Friday, 19 March 2010

In Praise Of Books

Have I ever mentioned how much I love books? Every corner of our home houses a pile of books. Cookery, travel, interior design, architecture, film, fashion, classic cars, antiques and collectables, homeopathy, Hinduism, aromatherapy, yoga, cats, Pilates, DIY, photography, festivals; any visitor to our house can sum up our passions by simply perusing our collection.

The kitchen cabinet houses cookery books and recipes torn from magazines.

You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend ~Paul Sweeney
We ran out of shelf space a long time ago.
Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house ~Henry Ward Beecher

We rescued this bookcase from a skip, a lick of paint and it's as good as new.
I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book ~Groucho Marx
I've always loved the 1960's kitchen sink dramas. Poor Cow, Up The Junction, A Taste of Honey, The L-Shaped Room, A Kind Of Loving romances for me, I prefer bleak landscapes, Northern grit and sad endings. Nothing beats unearthing a battered vintage paperback at a jumble sale to add to my collection.

1960's paperbacks displayed on a Victorian washstand and nestling against Buddha

 My favourite book of all time? No question of a doubt, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I don't know how many times I've re-read it, but I absolutely adore it. I was devastated when Johnny Depp bought the film rights and intends playing Lin, I always picture Russell Crowe or Daniel Craig as the burly anti-hero.

Yet more of our collection. I found the Nick Cave book at a jumble sale, it's signed by the dude himself. I have a weakness for Taschen, especially Art Deco and late Twentieth Century design.

Bedside reading, nearly all of our paperbacks are second-hand.

What's your favourite book? I'd love to know.


  1. I love books too and even though we tried to limit our books to one room, it never happened. I love old books, they have a great smell, is that weird?

    I don't really know what my all time favourite would be, I've liked too many.

    BTW - I hope you are getting my updates now.


  2. Oh, books. I am a bibliophile as well, I simply adore books (and woe betide the borrower who breaks a spine or dog-ears a page!) My favourite book changes according to my mood (as so many things), but I consistently love 'The Neverending Story' and 'Momo' by Michael Ende - both children's books with a message.

    I currently adore Louis De Bernieres' 'The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts', not solely for the title although I suspect that has a bit to do with it as well... and I have to mention '100 Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My other literary love is Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, and I couldn't possibly pick a favourite. I've been jonesing to read 'Carpe Jugulum' again since Twilight-mania hit, though...

    Could happily talk about books all night but will leave some comment space for others! xx

  3. i love books! i could read them all day long, i love steinbeck too!
    My fave genre is old American period, from the great depression and that era, nitty gritty stuff and also crime/biographies.

    One of my favourite books is Whats eating gilbert grape and of mice and men-
    :) G

  4. Signed Nick Cave in a jumble sale *weeps with jealousy*

    I got stuck in a bit of a non-fiction travel rut for a while but with the help of secondhand books and book crossing I've been diversifying. I've been keeping a 'reading list' on my blog.

    Favourite book ever - probably 'Maribou Stork Nightmares' by Irvine Welsh. Disturbing but compelling tale.

  5. I love that Nick Cave book, and how amazing it was signed!

    I read alot of trash but I love Angela Carter and The Colour Purple and kind of strangely, I loved 1984 and its bleakness!

  6. I love books. My real real passion in life.
    My favourite ever (for now) is a fairly recent (couple of years ago) read, "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. I found it very unique in it's style and utterly compelling.

  7. I find it hard to give books away, so we have stacks of them all over the house...

    Great blog...

  8. Wow - I love your collection, i'm having to read through some of mine, seem to have more books then room!

  9. Ah Vix, what a blissful post. I love looking at other people's book collections. I'm hoping to do a favourite books (impossible to narrow it down to just one) post at some point in the future so won't spoil it now but Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer is probably my overall fave. Beautifully written, funny, romantic and with two of my all time favourite literary characters in. Sheer comfort in paper form.

  10. Can see Kate Atkinson book on your bedside table all great reads that I really love!!!!x

  11. I love books, I especially like crime/pathological thrillers but I also love reading cookery books, gardening, medical encyclopedias and travel.
    We just don't have enough room to store many so have to be quite ruthless.
    Vicki xxx

  12. Yay for someone else that just has piles of books dotted around.

    I really don't have a favourite as I change my mind all the time but I do have a real soft spot for Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.


