Oh, the joy of a good book. I have a stack of about 20 books to read and there is never enough time in the day. To make matters worse, I discovered Persephone Books. It is a small publisher devoted to rediscovering and publishing 20th century novels. Some of the novels are fiction and some are non-fiction. As an added bonus, they believe that books should also look beautiful. "It is important to get pleasure on how a book looks and feels", they say. The result is that all their books have plain, classic, thick dove-grey jackets. Christian Dior was also a fan of dove grey and used it in his shop; Alfred Hitchcock liked to dress his ice blond actresses in a fitted grey flannel suit e.g. Kim Novak in "Vertigo"
It is possibly one of the best neutral colours to use on walls and goes with everything. Even more exciting is that they use old fabric designs for the endpapers (and you get a bookmark with the same pattern). How wonderful! Fabric pattern endpapers were chosen to match the date and mood of the book and to my mind are a source of inspiration themselves. These are the types of patterns that inspired my bathroom scheme. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite:
from "How to Run Your Home without Help" (that is help as in paid help...wonderful, if archaic concept)
from "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" (delightful book made into an equally delightful film recently)
from "Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes" (this fabric is quite wonderful. It has to do with the number of coupons needed during wartime rationing to get a dress: 66)
If you want an excellent source of books which make brilliant gifts, then I thoroughly recommend Persephone Books. You can order online or if you are in London, visit one of their shops (addresses are listed on their site). I would love all 83 titles artfully arranged on a shelf (apparently you can buy the entire set and it arrives in one big box!). I have a few, some read and others waiting to be read, and a very long wish list. Now if only I could find more time to curl up with my books!