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Leslie Geddes-Brown, Books do furnish a room

January 21, 2010
Book stacks

Book stack - part of the TBR pile

There was no resisting this book – Books do furnish a room – when I saw it on a table in the National Library of Australia’s bookshop. It’s rare for me to buy a coffee-table book but … this is one gorgeous book. It is lavishly illustrated with images of books in pretty well every room or area of a house from bathroom to bedroom, from stairwell to kitchen. It’s enough to make a booklover drool.

But, what really sold it to me was that, amazingly, it even has an example that justifies my practice shown right: “Surprisingly” says Geddes-Brown, “it is found in a home belonging to a former editor of South African House & Garden … his excuse is that he had no bookshelves and just piled books against his bedroom wall”. Love it! He can visit my house any time.

In her introduction Geddes-Brown, former Deputy Editor of World of Interiors and Country Life magazines, writes:

So books do furnish a room – but not always very well. This book, with images from stylish houses, taken by world-famous photographers, intends to show how it can be done.

Hmm…I do find the text a little simplistic but, what the heck, after all it is really an adult’s picture book. And, it does contain the odd bit of practical advice – particularly for those who have not thought a lot about such things – such as about shelf size, location, and lighting. The book is divided into four sections – Living with books; Working with books; Designing for books; and Making the most of books – with each section having a short introduction followed by lots of well-captioned images to lust after.

And that’s about all I’m going to say, because this is a book to look at not talk about. I will just leave you with this:

… in their way, books are like pictures on the wall; they reveal whether you are a minimalist with all covers hidden under plain wrappers, a maximalist whose every room has a generously filled bookcase, or an anarchist whose preferred method of storage is an untidy heap.

Which one are you?

Leslie Geddes-Brown
Books do furnish a room
London: Merrell Publishers, 2009
158pp.
ISBN: 9781858944913

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 3:37 am

    This is quite a crazy coincidence – a friend and I were just discussing running out of room for books and possible options that must come before culling said books. We each put forward similar ideas: I suggested building my bed out of books, and she says she often has books stacked on her bed and that she sleeps in between them, fortress-style.

    Is there anything akin to that in your new book?

  2. January 22, 2010 8:30 am

    I’m afraid not … there are some lovely bedrooms but none so lovely as you describe. Clearly the designers need to expand their imaginations a little.

  3. January 22, 2010 2:30 pm

    Well, books furnish just about every room in our house and I truly do not have any more room for new books, though I do sneak the odd one home, so I envy you having a TBR pile. I am revealing a selection of my book collection on my blog Eye Candy for Bibliophiles if you haven’t visited it.

    I’ve realised whilst scanning books for the blog, that I purchased a great many books in the 1970s.

    • January 22, 2010 3:17 pm

      Yes, I have indeed looked a couple of times at your gorgeous Eye Candy blog … so you are scanning all those? Good for you! When we bought our current house 12 years ago one of the deciding factors was plenty of wall space for bookcases. We saw a lot of modern open plan houses – but they are no b****y good for bibliophiles! Like you we have books throughout the house: my women authors in our bedroom; male authors in the guest room; Jane Austen, poetry, drama and art books in the entrance hall; reference books, cookbooks etc in the family room; and so on….

  4. adevotedreader permalink
    January 22, 2010 5:00 pm

    I’ve been coveting this book for ages, I think you’ve tipped me over into buying it. As for bookish decor, I’m a maximalist all the way!

    • January 22, 2010 5:30 pm

      Moi aussi … I nearly posted a photo of the bookcase in our bedroom but decided that was baring my sould too much, and that anyhow it would probably give the poor old minimalists a heart attack! It is an irresistible book – $70 is a lot but I did get a 15% discount for being an NLA friend so that eased the pain a little!

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