Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bookie, bookie, book, book, book

Side tables need only be big enough to hold a beverage, and a stack of books.
I love books.  I can't remember life before The Cat in the Hat, and I can't imagine life without books in every room.  I learned to read long before I ever started school, thanks to older brothers who told me I couldn't, and thus inspired me to prove them wrong, and I read something almost every day, still.  I do listen to audio books, when I'm working alone on long tedious projects, but I'm not too excited about Nook or Kindle, and the like.

Childhood favorites:  Anything Dr. Seuss (I liked the hats in Go Dog, Go! better), the Old Mother Westwind series by Thornton W. Burgess were from my mother's childhood, The Boxcar Children appealed to both my sense of adventure and my hunt-and-gather instincts, Alice and Heidi were miles apart, but dear to my heart, and the little pink one, So Many Kinds of Love, was a gift from my father upon returning home from either a business trip or fighting forest fires, when I was very young.  I also loved Nancy Drew, View From the Cherry Tree, Secret of Gone-Away Lake, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and anything by Judy Blume.  C.S. Lewis and Tolkein bridge the generations.  Newer favorites:  King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, and The Napping House, both for their great story lines, and gorgeous illustrations, Matilda and others by Roald Dahl, and of course the Harry Potter series.

It's not that I'm anti-technology, I spend enough time on this computer to prove that.  It's just that books are an experience far greater than their words.  First, I love paper as much as I love books.  When I remember a favorite book, I don't just remember the story.  I remember the color and texture of the paper, the crispness or floppiness of the pages, the pattern and colors of the end papers, the nicks in its well-worn cover.  Then, I remember where I sat the first time I read it...which blanket was wrapped around me, against the chill of my bedroom on a winter night, or what tree branch I sat on or under, the sun hot on my arms, where it peeked through the leaves.

I absolutely adore Agatha Christie and Rosamunde Pilcher for many reasons, including their ability to transport you to a completely different time and place with their delicious attention to detail, and though I don't love all Maeve Binchy, Quentin's is an enjoyable read.
 I love the tactile experience of a book, whether bound in old cracked leather, or a glossy, embossed paperback cover.  I love the smell of the pulp and the ink, the soft scratch and rustle of turning pages.  I love the way books look on shelves, stacked on tables, or strewn across the bed on a pajama day.  I love running my fingers across the spines of favorites, and seeing what catches my heart for a quick bit of inspiration each morning before I jump into the fray.  

Emir's Education in the Proper Use of Magical Powers is for children of all ages.  Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is poetic and profound.  Marianne Williamson's Illuminated Prayers is beautiful in text and ornamentation, and You Are Your Own Experience by Tom Johnson may be long out of print, but is worth looking for.

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is one I often recommend.  Barbara Sher wrote the popular Wishcraft, but when friends are confounded about choosing a new direction, I recommend this one:  I Could Do Anything, If Only I Knew What It Was.  Not pictured, but oft recommended as well is The Damned Good Resume Guide, which will help you write absolutely irresistible marketing pieces to land yourself in the perfect job.

Sarah Ban Breathnach's books can be read in little nibbles and contemplated throughout the day.  Wayne Dyer gives a deeper dose of daily inspiration.  I especially like The Power of Intention.  I mostly use Animal Speak as a reference for the archetypal meanings of animals that show up in dreams and meditations.

I read fiction and non-fiction, deep thinky stuff, and marshmallow fluff.  Mostly I check my books out by the armful from the library, but I will invest in new books if I know I'll read them more than once.  Otherwise, I snag 'em at yard sales and book sales for under a buck.  I love having a stash of not-too-precious ones in the guest room that visitors can take with them to finish on the plane or train home, and then pass along to someone else.

Not pictured on this guestroom shelf:  The Mermaid Chair, Bad Girl Creek, and Prayers for Sale, among many others.  I also like the China Bales series of mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert, and love the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.  Louise Penny writes a very good series with really well formed characters and smooth writing that doesn't seem like a series.  Between, Georgia, by Joshilyn Jackson and Plainsong by Kent Haruf are both beautifully written.

I love that you can learn almost anything from a book.  I haven't the patience to sit through slow-paced classes (if my brain isn't running on at least three tracks at once, it needs to be seriously challenged on just one, or I fall asleep), so I mostly learn at my own pace, through books.  It's a patchy, eclectic education, but it's basically free, and always exactly what I need to know at the moment, so it works for me.

A friend of mine distributed copies of Joseph Murphy's classic, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, as part of a "tithal wave", Eric Butterworth's In the Flow of Life is one I return to often, and The Game of Life, and How to Play it, by Florence Scovel Shinn, is an oldie-but-goodie on what is now referred to as the Law of Attraction.

I have dozens of reference books for work, but these by British muralist Graham Rust are my favorites.

I love these books as much for their design as for their content:  Tracy Porter's Dreams From Home, Ki Nassauer and Sue Whitney, aka the Junk Market Gals', Junk Beautiful, and A Bit of Velvet, A Dash of Lace, by Robin Brown.  These richly designed books are full of inspiring photos and text.

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest is my go-to book for vegetarian basics, and Susan Branch covers all the bases in her seasonal cookbooks.  Both are hand lettered and charmingly illustrated.
Even if you aren't a writer, you can still create your own books.  I keep several journals.  One holds favorite quotes, one is for gifts and gratitudes, one records the small moments in a day that caught my heart, several hold snips and clippings of inspiration from magazines, and one little notebook is reserved for recording all the books I check out from the library.  In it I keep track of authors I like (and those I can't stand, so I don't find myself curled up with a real dud that I could have avoided), books I've heard of that I want to find, and even narrators for audio books, as there are a few I absolutely love, and a few that make my ears curl.

Journals are great for keeping all those great quotes in one place, keeping track of books you've read, recording your gratitudes, and of course, those succulent bits of daily life.
And among all these books, what of the book I'm writing?  It's coming along.  The problem with writing a decorating book, is that one must finish the decorating, in order to finish the writing.  Fortunately, I have a deadline that scares me more than any publisher:  An impending home tour, and not just any home tour.  You know how the library is right across the street?  Well, it just so happens that in researching its history for a 100th year celebration, the librarian discovered that the library actually started right here in my house, so I've been asked to open my doors to the town for a day, next August.  Though my book will be just off to the publisher for editing at that point, the librarian loves the bonus of having an author living in the first home of the library.  Some deadlines can be pushed, but the tour isn't one of them, so I best get crackin'!

Watch for this one on bookstore shelves in about 16 months.  Watch this blog for progress on Belle Ami, and her book, which is all about making the home you have the home of your dreams.
I hope you carve out time to curl up often with a good book (or a good trashy one!), and by the way, if you want a gift for a very young friend, the first shipment of Cathy Isles new picture book, Faces who are we?, has just arrived in Minnesota.  I got to read a sneak preview of this to a small group back at Christmas time, before it was even a bound book, and the kids totally got into the interactive questions.  I'm not sure what stores will carry them, but contact Cat through her greeting card company, at bridgingtheuniverse.com, for more information (Play the video!!!).

So, I leave you tonight with the final lines from a childhood favorite..."These are the friends that I once knew, I hope someday you'll meet them too." 

I love books, don't you?

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