Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What The Heck

A video HERE made the rounds around Christmas. It showed a little boy unwrapping his Christmas gifts, which turned out to be a gift of books. The little kid had a meltdown screaming, "What the heck is that?" Apparently the tyke did not think books were a good Christmas gift.

Ever since I can remember I have asked for books as a gift on my birthday, or for Christmas, or Valentines Day, or a hostess gift, or just because I love books. I was an early and avid reader, escaping into my own world with a book in my hands from the daily commotion of living with a large family (I am the eldest of seven).

Reading also gave me an edge at school, and it opened my mind to the world.

Not much has changed in 56 years or so of reading. Books thrill me, keep me company, inform me, inspire me, entertain me, and are well, just me.

I have gotten some great books over the past year, and I share some of my faves in hopes that you will get to read them too.

Trica Guild "Colors, Patterns, and Space"

I cannot have too many oversize books on art, photography, and design. It seems like there are more than ever to choose from.

Caroline gave me the new Tricia Guild book, "Colors, Patterns, and Space", a book right up my color filled alley. It is chock filled with one extraordinary color combination after another, and the design style is uber high end shabby chic. I had a brief fever over the wallpaper shown in this book, quite ready to ask Jan in the UK to send me a few rolls.

The chaise in the guest room is a great place to read "The Fixer Upper"
Where do you like to read?

Many bloggers are fortunate enough to be sent books to read and review, sent by publicists who are savvy enough to recognize the ability of bloggers to get the word out about their author. One such book I got this past year is by Mary Kay Andrews called " The Fixer Upper".

It looked like chick-lit for decor lovers, with a dash of romance novel thrown in. I didn't have high hopes, but I did promise to read it. Well, I loved it! "The Fixer Upper" is a quick and entertaining read, and the interior design project the heroine tackles rings true. I think many of you will love it too.

Jack gave me "New York Private Parties Private Views", a perfect choice since I spent 15 years running my event design business in New York. There is a certain decorating and entertaining style in New York among the moneyed class that is intriguing and inspiring.

"New York Private Parties Private Views"

My sister-in-law Dina Kucera wrote the book, "Everything I Never Wanted To Be", that is getting quite a bit of critical praise. I'm hoping a movie deal is on the way. This is a book on a serious subject, told with humor and candor. The incidents in this book can happen to anyone's family, and reading this story can ease the stigma and shame. I am incredibly proud of Dina.

My morning read: "Everything I Never Wanted To Be"
When do you catch a read?

Alberto gave me "Designs on Film". I worked at The Museum of Modern Art (New York) in the Film Department for a few years of my youth. I went to film school, and most important I love movies, especially classic old ones.

When I first started this blog I wanted to do several posts on how the set decor in films has influenced decor in real life. It was very hard to find film stills (photographs) of sets, and I was not into pulling images off DVDs and videos. A couple of other bloggers venture into this territory, and do a terrific job of it, Linda from Surroundings, and Julia from Hooked on Houses.

"Designs on Film" is an exciting volume because art direction and set design as a serious subject matter has somehow been overlooked by film scholars. It is has many many wonderful photographs, and the author's connection to The Art Director's Guild is important. The text is fascinating, and back stories are as interesting as you knew they would be.

The subject matter is so vast and subjective, so of course there are things I would have liked to see more of, like the genre of of films that used Mid Century modern set design. I would love to see side by side examples and case histories of interior design work reflecting what is seen in movies and vice versa.

Nancy Meyers could produce a whole furniture line based on the set decor in her films and have a top seller. I think her sets have been reproduced in real life more than any other in film history.

Author Caty Whitlock does a fantastic job of expanding on her columns for Traditional Home magazine, which led to the publication of this wonderful and impressive book.

"Designs On Film"

Also in the stack of books I go through regularly are some favorites: One recent arrival is Vicki Archer's outstanding "French Essence" (for a really comprehensive look go to Joni at Cote de Texas). Vicki is a blog friend so her book is loved by me even more.

Also in the stack is Carla Coulson's latest book "Paris Tango". She is another blog friend, and this fabulous book is treasured. You can see more HERE

"Stealing Magnolias" by Debra Shriver had a juggernaut of a PR blitz by bloggers. More free copies of this book were generously sent out than any other book I can think of, and it paid off because the blog buzz on it was impressive. "Stealing Magnolias" is the best book of this type ever written about New Orleans and I was very proud to be part of the blog blitz HERE

"Details" by Lili Dialo is a book I want to love. Lili is a fellow stylist and her most famous work was featured in Domino. No one appreciates attention to detail more than I do (or you do). Styling is something I do everyday, personally and professionally. Anyone who gets a book deal is to be applauded. Lili has talent and chops, and a great career. All of this being said, I have to be honest in saying this book did not wow me. Lili writes like a college girl wearing her education on her sleeve, and somehow this is not charming, and oddly uninformative. The book is kind of like the fantasy volume every blogger would like to publish of the work on their blog. If you loved Domino, you will love this stylish book.

