“I love walking into a bookstore. It’s like all my friends are sitting on shelves, waving their pages at me.” Tahereh Mafi
A wall of books. Right in front of me.
Shelves of books everywhere, of course, but this was truly a wall of books.
I stopped at Sandman Book Co. yesterday, a place I haven’t been to for quite awhile. What a pleasant surprise. The used book store had expanded its space, quadrupling its size and was unrecognizable from my previous visit.
Out came the camera.
How unique. How artistic. How did they do that?
There was a gentleman standing in my view finder and I asked him if he wanted to be in the picture. He said, “No”, and moved back a few steps.
He marveled at the structure, took out his smart phone and took some pictures, then said,
“It saddens me to see all these books used this way. No one can read them.”
When I studied the construction, I noticed no covers or book spines visible, nothing to indicate who is next to whom. But the arch way was so inviting, an old world charm, beckoning me to walk through into a world of fiction, memoir, travel books and beyond.
Looking at the arched construction, I began playing with metaphors:
~Walking through the arch is like entering a world of other’s minds.
~Books are the foundation of knowledge.
~Open a book and you open the mind. A closed book is a closed mind.
~ The unfinished arch represented for me all the books still left unread.
I walked around the categorized sections, fingering books and admiring how bright and open the space is, yet it felt intimate.
When it was time to leave I noticed the sign.
Meet Kitty-Wan Kenobi.
The next day, I looked at my photos and then called the book store. The owner, Heidi graciously answered my questions.
4,000 books were used to assemble the “bridge of knowledge”. Her husband Scott, co-owner, built it himself, taking a month to complete. Plywood, 2X4’s, staples, adhesives and 25,000 nails hold it together. His inspiration came from a temporary art sculpture he had admired.
This is South Florida’s largest independent bookshop and they obviously deal with thousands of books. The books used for the project are damaged, have pages or covers missing and basically unsellable. Heidi says she likes to think of these as recycled books and part of a “rescue effort” to be used in this final way.
I have included a direct link to their face book page showing how the wall of books was constructed. Take a peek.
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ~ Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life