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Beautiful Books

"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
-- Eudora Welty

I have always been in love with books, with their actual physical presence.  I know that this is why I have not been able to read them on any of the electronic devices.  I need to hold a book when I read it.  I also love to look at books and display them around my house because many of them are just so beautiful.  In fact, looking at the stack of books by Colette and E.M Forster in the photo above, I could easily get inspired to decorate an entire room based on these book jackets.  I would love to recreate these raspberry and blue colors on a wall somewhere in my house.

Here are some beautiful books that have been inspiring me lately.  These books have pattern, color and texture.  Their patina takes me to different time periods and places in my imagination.  Isn't there a sense of excitement and inspiration when you see them, for not only do they promise to take us on a journey, but their physical beauty has endless possibilities for decorating all the nooks and crannies of our houses. 

These favorite classics have just been reissued by Penguin Threads.  The covers actually feel embroidered.

The cover of this book about Charleston is decorated in a typical Bloomsbury fashion with its cross hatching in the margins and a drawing of the house set within a decorative circle.  It makes me smile.

Here is a golden yellow invitation from Vita Sackville-West to join her in the garden at Sissinghurst Castle and receive her expert gardening advice.  These four volumes contain the articles she wrote in her weekly gardening column for the "Observer" over the course of 15 years. 

These stately volumes of Shakespeare's plays and poems add literary cachet to a library

I love this stack of old cookbooks and the way they beckon us to faraway places and cuisines 

This equally inviting stack of more modern cookbooks is an invitation to get cooking, now!

I marvel at the beauty of this cover of "Madame Bovary," with a new translation that came out last year

This slim volume of autobiographical essays by Elizabeth Bowen is one of my treasures.  I love its femininity.

And for a dose of glamour, the cover of this book about Deborah Mitford has a stunning design.  She was the least known of the famous Mitford sisters and has a fascinating story to tell.

These two larger than life personalities and dear friends -- Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey --  write each other gossipy letters in this attractive book with its green and red dust jacket.  It's hard to believe these two were engaged to be married, an engagement that was wisely and quickly called off. 

The colors and pattern of this vivid book make it stand out on my book shelf.  This is the American edition of "Seducers in Ecuador" by Vita Sackville-West.

Some happiness in the kitchen

And just a little more

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