Visual Vamp stacks the books

So what the heck!!!! Books! Tell us what you're reading, and where you read, and when you make time for it. You know we want to know...

Visual Vamp: Saarinen side table stacked with books


Gerry said...

Oh I'm so with you on books! I love to read and always have. I was thrilled to receive a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas and I stocked up on books for this cold winter we're are having. Nothing like snuggling up with a good book, a blanket and a cup of hot cappuccino to while away a Sunday afternoon. I have my share of stacks of decorating books that I go back to time and time again. I love looking at the rooms. Some things never go out of style. Also, my two little granddaughters love books and I hope they grow up to be avid readers too.

pve design said...

Reading "Miracle Chase"

friendandfaux said...

Books are life itself! My mini stack at the moment.....Lars Bolanders' Scandinavian Design, The Quilts of Provence by Berenson, a group of Canal House Cookbooks that a dear friend just introduced me to (where have I been?)
And because of the gift of a Kindle from my sister-in-law.....I am reading War & Peace again...... 48 years after the first time. It is soooo much lighter but even
more spectacular than the first read

Karena said...

I have loved loved books since I was about 8 and my cousin gave me all of her Nancy Drew Mystery books!

It is a sad new electronic world though, and now kids want all of that stuff!!

Valorie, come and enter my new giveaway....

Art by Karena

Renae Moore said...

You have some good ones in your collection! The New York Parties Private Views looks VERY interesting!
Miss ya Girlie!

Mandy said...

Love this post! I have nearly all of Tricia Guild's books stacked up high on a table similar to yours. There is nothing more inspiring!


halpern129 said...

Great blog!

Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

I want the Tricia Guild book if for nothing else, but for the black and white binding. Im sure the content is just as

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

Rebecca R. Dyer said...

I hope your readers are supporting David Baldacci's efforts on behalf of the staggering number of illiterate people in this country.

Reading and travel provide the best education -- and if you can't afford to travel, a book can take you where ever you want to go!

Books on my table:
Carolyne Roehm's "A Passion for Interiors"
Joan deJean's "The Age of Comfort" and "The Essence of Style"
Kathie Truitt's "False Victim"
"The Piedmont Virginian" (Magazine)
and a zillion genealogy books

I, too, have been asking for books since before I could read! Thank you for addressing this important topic.

All the best for a happy and healthy 2011!
Rebecca R. Dyer

Sketch42 said...

So I love books and I always have, I've collected them ever since I was a kid.

BUT I once got a thesaurus and dictionary as a chanuka gift. My parents were not big on gift giving- more like the "that bike we bought you last summer ? Thats your chanuka gift." And when I unwrapped a freakin dictionary and thesaurus I cried. It wasnt even a nice set. Paperback crap.

It sucked.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Books are my friends. I received quite a few books that I asked for at Christmas.

Funny story. I am trying to raise a family of readers. So far I have been very successful with my daughter. When she was in the 4th grade the best form of punishment I could dish out would be "You'd better shape up or you will go to bed without reading!" To which she would reply in her horror, "No Mom! Anything but that!"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the love:) I hope you and Alberto are great. My New Years 'commitment' is to read as many of the classics as I can. The Bell Jar, Catch 22, The Cather In The Rye, Pride and Prejudice (sp)... I missed that part of life when people read these books so I'm behind! I have started Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I will be brilliant in no time! Dina

a Broad said...

Living in a country where English language books are like Gold ! I was thrilled to get a huge design book for Christmas !
That video was so obnoxious .. it was not funny, the parents have no idea how much contempt many people had for them and their spoiled rotten little kid.

Rachel said...

Nothing is better than pouring over the pages of a good design book!! I loved Jan Showers' and Suzanne Kasler's this past year. But, I didn't really read as much as I would like. I love to read in bed, before I go to sleep, with the doggies all settled in around me. However, my husband doesn't like the light....but I do want to make more time to read this year.

I'm not sure if your co-workers at Perch ever told you I stopped by back around Halloween, but I was in town and wanted to say hi! I'm sorry I missed you, but the store is fab. We LOVED that iron tree/bed, and the brown laquered room. :-)

my favorite and my best said...

i would die without books. no really.