At home with books by Estelle Ellis & Caroline Seebohm, photographs by Christopher Simon Sykes
Originally published in June 2005, on my original 52 Books blog.
I sat down after work on Tuesday and can't say I looked up much until I had finished At home with books: how booklovers live with and care for their libraries. It's a gorgeous coffee-table book with oodles of pictures and chapters on various millionaires, aristocrats, collectors and designers and their libraries, interspersed with advice on how to care for and display books. The libraries range from small and cosy to huge and imposing, but all the owners are real bibliophiles who read their books and obviously love them. The only thing that was missing, in my opinion, were the libraries of some ordinary people. Cool coffee table book.
I was inspired by this book. My library only contains about 1200 volumes* at the moment, but I can foresee it getting a lot bigger - maybe even as big as my grandmother’s library which at its biggest contained at least 10 thousand volumes. This means that one day I will have to seriously think about getting fitted floor to ceiling bookshelves. When I do, I can definitely look to this book for ideas.
I was also inspired to make a reading nook for myself. At the moment, I either lie in bed when I read, or lounge in the living-room sofa, but what I really would love to have is a big, chunky upholstered chair and an adjustable reading stand, preferably attached to the chair.**
Rating: Big and gorgeous, perfect for the coffee table, but don’t be surprised if you guests actually start reading this fascinating book. 5 stars.
Note: I acquired my very own copy of this book a couple of years ago and I pick it up every now and then and open it at random to look at all that gorgeous book-shelf porn.
*The library has since swelled to about 2000 volumes.
** This is yet to happen, but I did buy a chunky, comfortable sofa that I read in.