I have a friend who has become obsessed with the contents of the bookcases behind Coronavirus experts interviewed from their homes on TV. OK, I lied. It’s me. Ob-sessed.

    While I’m appreciative of a piece of hand-thrown pottery and a tasteful smattering of awards and plaques, it’s the books that I’m really interested in.

Here’s the good news: So far no one has embraced that horrible decorating trend where you put the book’s spine to the back of the shelf with the plain pages facing out, not the titles. This trend is so things will look more uniform apparently. But how do you retrieve a beloved read to share with someone? (“Oh you have to read it! Let me just remove these 800 books. It’s in here somewhere…”)

Have you seen this and been similarly outraged, or do you still actually have a life?

    I’m not able to heed the advice of mental health “professionals” who say it’s important to turn off the news so you don’t get overwhelmed. Too late. While I’m grateful for the updates on curve-flattening, I’m really just in it for the bookshelves. I love how every pundit, every doctor, every nurse, every union rep, everybody interviewed seems to have such a magnificent library! Is it the case that as soon as you find out you’re going to be interviewed on national TV, you start rounding up every book you can find and stack them artfully behind you?

    If so, why isn’t there a dog in the bunch? It’s always biographies of Winston Churchill interspersed with some Stephen Hawking and maybe an edgy J.D. Salinger or Kurt Vonnegut.

    Just once I’d like to see someone being interviewed in front of a wall of bodice-rippers, the “Twilight” series and maybe a Fifty Shades of Gray movie poster.

    Reporter: “Joining us today is the head of epidemiology at…I’m sorry. Is that “Breaking Dawn” over your left shoulder?”

“Yep. Got it at a yard sale for a quarter.”

    This week, a few of the interviews moved inexplicably into kitchens! For example, a renowned economist shared brilliant insights (I guess) on the benefits of a fourth stimulus package but I was too distracted by the gorgeous Carrera marble island he was perched in front of. I just wished he’d move so I could see if that pot filler was oiled bronze or antique black.

    Years ago, Good Morning America came calling and asked if they could interview me in my natural habitat.

    I thought they meant the third booth on the left at my neighborhood Taco Bell but, turns out, they meant my home. We did the interview in my dining room because it’s not like we ever eat in there and it was fairly clean. Only after the segment aired (that’s fancy TV talk; try to hang) did I realize a laundry basket in the background was topped with a shirt that read: “Olympic Beer Drinking Team.”

    Something tells me Dr. Fauci would never let something like that happen.


Celia Rivenbark is brushing up on her Mandarin…chicken take-out that is.