Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Lots and lots of random book-themed stuff

Being a book fiend, I'm always attracted to photos of large collections of volumes.

I also enjoy book-themed images, like these benches:

I collect links of book-themed stuff as I come across them.

For example, here's an article entitled "Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind" in which the writer notes, "Research suggests that exposure to large home libraries may have a long-term impact on proficiency in three key areas" – literacy, numeracy (using mathematical concepts in everyday life), and information communication technology (using digital technology to communicate with other people, and to gather and analyze information). [It's worth noting the latter benefit has entirely bypassed me. I still don't know how to text, and I'm not entirely sure what an "app" is.]

The above article continues, "The research team was interested in this question because home library size can be a good indicator of what the study authors term 'book-oriented socialization.' ... More books in the home was linked to higher proficiency in the areas tested by the survey. ... Further research is needed to determine precisely why exposure to books in childhood fosters valuable skills later in life, but the study offers further evidence to suggest that reading has a powerful effect on the mind."

Another short article I stumbled across is entitled "How to Display Your Books Like a More Sophisticated Adult." Personally I didn't find this very helpful, but then I'm usually intrigued by book quantity, not style.

I do confess, however, a weakness for book-themed interior décor books. I have several:

(Of this collection, the center top book – "At Home with Books" by Estelle Ellis – is the best.)

Now here's a fascinating article: "Book of Lost Books Discovered in Danish Archive": "Christopher Columbus may have explored oceans, but his illegitimate son, Hernando Colón, explored the mind. In the 16th century, he amassed somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 books, part of a pie-in-the-sky effort to collect 'all books, in all languages and on all subjects, that can be found both within Christendom and without.' As part of this ambitious endeavor, he commissioned an entire staff of scholars to read the books and write short summaries for a 16-volume, cross-referenced index. Called the Libro de los Epítomes, it served as a primitive sort of search engine. Now, researchers have found one of those lost volumes, a precious key to many books lost to history." Yowza!

Other cool book stuff: How about a vending machine that dispenses a random book for $2.00?

Here's another book vending machine, this one in Romania.

Or what about a train station in Paris with a machine that prints out short stories to read while you wait for a train?

Another version:

How cool is this? How would you like your own personal traveling bookstore?

Then of course, there are photo collections of the world's most beautiful libraries:





Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

There are also extraordinary bookstores, such as this one in Buenos Aires.

And how about a few random items?

Older Daughter enjoys participating in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

I once put up a post about something called Silent Book Clubs, which I still think is a spiffy idea.

One of the more charming trends is that of Little Free Libraries. A woman in Coeur d'Alene built one of these in an old tree stump. I always regret not going by to see it when we lived closer.

I've also written about using books as props, often termed "credibility bookshelves" in the age of remote work and Zoom calls. Shallow as this may seem on the surface, I figure being surrounded by books can only lead to good things.

How about this collection of photographs of early bookmobiles?

And finally, a phenomenon I caught wind of which I think is just the coolest thing: Bookstores you can rent for date nights or even weddings.

Book-themed info is almost as much fun to collect as books!


  1. Going to the bookmobile on our corner every Monday was the highlight of my week. As a young girl, I fell in love with Clark Gable and read every book I could find on him. I read all the Beatrix Potter books and Harold and the Purple Crayon from the bookmobile. What a great article and links, especially the bookmobile images! Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

  2. My first notable gift in life, was the ability to read,right out of the starting gate! I read all the books in the school Library, all of my siblings books, etc etc. Now that I'm 68 years old...I enjoy audio books more than reading! I still have a thing for books though. Being an avid 'prepper' I enjoy collecting classic paper books, to have in any power down situation, and for the impending 'dark winter of doom' I collect Home Remedies, First Aid, Foraging for Food ( I just read about making a pasta-like dish from Cattails ) etc etc OH, and MAPS. Paper MAPS!!

  3. I once gave 300 books to help a small town start a library. Naturally I bought more books to fill the empty spaces on my shelves. When we planned a 1400 mile move, I donated many books to a library sale. Again I got books to give myself more reading material. Fortunately I am not prejudiced against second-hand books.

  4. When Mom introduced this grade school boy to the bi-weekly bookmobile that came through our rural area, it started a love affair with books that continues to this day, 60 years later.

    The photos of those libraries around the world are just mind-blowing. As I browsed through them, John 21:25 kept going through my mind: "And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written." Wow.

  5. Love this post! My parents were both big readers and I thankfully grew up that way. Still go through quite a few books every year. My "collection" is 3000+ and growing, and I'm converting an enclosed garage to a library. I'm a firm believer that if you can read you can learn anything, go anywhere, and always be entertained.

  6. Love books! My son got to have a special dinner and propose to his wife in a bookstore!

  7. Thanks for the photos of the beautiful libraries. Proof that thirst for knowledge extends to every country and every culture. I simply wish I was a faster more comprehensive reader, so many books, so little time. My collection is waning due to 50+ moves, most have disappeared or been given away and no longer have the storage or room to keep a large amount. The advantage of paper books over time is they remain resources and books. Electronic books, when things fall apart as they often do, are nothing but memories. Then more I read the more I realize how little I know.

