I have too many books. I have two stacks of books by my bed which are my “I will get to you when I get to you” reading list. But I also have at least
three four five (?) other stacks squirrelled away around my house for books I also want to read, or books given to me as gifts, or books I’ve bought for other people and decided to keep for myself (no joke, I have a problem). Plus, I have at least three giant bookcases full of my books and books I inherited from my late father.
I would actually pay someone to come into my house and help me cull my book collection and organize it and possibly help me build at least two more bookcases? What I would not do is pay someone to buy more books so that my bookshelves would look fancier. But that’s what Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities are doing. They’re hiring Thatcher Wine (that’s the guy’s real name) to be their “celebrity bibliophile” and buy books for them and help them arrange those books on their bookshelves. Town & Country interviewed him and he spilled some tea on his ridiculous job:
What he thinks about the rise of books in home décor: “My invention for the book jacket means that someone can have the complete works of Jane Austen, but in a certain Pantone chip color that matches the rest of the room or with a custom image. People have invested in how their home looks: They chose the cabinets, the carpets, the paint, and the window coverings. Why settle for books that a publisher designed? Books can have as much style as anything else in the room.
What is on Gwyneth’s bookshelf? “Gwyneth remodeled her L.A. home a few years ago and when she moved in she realized she needed about five or six hundred more books to complete the shelves. I looked at books she already owned, which focused on fashion, art, culture, photography, and architecture, as well as books that her kids liked. We expanded on those topics, and for the kids, we included a selection of classics that we thought they might like as they got older. In the family room we integrated the books into her existing collection so that it felt very light, inviting, and easy to grab off the shelves. In the dining room, we stuck to a more rigid color palette of black, white, and gray since it was less of a space where one might hang out and read.
“When she moved in she realized she needed about five or six hundred more books to complete the shelves…” This is so absurd to me, I laughed. I’ve had brutal moves before – I’m still traumatized by the move out of my college rental, honestly – and those moves are devastating because I know I won’t be able to take all of my books. I still miss some collections of poetry I left behind in a move more than a decade ago!! But to move to a new house, look around and decide that you “needed about five or six hundred more books to complete the shelves”??? HOW? How do you not bring your books with you? How do you move into a house and suddenly decide to buy five hundred books AS DECOR? And of course Gwyneth Paltrow is exactly the kind of person who pays someone to fill her house with books she hasn’t read (or even opened), books which are only there as actual decor and intellectual decor. BOOK POSEUR.
Photos courtesy of WENN.