December 21, 2004

There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World

Chris Cobb's piece at Adobe Books, Canon Digital Rebel

Chris Cobb, a local San Francisco artist did something amazing to a bookshop called Adobe Books- he arranged every single one of the 20,000 books by color. {Can you see this would be my fantasy?} The project is called "There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World" and is based on a simple idea:

"Even though there is so much to be unhappy about in this world, we should try to create something amazing and beautiful and interesting despite all of the problems." Chris Cobb

Chris and a team of 16 volunteers stayed up all night (ten hours, several pizzas and 30 bottles of water later) and arranged all of the books by hand. Inside every book there is a tag saying where it belongs. If you live in the Bay Area, visit Adobe Books. And while you're there, buy a book and support this wonderful independent bookstore {and the incredible owner who allowed his entire bookstore to be re-arranged!}


Because this piece has received so much attention {literally hundreds of people have visited the book store, including entire classes from the local Waldorf School} they have agreed to extend it until January 15th, 2005.

ADOBE Bookshop
3166 16th Street
San francisco, CA 94110

McSweeneys did an interview with Chris Cobb if you'd like to read more about it.

Posted on December 21, 2004 05:26 PM

I marched right down there Christmas Eve to check it out. So beautiful! Ironically, with everything so out of logical "order," I immediately spotted my favorite book in the world (Richard Ellmann's biography of Oscar Wilde) in the browns. How serendipitous! it would have taken me far longer to find it before Adobe's rainbow makeover.

Then my husband and I had a delicious lunch at Ti Couz on the same block and took a stroll down Valencia. It was a wonderful afternoon, and all because I saw the pictures on your site!

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Annie at January 3, 2005 03:06 PM

oh yay!!! i was hoping it would be extended!!! thank you!!

Posted by: willo at January 2, 2005 11:48 PM

oh how i miss Adobe!!! thanks so much for posting these pictures - i heard about it but wouldnt be able to get to sf to see it!!

Posted by: jenne at December 28, 2004 12:52 PM

Happy Boxing Day!

Posted by: m at December 26, 2004 11:22 AM

bookstore nirvana. amazing.

Posted by: jenlemen at December 25, 2004 06:30 PM

One of the things that I've been thinking about - a thing that I haven't been able to convey very well is that I think that you work very hard to find things in life to inspire yourself and to inspire others. Thanks so much for doing that...

Posted by: Jennifer at December 25, 2004 04:24 PM

Merry Christmas! I had heard about this project ~ thanks for posting some pictures!

Posted by: kristal at December 24, 2004 08:47 PM

Merry Christmas Jay...

Posted by: Jennifer at December 24, 2004 01:30 PM

You have to be the most pretentious person around. You are a decent person, but way too full of yourself. I hope this year you get out of YOU a little more and volunteer.

Posted by: Jay at December 24, 2004 11:18 AM

Absolutely stunning. Great to think of how so many worlds of knowledge, that never would have, are now meeting each other!

Posted by: vanessa at December 23, 2004 09:14 AM

The artist, Dave Caudill, who does sculptures working with stainless steel, gave a lecture at the University of Kentucky and said, I paraphrase, "Everyone has it in them to create. Think of what the world could look like if everyone tried to make something beautiful out of their little part of the universe!" Sounds like someone was listening!

Posted by: mary at December 23, 2004 02:29 AM

chills chills chills
color ways color days
inspiration of the most amazing sort
sorted sorting
sorting sifting thru
a rainbow of words
and time and beauty
what i find most amazing
is that this has never been
done before
innovation . elation . creation
your photos are amazing too !
much love and a peaceful bright holiday
merry merry merry

Posted by: denise at December 22, 2004 03:01 PM

I'm in love with Chris!

Posted by: ymke at December 22, 2004 10:19 AM

That is entirely one of the most beautiful things that I've ever seen.

Posted by: Jane at December 22, 2004 09:45 AM

How fantastic! I might try this with my books. My closet is already in color order. It DOES just make sense.

Posted by: Kate at December 22, 2004 07:37 AM

wow ! It reminds me of an exhibition I saw this year at the Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh I thinkit was called the colourrama or the cyclorama which was a circular space painted in the small squares of colour subtly shading through the rainbow.

Posted by: m at December 22, 2004 06:44 AM

Its amazing how such a simple idea could turn into something so enchanting. Just wonderful.

Posted by: Anu at December 22, 2004 05:03 AM

Thanks for the photos. I read about this on McSweeney's awhile back and thought it was a great idea. It didn't occur to me until I saw your photos that although I can live among incredible clutter and crap tossed out of its 'normal' place, I insist on hanging my clothes in the closet in color order. Not only that, when I'm putting laundry away, I find myself doing it in my boyfriend's closet, too. (And I'll do a quick rearranging if he's 'messed' up the order in his closet.) :) I've been doing that for years. It gives me great pleasure for some reason to see that 'rainbow' when I open the closet doors.