  8. This reminds me....I need a new bookshelf. I'm quickly running out of space.

  9. When I was young, I was failing reading in school. See Spot run. Run Spot Run. My mother said I'd come home and read things like the Life and Times of Thomas Jefferson. Young minds like to be challenged. They want to learn

    One thing my parents did for us kids was buy a World Book Encyclopedia. I'd crack one open and just read. As a second grader, I knew how rockets worked, and why. I knew how nuclear weapons worked. I could explain how freeze drying was done.

    Yes, one should make sure that their kid reads certain things. But you should also allow them the freedom to go off exploring what they are curious about in books, within certain limits of course. Studies have shown that doing so tends to have a huge impact on their IQ. The earlier, the greater the impact.

    Sadly, I don't get to read as much as I'd like anymore. Time restraints, responsibilities, and aging eyes, all seem to conspire against me. I now get my reading online mostly, where I can blow up the screen, enlarge the font lol

    1. I agree with the ageing eyes thing. I would not be able to read nearly as much with out the computer allowing me to blow up the font!

    2. There are long skinny magnifying glasses made for reading lines of needlework patterns that are a great for reading books as well. I found one at a bookstore but am sure they're online as well.

    3. Yes, I read the family encyclopedia and the two-volume dictionary that came with it.

      And yes, aging eye syndrome at work here, as well. Sigh.

  10. What are your favorite books to read? Favorite authors?

  11. I'm totally addicted to books. One of my quirks - when I see a photo with books in the background - I try to read the titles.

  12. I just today, came across this online-outlet called "Storiart" (Story art), and thought of Patrice and family.....Scarves for ladies who love books!!

  13. In one of the Sherlock Holmes show, Sherlock was a member of a club that provided reading material to read but you could not utter a sound or bother anyone.
    Great idea.

  14. "The peaceful silence, the mysteries of hundreds of books, the smell of them..."

    Indeed. I regret selling and giving away 3/4 of my library before moving across the country 15 years ago.

    That first "here" link: #15's books are color -coordinated with the decor of the room. 'Way ahead of the present-day trend!

  15. Hello Patrice. I couldn’t find any place to contact you directly so since my comment is about books I thought it would be ok to post it here. I’m new to you. I think it was a mention of your web site by Jim Rawles, some time late last year, that made me want to check out your site. Since then I have checked your site everyday for new postings, and am currently reading your wonderful book, THE SIMPLICITY PRIMER. I’m gifting one to a recent high school grad.

    I have “collected” many books on ranch women, non-fiction books about the contemporary American west, rural living, and some Amish non-fiction. If you haven’t already come across these titles you may enjoy them. I’ll list the titles below. All are probably at least 15 or more years old. Pretty much all (except the last one I list) are wonderfully reminiscent, and are a wonderful balm for the craziness of today.

    Hell On Horses and Women by Marriott (my fav). Originally published in 1953. Author traveled around the country for 18 months to interview women ranchers. Very heartfelt.

    Claiming Ground by Bell (probably 2nd fav). Beautiful, about a female sheep herder).

    Ranch Wife by Jeffers

    Going Over East by Hasselstrom (I have enjoyed other books by her (including Windbreak), that she has either written or edited)

    Cowgirls: Women of the American West by Jordan
    Riding the White Horse Home also by Jordan

    Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (fiction)

    Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt (farm memoir of growing up in Montana)

    Nothing To Do but Stay by Carrie Young (memoir of 20th century pioneering life of a 25 year old female who leaves MN to stake a 160 acre claim in ND)

    Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish

    Memoirs of a Midwestern Farm by Nancy Hutchens (memoir of growing up on a large family farm in IN during the 1950s but from her descriptions sounds more like decades earlier

    Bitterbrush Country by Diane Josephy Peavey (memoir of city woman meets 3rd generation farmer and Idaho state senator, to upend her life to a ranch, living at the end of a 24-mile dirt road

    Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm (I have read this real life story several times since I love it so much).

    Winter by Rick Bass. I think this memoir, of the journey that brought him to Montana, is his first book. Another one I have read repeatedly.

    Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

    Great Possessions: an Amish Farmer’s Journal by David Kline

    Plain Reader edited by Scott Savage, 1998. This is book is a c9mpilation of essays from his magazine titled, Plain (about Quaker and Amish lives). I also enjoyed his other book, A Plain Life: Walking My Belief, about him and his wife’s journey to becoming conservative Quaker, and his 100-mile walk to turn in his driver’s license

    And last but certainly not least is a tragic true story that I can best describe as a combination of Little House on the Prairie, The Perfect Storm, and Into Thin Air,
    The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin.

    1. Holy cow, what a great list! I already own a couple of these, but will look into the others. Many thanks, and welcome to the blog.

      - Patrice

  16. Nice to “meet” you Patrice. Happy reading