Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Time to Read

We are a reading family. Just look at what's piled on my nightstand.

Here's the floor next to Roger's side of the bed.

This is Caroline's nightstand.

I was thinking about this recently when I visited my friend Ann's house. Now, Ann is a lovely woman. Her house is organized, immaculate, beautifully decorated. And there are almost no books around. She was showing me something in her room recently, and I was taken aback by the neatly pressed and bright white linen lace pieces draped over each nightstand... Each table had an artful arrangement of lamp, or clock, or lovely knick-knack. They looked model-home gorgeous.....but so odd, without a book to be seen.

I had a boyfriend in law school who invited me to visit his home and meet his family in Utah. I remember that it took me a while to figure out what seemed weird and cold about the house...and then it dawned on me that there wasn't a single piece of reading material visible. No books or magazines anywhere. They did have a tv in the dining room, which was a bizarre revelation to me.

And that makes me think of my aunt, who is a wonderful funny and creative woman. But she doesn't read books. Period. She loves looking at magazines, but she just doesn't like to read. And she has horrid insomnia. I can't even imagine how long and dull an insomnia-awake night would feel if I couldn't read.

Books are warm and comforting to me, and an absolute essential in our home. We have a lot of bookshelves and we still need more.

Caroline has a shelf full of books in her room and she mightily resists my trying to weed out the younger-age picture books, because she still loves to read them.

We have shelves in our room (possibly to be converted to become built-ins with window seats someday) and they're always bulging.

And of course, I need my quilting books and law books and other books in my office.

This doesn't even show you the books arranged on the coffee table in the living room and the shelf in the downstairs hall and the area in the family room where we are planning a big set of shelves built in along one whole wall. (I'm too lazy to take the camera downstairs at the moment...)

Books are part of what make a house a home to me. We couldn't live without them around here.


  1. You are so right Diane, Books & magazines are "Comfort Food"......I have my little piles on the couch for picking up during commercials in the middle of hockey games. Large pile by my bed (it out grew the night stand) and then there is a pile on my sewing table at the end.
    Life without reading would be like a day without SUN!!!

  2. Anonymous1:28 PM

    We love to read too! I often wonder why my house looks so full and cluttered compared to everyone else's, and I usually come to the conclusion that it's because a huge, full bookcase has always dominated our livingroom. We moved books downstairs, but now they float around because the "roost" is gone...

  3. I also have to have books around me. What would I do without our local library????

  4. ''A room without books is like a body without a soul'' - Cicero

    (I recently discovered your blog and thoroughly enjoy it as well as the art quilters ring. Thanks for all you do!)

  5. I just spent an hour unpacking books and putting them away and sorting out some for Milo's pre-school rummage sale. I had a hard time parting with some, but realized I could make room for new ones.

  6. Anonymous3:29 AM

    occasionally-during the night we hear a rustle of paper somewhere in the house and my husband will say "stack settling" and we just roll over and return to sleep. I always admire the clean lines of others homes but as a bookaholic that's not in the cards for me. We just try to purge every now and then to no avail... a trip to the bookstore is around the corner...I think someday they will find me expired under a pile of fabric and books

  7. I have to confess that I only feel truly at home in someone else's house if I've spotted a couple of books on their shelves, that I know are sitting on mine. There are books everywhere, here...and my son's house is just the same...

  8. We are also big readers! Your Roger's floor beside his side of the bed looks very much like my husband's "space" as well....there's always at least one New Yorker there! I've presently got one next to my side of the bed too...as there are so many books on my nightstand that the New Yorker would just slide off and end up on the floor anyway! Why fight that battle?
    We both read for at least a half hour everynight when we go to bed...it always puzzles me that people have TVs in the bedroom...books are so much more comforting.
    A great book about books is Anne Fadiman's "Ex Libris"...I highly recommend it.

  9. I have to agree also. I have such a stack beside my bed that I sometimes step on them when I get up in the middle of the night. Ouch!
    We've raised our kids to be book lovers also. My son can't eat breakfast w/o reading the comics.

  10. Your nightstand looks like mine. I have made the same observations about houses with no books--something very unsettling about it. My next door neighbor has no books or reading materials of any kind--says they attract dust. She is a very odd woman.

  11. We joke that our decorating "style" is early 22nd century library. Every room but the bathroom has at least one bookshelf. And that is fine by me! Glad to see more book lovers around...

  12. I do find it odd that some people don't like to read, I've had people brag to me "I've never read a book!" and I have to wonder why they would want to announce it as if it's something to be proud of. We have piles of books here, I'm so glad that my daughter is like me (and my parents) in that way. I've collected boxes of books for grandchildren I don't have yet!

  13. I LOVE your decorating style, Diane!

    When people tell me they don't like to read I feel as if someone just told me they don't like food, or water, or oxygen. It simply makes no sense to me.

  14. Anonymous5:22 PM

    I agree 100%. My house is piled with books as is my studio. My bookcases are to be installed as soon as I get back from Florida.

    Re: Caroline's older books...I packed the children's books in a cedar chest wrapped in acid free tissue. To be take out for the grandchildren. Then I know I will still have them.

    teri...who can't imagine a world without books.....

  15. And not just books, but light to read by...have you ever noticed how dark some people's houses are? My mom always says "hmm, they must not read..." whenever we go to a dark, bookless house. How sad!

  16. I think we must be sister spirits!We just added a whole floor to our house, & built nice book cases, & I still have 6 big tubs of books setting in my bedroom, waiting for places to be put. Then there are several tubs in 2 storage sheds. I need the library that the Beast gave Belle in Disney's "Beauty & the Beast"!
    Love to read, love to quilt, love to blog, need to retire!

  17. Anonymous7:12 AM

    Book lovers BEWARE!!!! I too am a book-aholic. But now that we are moving across country, my beloved books are threatening to take over the moving van! I've just gotten started and I'm onto my 18th box, especially designed for packing books, small and sturdy. Sooo glad we've decided to leave most of the furniture behind! Have to have room for my entire studio, and our books!

  18. Thank you!!! I have books everywhere too! My husband and I LOVE to read. They are my weakness. I actually get concerned when I visit someone's home and they don't seem to own any books. It's always a bit unnerving to me. When I move, one of my requirements is having enough space for bookshelves!