Posted by: Marilyn at December 22, 2004 02:52 AM

How cool is that! I like Cheryl's idea of doing that with CDs too. I might do it with my old videos, as I think the plastic boxes look ugly and this would be a way to change that.

I imagine that if I went to that bookstore I would spend HOURS just reading title after title, enjoying the 'randomness' of the categories now that they're in colour order.


Posted by: Loody at December 22, 2004 02:27 AM

for some reason...this colour sorting makes absolute PERFECT sense to me!

Posted by: Sarahj at December 22, 2004 02:23 AM

Books AND the rainbow?!!!!!! Heaven!

Posted by: espaņa at December 21, 2004 11:02 PM

wonderful!...what a delicious treat!..."God bless us, every one!"

Posted by: BETH at December 21, 2004 09:51 PM

i've just done my cd cabinet in honour of the idea... my housemate is going to be sent slightly mad...

Posted by: cheryl at December 21, 2004 09:20 PM

this makes me so unexpectedly happy...*smile* *smile* *smile*!

Posted by: fern at December 21, 2004 06:36 PM

this is so amazing. i'm fascinated by those beautiful books.

Posted by: Mariana at December 21, 2004 06:12 PM

Wow, that makes me want to open a bookstore! Beautiful. More, more pictures!

Posted by: Caroline at December 21, 2004 05:37 PM

This is sooo....awesome! I love the thought of taking something so everyday and infusing it with imagination. The idea of a bookstore all decked out as if it were a rainbow, inspires me. Thanks for sharing this wonderful creative project. :)

Posted by: Julia at December 21, 2004 05:06 PM

Oh, I'm SO glad you have pictures of this. I heard about it on NPR and wanted to go see it but didn't get a chance, and I'll be out of town until after it's over. Thank you for sharing!

P.S. On the NPR interview, people reported that rather than being frustrated when they had difficulty finding a specific book, they were instead delighted when books they normally would have never looked at, were right there! ;o) I see it as unexpected discovery.

Posted by: Kate at December 21, 2004 03:31 PM

Hi there! Would you mind if I posted a link to your site from mine? I've included my URL with this comment. This is my favorite blog. I've emailed a link to some of my close friends and they really like you too =). Thank you for all of your beautiful/inspirational/motivating posts. Happy holidays!

Posted by: Julie at December 21, 2004 01:32 PM


This made me just *shiver* with delight...

an art project which combines my two dearest loves ~ colour and booooookkksssss......

what a scrumptious exuberance of life!

it's almost *delectable* ~ a colour palette of books!

hurrah! thank you for sharing, dear Andrea!

love and laughter,

Posted by: Leonie at December 21, 2004 01:22 PM

Now, I must admit, my first thought when I saw this was 'this is beautiful and really neat, but how on earth does anybody find anything?!' Erika hit the nail on the head when she said this is a major lesson in letting go!! Good lesson to learn though, I must admit...

Posted by: Jennifer at December 21, 2004 11:47 AM

I love the pictures and this is another great reason as to why we need more independent bookstores. But to be honest as a bookaholic I cannot imagine not knowing on which shelves my books are at all times ;)

Posted by: iliana at December 21, 2004 11:13 AM

Now this would be a major lesson in letting go. I can't imagine letting someone completely rearrange my stuff for any purpose. Let alone books.

The owner must have a big heart. That would drive me nuts. (very pretty though)

Posted by: erika at December 21, 2004 11:09 AM


i went to this class once... one of the beliefs of the class was this:

there is no right, no wrong. everything just is. there is no meaning or purpose to any of it. so everything is what we make of it. what we attach to it. what we feel and believe about life, love, family, ourselves etc. inside of us is what drives the feelings we have, or the decisions we make about things. so if we really wanted to belive it, there really is no wrong in the whole wide world.


Posted by: jenn at December 21, 2004 10:25 AM

what a fantastic idea..and to execute it as well. fantastic. another great link from you.

Posted by: azuradec at December 21, 2004 10:22 AM


very cool. thanks for sharing. i loved reading the interview. i thought the red tape idea was brilliant. i just love looking at this picture. it makes sense. i thought to myself, why aren't all bookstores this way?!

thanks for sharing.


Posted by: jenn at December 21, 2004 10:15 AM

Oh my gosh! That is freaking amazing! Looking at it makes me happy.

Posted by: Carrie at December 21, 2004 10:13 AM

WOW - totally amazing. I'll have to go check it out ~ you're always finding the cool things...

Posted by: stef at December 21, 2004 10:02 AM