  13. I could not agree anymore about books, I think they're honestly my one single love in life!


  14. I love Taschen too, at Christmas I found the HUGE Moroccan Interiors for just £5 but just couldn't face carrying it around all day along with all the other books I'd bought for presents.
    I love sewing books and I read them over and over. Autobiographies are good too although I've never managed to enjoy a biography. I enjoy trashy chick-lit but nothing historical. I'm currently reading books on Paganism, something I should have done years ago.

  15. Next to the books on the shelves at our house, I love to see the bookshelves (and stacks) of other people! I have huge quantities of art books, decorating books, Alexandra Stoddard books, several copies of Gift from the Sea (Anne M. Lindberg), lifestyle books, and mainly non-fiction Christian books. I check out fiction books from our local library. Have you ever read And Ladies' of the Club? It's terribly long and it's been a long time since I read it, but it was a very enjoyable read for me at the time. I have too many favorites to list. So glad to meet and dialogue with another bibliophile!

  16. I love how all your books are displayed proudly throughout your home. Sadly, when we moved into our flat we had zero space for my 4 giant boxes of books so I had to donate lots of them to charity. We have one bookcase in the living room that displays my all time favourites (Pride and Prejudice, 1984, Atonement, Cloud Atlas, Shakespeare, Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Ogilvy on Advertising to name a few) and I have one boxful in the office, but the rest are gone. It makes me so sad, but when we finally move into our own house I can start building my collection again.

  17. I am SO GOING TO READ your fav book! Yes, yes I am (plus I really love Johnny Depp, so I am excited in advance because I'm sure I'll love it!). I can't think of my fav book right now. So what I am going to do is tell you next post you post!


    love all your books. reminds me of our place pre-destructo monster baby.

  18. I too am book mad,but don't have as many as you!!I have been meaning to read Shantaram for ages.I will make sure I do.You might like "Holy Cow",by an Australian woman who goes to live in India.I really enjoyed it.
    Fave book?Hmmmm.That's hard.It probably changes a lot,but I do really like "The Slow Train to Milan"by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.She's a great writer.I'll have to a book post too,and give it some serious thought!!Phew-and I want to do a shoe post too,inspired by Loulou!!
    Helga XXX

  19. I agree with Louise, old books smell great :)
    I grew up surrounded by shelves upon shelves crammed with books & as a result I find that books an essential part of my décor.
    As an untamed clutter bug I simply do not like homes that are too neat & tidy.
    Stacks of random books here & there are welcoming, comforting & inspiring.
    Recently I’ve mostly read factual literature but I do also like to keep a Penguin classics paperback in my bag at all times.
    A book that I keep returning to, for various reasons, is ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley.
    My mum sends me regular book parcels from Sweden cause she’s concerned about me loosing my mother tongue.
    I buy random books from car boot sales & charity shops for much cheapness but if I’m on the hunt for a particular title then I either scour eBay, Amazon or the many second-hand and antiquarian bookshops here in London.
    Have a lovely weekend Vix :)

  20. great blog, love your love of vintage clothing, someone who understands this ever unresolved itch i have.


  21. wowh a lot of books :)
    have a nice weekend!

  22. I love books too, unfortunately I haven't had the chance to read as much as I'd like to. But I love anything written by Chuck Palahniuk - my favorites are Lullaby and Haunted. My favorite books of all time might have to be Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Outsiders.

  23. Hi my dear!! What an impressive amount of different books, you have a very enviable collection here-much like your wardrobe, LOL!! Thanks for your lovely comment and wishing you a great weekend!!

  24. What a fantastic response to my book post and thanks for sharing your favourite reads. I can see a crazy Amazon/Green Metropolis spending spree occuring very soon.

  25. I love your bag in the first couple of photos. It's adorable. Also loving all the shots with the books in them too :D


  26. I love your bag in the post before this one. That's what I meant! So sorry about that :D

  27. My absolute fave book has got to be 'A thousand Splendid Suns'....incredibly moving!


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Love from Vix