Most helpful critical review
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
An interior design book rather than one for booklovers
on 13 March 2010
This is a very appealing coffee table book. The cover grabs your attention and it's very hard not to pick it up. It's full of photographs of people's houses and the innovative way that books are displayed. (My favourite was a collection that goes up a very high wall, which the owner accesses via a swing on a pulley). If you love books, it's a delight to look through it. There are also some interesting comments on the role that books play in our lives.
However, I couldn't shake the feeling that the book was put together by someone who was interested in interior design but ultimately wasn't that interested in books. For example, there's a lovely picture of a shelving arrangement in a child's room - but there are only two books, barely visible, crammed among the toys. Another picture shows a bookshelf filled with white books that aren't even real books. It feels like the author thinks the most interesting thing about books is the colour and shape of their spines. In most cases, the copy also adds next to nothing. For example, in the section on low lying bookshelves, we learn that the advantage they give you is that you still have wall space above - a startling revelation! I would have liked to find out more about the people whose houses we were looking at, or their reasons for organising books in the ways that they did, but that's not covered.
I am unashamedly nosy about people's bookshelves. I am the kind of person who will always check out your books when I come to your house, intrigued to know where our reading tastes align or differ, always hopeful of new discoveries. So I was also disappointed that it was so difficult in many of the photographs to see what books people actually had - at least one photograph has even been reversed so all the book titles are back to front.
There are other, similar books which are better.