Monday 5 November 2012


I love books. I worked out that I get through around 50 pages per day just on my daily commute. That's a good couple of decent sized novels a month (not counting the various books that I have on the go by my bedside and lurking in the sitting room!)
I read books all year round but Autumn and Winter always feel particularly bookish to me. And while I tend to buy battered old paper backs to brave the rails with me I can't resist lining our shelves with leather-bound gilded confections. These lovely books, their covers slightly worn by the many hands that they have passed through are made to be leafed through on an autumnal or midwinters eve while ensconced in a cosy chair by the fire.

They hark back to a time when books where still objects of value, and were made to be things of beauty like this gorgeous Victorian book with its kaleidoscope marbled covers and page edges.
I can see the advantages of the Kindle (especially as I am currently hauling a rather large hard-backed novel to and fro to central London - my biceps are certainly getting a work out!) but reading a book is such a sensory experience. The feel of the cover whether it be leather, cloth or card; the smell of fresh ink and newly cut paper from a book just off the press or the musty, waxy smell of old second-hand or library books. Compared to this the Kindle offers a rather sterile experience.

I love the pretty gilding on the spines of books, they just beg to be pulled down from the bookshelf for closer inspection. And some of the engravings in the books are lovely, like this Mr Darcy-esque figure taming some unruly briars with a bill-hook! He would be welcome in my garden any day!


  1. Very much in agreement with you on this one! I just love books and handling them, nothing beats it.I too have quite a lot of old books,mostly given to me by my parents and they are so lovely and tactile.I even like the slightly musty smell of the pages!

  2. You are so right. It's like comparing an old quilt with a modern fleecy blanket. Both do the same job, but one is practical and the other is beautiful and full of history. I saw a program where an American perfume maker was travelling round English antique bookshops trying to recreate that musty smell. It's quite unique due to our damp climate apparently! xx

  3. I do agree with you, there is something so tactile about holding a book, especially the lovely old leather bounds books. I do own a Kindle but very much prefer the proper printed word. I've got a collection of late Victorian and early twentieth century books and the covers are amazing, I haven't read all of them but they look so lovely in our old bookcase. Have a great week.
    Jo xx

  4. Most of my book spines are nowhere near as lovely as yours! They all look rather modern and garish - I want some books just to look pretty!!!


  5. I love books, our house is stuffed to the rafters with them although I frequently donate loads to Goodwill. I got a KINDLE a year ago and i Love it. I use it to check books out of the library and to read large books on. Have also downloaded loads of free books. So I like having real books and the Kindle.

  6. Gorgeous books!! We've pared down our book shelves, since books weigh so much when it comes to moving frequently, and I do like my kindle for ease of use, but you're completely spot on- there's nothing like an old, musty, yellowed-pages book. I love ones with engravings, as they often pop up like little surprises. I am almost disappointed when the engravings have the tissue paper protection page, since that gives away their locations.

    Lovely post... now I want to curl up with a mug and a book!

  7. Bravo! I feel exactly the same (and blessings, I do not have to commute!). As a book reviewer I give my impression of the latest novels published but I have long been a reader of the classics. I indulge my penchant for the Romantics as well as the Dramas as often as possible.
    There are very few books published today that rivals tomes written by Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Dumas, Hugo name just a few favourites! Yet I sometimes discover a few pearls here and there...
    A warm hello from the Pacific NW coast (hope you do not mind but I will link your post to mine tomorrow!)

  8. Your books are so beautiful :o)
    I agree wholeheartedly about Kindle, give me a book anyday.

  9. Lovely post Charlotte! I'll never be a Kindle girl, I just love the pleasure of choosing a book, reading about it, looking at the cover and if it's an old book, searching to see when it was published, and better still, reading who it belonged to! A Kindle will never share history like that.

    Love Claire xxx

  10. I've just stumbled across your blog and it was possibly the most serendipitous find for a while! Not only do I love books (and when I say love, I mean LOVE) and collect first editions, but I wrote part of my thesis on Guy Mannering (my heart fluttered when I saw your edition) and my next project focuses on Mary Russell Mitford. I'm your newest, biggest fan!
    p.s. I do have a Kindle, though, so I hope that won't count against me...

  11. I an an avid reader too. I love the Country Tales book cover. You have some really beautiful books there. I don't have a Kindle, but if we ever get to go on holiday abroad again I will treat myself, as I always run out of novels - no chance of that with a Kindle! I agree with you that it can't compare with the experience of reading a paper copy of a beautiful. I can't imagine reading a gardening or recipe book on a Kindle.
    Your Paris pictures are fantastic (just catching up with what I've missed). It's an amazing city and it sounds like you had a fantastic time. We went in sub-zero temperatures and it was still absolutely beautiful.

  12. I really can't comment on e-readers (or Kindles as they have become, as Hoovers stand for vacuum cleaners and Thermos for vacuum flasks), but I love old books, especially those lovely soft leather pocket books, forerunners of paperbacks. Rub your hands over the leather books, the oil in your skin will help lubricate the leather.
    Margaret P

  13. Hello,

    I too just found your blog, from Dan. Like both of you, I am doing a lot of work on our cottage and garden, and I love spending time finding and making things for it.

    Our current project is a 'wall' of bookshelves. It will mean that I can unpack books stored in removal company boxes for the last five years! Can't wait. I'd have an e-reader as well, but it doesn't beat sitting down in front of the fire with a book!

    I look forward to following your progress.


  14. Hi,I am not an avid book reader but I would MUCH rather have a book than a kindle.Books have such lovely covers as you say.I have quite a pile of books to go at just now and I do think certain books should be read at different times of the year too.I have the latest Stephen Booth on the go at the moment and I have a book called the Vintage Teacup club by Vanessa Greene.I chose it purely for the cover picture of beautiful teacups,which I collect!Also read Sarah Rayner because of the teacups on the covers!Am watching Kirstie on T.V.tonight and with blogging too it's no wonder I am so slow to read my books!!KIND regards Pam.

  15. I love old books. I just love books period and no Ipad or nook can replace the feel and smell of books. I even like the pictures of books. I have so many I think I may have a problem.........

  16. There is nothing an old book in your hands, or even a new one come to think of it! Lovely post. x