Tuesday, 17 June 2014


“A book that is shut is but a block.” Thomas Fuller

At the weekend while browsing in a second-hand bookshop I came across a fantastic book that I just had to buy! It is called “At Home with Books” by Estelle Ellis, Caroline Seebohm and Christopher Simon Sykes, published by Thames & Hudson, London in 1995 but has been reprinted many times since (attesting to its popularity). Its ISBN 0-500-01684-4 and here is the Amazon link where this book is available and you can even peek inside it.

It is a large format book, lavishly illustrated and deals with how booklovers deal with the problem of dealing with the space required to house their book collections. Although some of the libraries illustrated are palatial to say the least (for example, the Duke of Devonshire’s, Loren & Frances Rothschild’s or Paul Getty’s), there are also libraries of common mortals, libraries designed by experts, by amateurs and libraries that “just happened” without their owners realising it! Towards the back of the book there is a wonderful section on book storage, conservation, enemies of books, building bookshelves, library ladders, confessions of bibliophiles and a section on great public libraries of the world. The book ends with a well-researched Resource Section on suppliers, rare book dealers, etc.

I love this book and I can definitely recommend to anyone who has books at home, who loves books and who is transported into a state of bliss when they find themselves in a room full of books. I really had to deal with a serious case of the drools I got when leafing through this book. I felt a wonderful sense of kinship with all of the people whose libraries are illustrated inside and I could definitely nod my head appreciatively when I read some of their comments that struck familiar chords in my psyche…

We are bibliophiles in home and one of the reasons for extending our home a few years ago was to make more room for bookcases and books. We have quite a serious collection in several languages and ranging from fiction to non-fiction. In case you are wondering, no, it is not me in the photograph. It is an illustration from the book and an image of its cover!

bibliophile |ˈbɪblɪə(ʊ)fʌɪl| noun
A person who collects or has a great love of books.
bibliophilic |-ˈfɪlɪk| adjective,
bibliophily |-ˈɒfɪli| noun
ORIGIN early 19th century: From French, from Greek biblion ‘book’ + philos ‘loving’.


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    1. Here I am, answering your call :)

      The problem of how booklovers deal with the problem of the space required to house their book collections is a familiar one. When my last child finally graduated and left home, I took over his large bed room, just as his car was leaving our driveway. A cabinet maker came and measured up the walls, floor to ceiling, for gorgeous book cases, a huge desk and shelving for magazines and journals.

      Empty nesting isn't sad. It can be wonderful :)

  2. Sounds like my kind of book. I can understand why you extended, you can never have enough space for books at home!