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The shelf conscious

Updated on: 27 August,2019 09:06 AM IST  | 
Dalreen Ramos |

Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow's decision to hire a curator and buy books as home decor has sent Twitter into a tizzy. Five Mumbai bibliophiles deliberate on curation. Plus, hacks on how to best arrange your shelf

The shelf conscious

Gwyneth Paltrow

There's a lot that comes to mind when actor Gwyneth Paltrow's name trends on social media: her holiday wish-list featuring 18K gold dumbells worth $1,25,000, a smoothie recipe that will rip you of $200 and more recently, her decision to hire Juniper Book's Thatcher Wine as a book curator for her LA home. Paltrow paid the Wine to add about 600 books to her house. That drew a range of reactions ranging from "rich people problems" to "I didn't know this was a job". Here's what city bibliophiles have to say.

Paltrow shelfPaltrow's shelf curated by Thatcher Wine. Pic courtesy/Juniper Books

A new profession

Tejasvi Khatry

For 24-year-old bookstagrammer and teacher Tejasvi Khatry, Paltrow's decision opens up more avenues for book lovers. With a collection of around 1,500 books himself, he states that it's something he could do for money. "Book reviews don't give you a lot of money — unless you have over one lakh followers, you earn between Rs 30 and Rs 600 for a single post. Plus, I like the idea of finding a reflection of myself in a celebrity's bookshelf."

Tejasvi Khatry
Khatry's bookstagram feed. Pic /Khatapadhtalaunda

Bookie hacks: Look up bookstagrammers like James Trevino, who constantly rearranges his bookshelf, for inspiration. If you're strapped for space, stack them according to height.

No high expectations


"At the end of the day though, she got a curator. That means those books have some value," says Nia Carnelio who creates content for Penguin Randomhouse UK. "She named her kids Moses and Apple. Do we have any expectations? Anyway, her shelves look bare and awkwardly done. They look minimalist and pretty, but cold, like you're not allowed to touch the books," she adds.

Bookie hacks: Place favourites in the centre. Follow it up with prettier, second-favourite books all around. The ugly, not to good ones get relegated to being double-stacked behind.

No fashion statement

Kinjal Parekh

Blogger and booktuber Kinjal Parekh, 21, states that curating your home library is supposed to be a personal thing. "Getting aesthetic interior decor is one thing but using books for that is pathetic. The author wrote the book for people to read and not anything else," she says.

Bookie hacks: Don't hoard books. More than the cover [how it looks], diversity is important. Pick titles from around the world.

A grave injustice

Siddhi palande

Bookstagrammer Siddhi Palande cautions that IG has also led to a surge in pretend readers. "I can only do justice to a book by reading it. Those that I do not read, I give away," the 28-year-old says, adding that hiring a book curator could help those who walk into a bookstore, don't know what to read and are looking to build a home library.

Book Shelf

Bookie hacks: If you have less than 30 books, buy a book cart instead of a shelf — it's also economical. Buy a jar, fill it with chits jotted with the names of titles to be read, and pick out one every time you're looking to read something.

Her money's worth

Vidhya Thakkar

Book blogger Vidhya Thakkar has over 2,000 books in her Kandivali home, stored on three bookshelves. Her views lie in tandem with Paltrow's. "It's good to have books for aesthetic purposes like #bookstagram that features accounts dedicated to books on Instagram. And it's her money, so how she wants her books curated is up to her. So many people just pick up the book for the cover and the title," Thakkar, 24, says.

Book ShelfThakkar has polaroids hung by her bookshelf

Bookie hacks: Classify your books according to what you've read and haven't. Add props to your shelf like stickers with quotes or a series of polaroids. Make it a habit to clean it once a month.

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