The other day I was in Chapters (a place I have no business visiting considering all of the books that continue to languish unread on my shelves) and I saw the most wonderful table of titles, designed to make people fall in love with books and reading again.
I’ve mentioned this before: I think that people are starting to fall back in love with reading. I’m still not sure if it’s because of my book obsession that I’m hyperaware of book love whenever I see it, or if people are reacting to our overly digitalized lives by returning en masse to books. But it’s happening. And this latest display served to underscore it for me.
I could have spent hours at that table alone. I wish I had taken a picture of it to show you its embarrassment of book love riches. But I will do the next best thing and give you a highlights tour.
There were a couple of coffee table books about books (!!!) that initially caught my eye. The first was The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume De Laubier. Gorgeous photographs of…welll, beautiful libraries. Pretty self explanatory really. But the photographs are incredible and accompanied by the history of that particular library. For a bibliophile like me, this book….I needs to have it. The other coffee table book about books (am I the only one all over this?) was Living With Books by Alan Power, showcasing all the ways that people use books to decorate their homes. In a time when people are all over the e-reader to cut down on the “clutter” in their homes (people! Books? Are not clutter!), it’s refreshing to see a book illustrate the beauty of books in the home.
For the book nerd in your family (me), Alberto Manguel’s The History of Reading might be something you want to pick up. I’ve never personally given much thought to the history behind reading. I’ve just always taken it for granted. But of course leisurely reading the way we know it today hasn’t always been the norm. Books have only been so readily available to everyone for maybe the last 100 years. Manguel takes a look at the history of reading and examines how it has become an important part of being human.
I had a chuckle when I read through Lane Smith’s It’s A Book, a children’s book explaining how a book is different from an e-reader, iPad or other digital device. But then I was horrified that this book even existed because there are probably kids out there that don’t understand why a book doesn’t need a password. That said, this book was adorable and did a wonderful job of pointing out the difference and then leaving the kid in the book completely mesmerized by the story. Because books will beat an iPad every day.
I should mention that The Shadow of the Wind was totally on that table. Because Carlos Ruiz Zafon totally loves books.
Finally, a book that kind of combined a history of books and reading and a coffee table book approach was Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books by Leah Price. It featured beautiful photos of people’s home libraries and seemed to follow the hypothesis that you are what books you own. Which is exactly why I’m so picky about the kinds of books that I bring home. I started reading bits of the introduction and was sold on it after reading that the author was the kind of babysitter that, as soon as the parents were gone she was looking through the house to see what kinds of books they had lying around.
Seriously if I get my way, all of these books will soon be mine. With the possible exception of the Lane Price book because, since I have no children, it might be weird if I start bringing home children’s books.