills the kitchen-playroom, most weekends.
    However, it is true that my children have less of an impression of my taste in music and literature than I had of my parents’.
    Some interesting points made above, through technology we are sometimes sharing more with strangers than with our friends and family. We are no longer constrained by the taste of those surrounding us, but can explore different genres and still find kindred spirits around the globe who share this taste. This change driven by technology is both good and bad! It allows more diverse music tastes to develop- fantastic!- but also gives way to more deviant behaviours to flourish – pedophiles, anorexics supporting each other, egging the other on.

    …well, that wasn’t where I was intending to take my comment, but I’ll leave it there to ponder over. It is change and what we make of it is down to us, each and every one of us.

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