Friday, 10 May 2019

The rise of private libraries


Shhh! Private libraries are making a quiet comeback... As public libraries suffer from budget cuts, more people are turning to fee-paying alternatives.
More at the FT
(pictured above, Leeds Library) 

Monday, 29 April 2019

The British Library installation


The British Library is a site-specific installation with a digital platform for visitors to join in the discussion. Open to the public for free as part of Tate Modern’s collection displays.
By Yinka Shonibare
Tate and The British Library Installation

Friday, 26 April 2019

Shared Lady Beetle: A Micro Movable Library for Kids

"The interior spaces for displaying items are flexibly partitioned into several smaller storage areas by plates which can be freely adjusted according to users' needs. Besides, all the partitions can also be removed, through which a complete big space will be formed. The installation can be customized based on different needs, making it versatile and "universal"... The Shared Lady Beetle, is like a "beneficial insect" walking on the "urban leaf ", which can be used as a mobile library , a stall, or a maker classroom for kids, etc."
LUO studio

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds


If you like sheds and you like books, then you will certainly enjoy Little Free Libraries & Tiny Sheds: 12 Miniature Structures You Can Build. Written by Philip Schmidt and Little Free Library and published by Cool Springs Press (£16.99/$24.99 - part of the Quarto stable who also published my Book Towns book last year), the Little Free Library movement (motto:‘Take a book, return a book’)is probably the most successful library project of the 21st century – there are now more than 80,000 in 91 countries around the world.

These handmade tiny libraries, often built to look rather like oversized bird boxes, are placed at strategic locations in neighbourhoods such as front gardens, yards and parks, but also in coffee shops and near restaurants. Anybody can remove a volume and deposit another for others to share. 

The book features full instructions detailing how to build a dozen designs ranging in size from the popular small box model to a full shed structure. Among them is the blueprint for the first Little Free Library, built by Todd Bol in 2009, who wrote the forward but sadly died shortly before this book was published. As well as information on installation and maintenance, there are also sections on how to publicise your little free library, what to stock, how to encourage community involvment, and a lovely collection of some of the most interesting around the world. It's really nicely put together, genuinely useful, and supports a great cause.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Writing gloves


Bookshelf was offered these rather attractive writing gloves by Literary Book Gifts to give them a test run (note: these are not my hands). They're made of cashmere knit so are extremely soft and comfortable and come in 13 colours. Obviously we can't testify to their durability as we've only had them a couple of days but apparently "cotton, polyester, and microfiber are blended in for durability" and we've no reason to disbelieve that. All in all, if you need to type and would like something to keep your hands warm that doesn't get in the way of your fingers, these could be the ideal solution. Available from Literary Book Gifts which is based in the USA but ships anywhere in the world. They also sell t-shirts (for women and men) and tote bags.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Literary Places


If you enjoyed Book Towns, then I think you'll like Literary Places by Sarah Baxter (published by White Lion which is part of the same publishing stable). It's a collection of locations around the planet associated with famous writers which would make ideal holiday spots for keen readers - such as Dublin, Soweto, and Kerala - each associated with a famous work. So for example you can read about the Mississippi River (Huckleberry Finn) or try out Cartagena (Love in the Time of Cholera).

Sarah is a very experienced travel writer and you'll have read her pieces in all the quality national dailies as well as her work in multiple Lonely Planet guides (and perhaps also in the first of this series called Inspired Traveller's Guide: Spiritual Places). It's nicely done, not too long but with plenty of food for thought and ideas for your next trip, well written, and will also encourage you to have a go at some classics you've been planning to attempt. It's also the kind of book you could take with you on holiday and read happily pool-side or in a nice little café.

Literary Places is beautifully illustrated throughout with full page colour images by the artist Amy Grimes. I particularly liked her illustrations of Spain for the Don Quixote and Ernest Hemingway chapters focusing on La Mancha and the Sierra de Guadarrama. It would be unfair to call this a coffee table book because that's often used a bit dismissively, but Amy's illustrations do really add another dimension which is often lacking in travel books.


