Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I love words, I love language. So how could I not love books? And like lots of other people who love books, I love the idea of devoting part of my home to them in a beautiful and functional way.

Beautiful-Libraries.com is a collection of images of lots of different kinds of libraries.

From “Modest Home Libraries” to “Truly Grand Home Libraries”, “Celebrity Home Libraries”, “English Country House Libraries” and more, this website provides lots of inspiration for “what I’d do if I had the money” dreaming.

Looking through the website, I really like looking at all the different ways people store and display books in their home, even if it’s in a way I wouldn’t like to have in my home (or even if I think it’s really ugly!)

I think more than anything seeing all the images on the website of different styles of library helped me to realise what I like, and what I don’t.

I always dreamed of having a place dedicated to books and reading them.

I think if you bother to have a collection of books you love you should respect them and keep them in a place you love. Not a shelf in a thoroughfare or the back of the dining room (no matter how cute – see pic on left), but a special place where you can go, close the door, and be quiet with the books. Not just a place for storing books, but for enjoying them.


I think natural light is really important, too. And the view. I’d like my library to look out onto a secluded, green garden. In my head, my dream library was always at the top of a folly, like the modern one below (but higher :p).

The website’s curator provides a commentary for each of the images, with a tone which is sometimes amusing, and always deadly serious when it comes to book welfare.

About this ring bookcase from the “Unusual Home Libraries” section, the curator comments

A ring of books. There are dividers spaced inside the ring, both to hold it together and to prevent a total collapse of many books if one is removed from the sides, and there are feet on the whole structure, to prevent it from rolling across your foot as you attempt to remove a book. Perhaps it’s not dangerous and does not damage books terribly (although it might be hard to pull some of them out at the sides), but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement for a bookcase. An interesting idea, but a very inefficient use of space.

But for a fellow book lover, the website’s curator is sympathetic – and I love her/his final plea

There is something mysteriously appealing about this arrangement, even though it looks disorganized, probably dirty, damaging to books and likely even dangerous to people. It cannot be easy to find books in this system, let alone retrieve those on the bottom of the piles. But any compulsive book hunter can sympathize with the owner of these books – clearly he or she has simply run out of conventional shelving room. Please build more shelves!

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It’s that time of the year again and whether you’re getting your booklist sorted for heading back to school or looking out for some awesome summer reading, before you head out to Whitcoull’s or Borders try searching GoodBooksNZ.co.nz. Good Books is an online bookshop run by the charity Oxfam, which works against poverty and inequality in communities in over 100 countries around the world.

I’ve been using Good Books to order some of the novels that I plan to use for my uni studies this year, and I’ve found that not only is their selection as good, sometimes better, than that of Borders and Whitcoull’s, but their prices are much cheaper. The site’s really easy to use, with just one field to use to search by title, ISBN or author, and I actually found their ‘Tips’ section handy when I got stuck once.

 Every time anyone buys a book through the Good Books website, 100% of the retail profit from every sale goes to support communities in need through Oxfam projects.

I really like the feel of the site and having everything in NZ$ is really nice. Plus it’s nice knowing that you’re helping a good cause, by doing something you have to do anyway, and probably for a better price than you would’ve got it otherwise. Delivery is free and the only downside is that you’ll have to wait 7-14 working days for delivery (from either the UK, US or Germany), however this is pretty much the same as Whitcoull’s, which has a delivery time of 10-12 days.

No one at Good Books is paid and we have zero operating costs. All time, professional services and resources are donated.

So next time you need a novel, non-fiction book, audiobook, or even a music CD, check out GoodBooksNZ.co.nz first. And if you’re not in NZ, they deliver worldwide. So go for it!
 I hear that Oxfam have actual stores in some countries – in fact in the UK Oxfam’s secondhand book stores are doing so well that according to The Guardian they’re now the largest retailer of secondhand books in the UK! Interestingly, in that some article in The Guardian the chairman of a booksellers association complained

Oxfam is a worthwhile cause but they are now acting more like a business than a charity and that is a concern.

While as a rival bookseller I can see why he’s worried, I can’t help thinking that in this commercial world we need more charities “acting more like a business”, since that’s how real, sustainable change will be achieved, and networks established that will go some way to reversing the inequality in our current economic system.

Rather than fight a system that privileges a few over many, we wanted to transform it from within to constructive effect. Now, each time you buy a book through us you challenge traditional barriers that prevent commercial involvement in reducing poverty.

*All GoodBooks quotes were taken from their website.

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