The subsconscious shelf is a recurring feature in which The New Yorker readers send in pictures of their bookshelves, and Macy Halford or Sally Law give loose leafed psycho-analysis:
Is that bookshelf leaning dangerously to the left, or have you only framed the photo to make it appear so? ... You romanticize New York City out of such proportion that you send a black-and-white photograph of a room decorated with a black-and-white photograph of Paris, but not a photograph you took yourself—an art poster in a black metal frame (this is a quintessential Upper West Side decorating technique, for readers farther afield). ... Angela, I’ve no idea how you’ve done it, but you’ve managed to assemble the book stack of my nightmares.
One bookshelf (pictured above) was sent in by both partners in a couple:
It’s a gray day here in New York City, and I can’t tell you how your shelves have brightened it. First of all, I love that each of you e-mailed me this picture, without, I’m assuming, knowing that the other had. I don’t want to disappoint you, but I have very little critical to say. Normally, when I see a library arranged by color I wonder a bit about the owners: do they think that books are merely decorative? And, if so, do they not know that books look great not arranged by color? And do they not realize that any strict organizational system in a home library seems controlling? In your case, though, I don’t wonder any of those things. Your bright and cheery arrangement is perfectly suited to where you live—what in New York would feel twee seems organic in California.
I read a lot about how employees at big media companies are confused, frightened, afraid of the iPad, whatever. But I don't see that and actually have never experienced it first hand. The media industry turns itself over every few years irregardless of technology advancing or remaining stagnant. Anyway, point: "The Book Bench" is a great blog.