Today's breaking book news: Gwyneth Paltrow hires a personal book curator to decorate her bookshelves (article below). In addition to suggesting people replace or cover book jackets/covers with customized ones (sacrilege!), he also suggests making sure that you decide what story you want to tell with your books before choosing the ones you put on your shelves.
I get it. Books can be art (I am a bookstagrammer, after all), but in my mind the books you have, read, and keep tell the story of your relationship with those books. What you like, what books you still want to read, what books shaped you as a reader, what books you will never forget, what books you want to share with your kids, etc. So, in other words, it's way more personal than letting some dude named Thatcher Wine (not kidding!) into your house and paying him gobs of money to create an aesthetic--using real or manufactured book spines/covers--that has little to no true substance.
Maybe I'm too sensitive because books are my jam, but this seems like not only a waste of money, but a belittling of the words on the page, the stories between the covers, and the work that authors put into pouring their thoughts, hearts, knowledge, and creativity onto page after page. Books are meant to be opened, read, enjoyed, reopened, reread, shared, and relished. Or, you see a gorgeous book cover and want to see if the story inside matches the beauty on the outside. Even if it's just a to-be-read book, you need to have a relationship with the book, not just want to see its spine on a shelf on your wall.
Also, imagine how much money this cost. How much of the "labor" cost could have been pumped back into independent bookstores to prop up their businesses. Or donated to a library. Or donated to orgs that get books into kids' hands who don't have access to many books. It's like she (and, in turn, all other wealthy people who partake of this service) have disrespected the story a reader has with a book by using them as mere props for interior decorating.
Behold MY uncurated book shelves. :) These are the visible ones (the top of the ladder shelf holds my favorite books of all time), but I also have totes (and totes) in the basement...to my husband's dismay. He's still dealing with residual annoyance from when our entire closet system collapsed at 2am due to the amount of books I had on it. I wonder what a book curator would think?
Go ahead, post your own "shelfie" in the comments. Restore my faith in books as pieces of art with inner and outer beauty.