Monday, 11 March 2019

Airbook frame


There are so many wonderful memories in books, like some serious notes or interesting graphic. These memories are worth to come back to review and watch constantly after we grow up. Therefore, we focused on how to preserve the memories, thinking out how the eliminated textbooks can be combined with life. Save memories, simultaneously, giving them new functionality. "You can hate exams, but do not hate reading." We hope that with our design, an adult can still learn to keep reading habits. Use the natural shapes to brainstorming and thinking ideas, produce cornerstone which can extend to all directions and combination. The core, we call “Emerald” has 8 hole around a circle can provide consumers freedom to build up many different kinds of bookcase.
Hsiang Yu Lien

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Librero Entropía

Bookcase manufactured in white Oak, concrete and powder coated metal. A reflection on stability and safety following the Mexico earthquake of 2017.
225cm x 28cm x 160cm (h)


Monday, 11 February 2019

Fiction 9

Eight Colour Pigment Based Archival Print on Hahnemuhle Paper
117 x 51cms edition of 45
Phil Shaw

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Bookshelf

Bookshelf is a piece of furniture created by Slovak designer Lenka Czereova. This original bookshelf interprets the moment when a tree is cut down and falls to the ground. In this way, its creator transforms a structure that seems firm and stable into a completely different one whose main characteristics are flexibility and mobility. This bookshelf creates that sense of movement by being made of four pieces that can be connected to each other or used individually. Made in plywood beech, the originality of this bookshelf lies in its innovative structure capable of giving a different touch to any room.
Lenka Kozic

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Incompleto bookcase


Incompleto is a furniture element which inspired by the artistic idea of ​​"unfinished", a concept then translated at a graphical level. Moreover, the bookcase is characterised by the presence of an intruder element which, however, fits very well into the scene, becoming also the third carrier.
Juanny Barcelò Borges

Monday, 4 February 2019

Haynes Shed Manual


My latest book is all done and dusted and at the printers now. Here's what the cover for our Haynes Shed Manual will look like and I'll be posting some sample spreads nearer the date. Publication day is April 13.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Writers Game: War of Words


Here's a short piece I've written for the Laurence King website about the making of my The Writers Game trumps.
I’ve always loved card games, especially those involving trumps – as a child I spent hours with friends pitting racing cars’ engine capacities and windjammers’ displacements, and for my 30th birthday the invitations to my party were in the style of the original Dubreq Top Trumps cards featuring categories such as ‘Turning circle’ (which I humbly decided was ‘on a sixpence’). So I was delighted when Laurence King felt a similar urge to produce a literary trumps card game, but played with writers rather than military tanks or dragster bikes.
You can read the rest of it here.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Marie Kondo can’t have my bookshelves

"The backlash to Marie Kondo’s suggestion that we chuck out books that don’t “bring joy” shows how attached we are to physical books, even in a digital age. I think Kondo is very impressive. I like how she advises us to fold a shirt with love in our hands. Why not? All the same, I’m not going to give it a go because I believed Virginia Woolf when she advised female writers to kill the angel in the house."
The Guardian

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Gothic book coffer



A rare 15th century French Gothic coffer, believed to have been used for housing and transporting religious texts, has been acquired by the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and printed books survive from medieval Europe but just over 100 book coffers are known to be in existence. This book-box forms the centrepiece of a new display at the Bodleian's Weston Library, titled Thinking Inside the Box, which opened on 19 January and continues until 17 February 2019.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Twisted Dancer bookcase

A funny and creative variation of the standard type bookshelf. Quirky and whimsical, this dancer shows a distinctive character which gives it an illusion of being alive and a whole new outstanding identity. Made from first class FSC birch plywood and finished with durable water based paints.
Josip Gotler

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Writers Game: Classic Authors


My latest literary trumps card game is out today. The Writers Game: Classic Authors also has lovely illustrations by Lesley Buckingham. More details at Laurence King who are producing it.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Thinking inside the box


Thinking inside the box
A display of boxes, bags, and satchels used for carrying books at different times and places – inspired by the Bodleian Libraries' recent acquisition of a book-coffer from 15th-century medieval Paris.
19 January - 17 February Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Oxford
Bodleian Libraries