What do my bookshelves look like? Well, here are my brand-spanking new bookshelves where I can now store all my beloved titles. Shelf-worthy books are the ones I have read cover-to-cover and absolutely enjoyed; I don’t keep books that I didn’t love reading. Books that I’m really keen to read, but haven’t had the chance to yet, are on the bottom shelves.
I sort my books by genre, so of course, I have labels for each! A favourite Grant Featherston chair which my husband bought at a second hand store has been restored and recovered and is just the best chair for curling up and reading on.
Our bedroom is like a tree-house; up in the trees and I love having a selection of orchids and succulents which appreciate the sunny room. Layers on layers of white-toned vases, bottles, jugs and bowls create my happy place.
To minimize the impact of a big black TV screen, an artwork; ‘Dahlias’ by one of our favourite artists and dear friend, Pete Finlay; http://www.peterfinlay.com/ graces the wall.
So, what are the genres I sort my books by? Arranged in alphabetical order, so far they are architecture and design (a must!), art, Austen, biography, Chanel, children’s, classics, Dickens, fashion, food, gardens, history, Impressionists, non-fiction, Queen Victoria and her descendants, DVDs, talking books, and books yet to be read. I think next categories to consider might be Brontës, France, Hepburn (as in Audrey) and Potter (as in Beatrix). After doing a bit of research I found these fabulous, nifty labels that I can design to suit the genres for my bookshelf from Mr Minit Commercial and made a great book-friend along the way!
Looking at my collections I have my 7 favourite Dickens Books (1 more on order). I always suggest people wanting to read Dickens for the first time to start with Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol as I think they are a great introduction to Dickens’ style, characters and stories. I also have here 5 of my favourite books about Dickens’ life, times and works. The first one of these that I read was The Other Dickens; The Life of Catherine Dickens by Lillian Nayder which was a real eye-opener. Charles Dickens; A Life by Claire Tomalin was a great overall read about everything you need to know about Dickens. I have interviewed Lillian Nayder here and Claire Tomalin here. Great Expectations; the Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens was a brilliant read too. And then of course, I am the President of the NSW Dickens Society, so please go to https://dickenssydney.com/ for information about our events!
OK, for something different, I have a collection of books about Coco Chanel because she is such a fascinating woman. I first really came upon her via the design world. I had a project to design a retail outlet and I since love Modernist style of architecture and interiors, I was looking for a muse in that era. Enter Chanel! I researched her thoroughly and we have been very happy together ever since.
Yes, I love Clothbound classics designed by the fabulous Coralie Bickford-Smith. These are beautiful books designed with gorgeous graphics and the covers are actually cloth. It’s fun trying to work out what the cover design or motif represents in the book. So far I have 11 Clothbounds; Austen, Brontës and Dickens. I’m hoping that Oliver Twist might join them soon. These books are a delight to behold.
Then there are my Impressionists painters books. I have loved this art movement since early days at high school with my wonderful, engaging art teacher. I’m not sure that there are any in this movement that I don’t adore. One of the best books I’ve read about them is The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe; Manet, Monet, Pissaro, Cézanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Morisot and Cassatt – they are all there. Absolutely fascinating! And then, of course there are delicious books on Monet’s house and garden at Giverny. Bliss!
So, these are my bookshelves. Can you see any of your favourite titles on my shelves or ones you’d like to read? I love to know.