I first found this lovely, artistic representation of private libraries in A Book For All Seasons, an independent bookstore in Leavenworth, Washington. It caught my eye as a gift idea for a friend who has a knack for decorating with books. After I peeked through the book, I decided to gift myself with a copy, too.
The cover on this substantial book has a nice, almost fabric feel to it—no dust jacket needed. Photos on the first two pages, even before the title page, include a grand piano surrounded by books. (We’re off to a very nice start!) Flip to the Contents page and we realize how much of a treat we’re in for. The book is divided into five sections: The Sentimentalists, The Intuitives, The Arrangers, The Professionals, The Collectors. Book collections of thirty-two individuals are presented, and the thoughtful photography by Shade Degges shows the timelessness of stacks of books and floor-to-ceiling shelves.
However … let’s make room for a reality check here.
At times, all the “stuff” on these pages made this minimalist-who-loves-to-organize feel a little woozy.
Towering piles of oversized books that threaten to topple if you breathe on them? Work boots stashed casually on top of a paperback? Ceramic mugs of used cigarettes nestled between textbooks? (Ick. Don’t even get me started on that one.) Many of the personal libraries shown here are not how I prefer to store my own books.
But that is one reason I loved reading this book. It transported me to the unique homes of fellow book lovers all around the world.
Consider these thoughts from author and interior designer Nina Freudenberger in the Introduction:
I have always been most interested in the question of what makes a house a home. What are the elements that move a house beyond its physical structure and provide the warmth that we all crave? In my fifteen years as a designer, I’ve come to understand that the answer is simple: It is about surrounding ourselves with things we love.
While exploring books around the world for my first book, Surf Shack, I came to the conclusion that if you start with your passions, beauty will follow. And in this case, the beauty comes from the owners’ love of books.
Bibliostyle: How We Live at Home with Books is Freudenberger’s second book. (You know I’m looking for her first book, Surf Shack: Laid-Back Living by the Water, next!)
Now it’s your turn, Reader. How do you live with books? Are they lined up neatly on shelves? Do tilting books bother you? Have you run out of shelves and begun stacking books on tabletops?
And, perhaps most importantly, can you find your favorite books when you want to?
Here with you,