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Why do people on the internet care so much about how other people organize their books?

Emily Temple

July 17, 2020, 11:01am

Yet again, a debate about color-coordinated bookshelves has sprung up on the internet. This time, it was catalyzed by a tweet from writer and journalist Jennifer Wright, which features said bookshelf style as well as a very fun dress (which is the real star of the show in my opinion):

The comments are, as ever, bizarre. They accuse Wright of not reading, of reducing books to decoration, of being, basically, too feminine and dumb. I’ll never understand why people on the internet get so heated about how other people organize their own books in their own homes. And I say this as someone who does not at all like the look of those rainbow bookshelves. It’s not for me! But variety is the spice of life, people. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. [Insert further sayings about how it is ok to be different here.] Who actually cares about how other people decorate and/or organize their books?

Well, lots of people—and not just Twitter commenters. “Anyone who arranges their books by color doesn’t truly care what’s in the books,” Hanya Yanagihara once told The Guardian, but considering the fact that Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon have been known to color-code, that position seems fairly indefensible.

Dana Schwartz probably has it right, tweeting “I have a hunch it has to do with Jen being a really gorgeous and glam person and a lot of people being incredibly misogynistic?” Or maybe it’s just misplaced snobbery by the bored masses.

Consider my sigh eternal.

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