Saturday, March 03, 2007

Yay, books!

I'm excited...I indulged myself with three new home decor books, which is a real indulgence for me. Paperbacks, no biggie. But big full-color hardback books, those are a little more rare for me to buy.

They came from Amazon's what I got:

Flea Market Style
, by Emily Chalmers

The French-Inspired Home, by Kaari Meng

Decorating Easy, by Jane Cumberbatch

I'm so excited about sitting and savoring them that I'm putting off sitting and savoring them, like a kid hoarding bubble gum in a treasure box. Ridiculous.

I had another book by Jane Cumberbatch called Pure Style, but I'm very much afraid I unloaded it in one of my book purges, because the style was a little too pure. Lots of empty granite sinks and shower stalls, if I remember correctly. But I do still wish I had it. If I did indeed get rid of it. Maybe I should just go look.

We had a fabulous book store in Columbus that was inside an old church. Appropriate, as I had a feeling of reverence walking up the steps and seeing books, books and more books.

Most of the books were overstocks...a few used items, but mostly overstocks and, oddly, lots of British books. I got some fabulous British embroidery books there and also quite a few home decor books, like Pure Style.

The really famous bookstore in Columbus was in German Village downtown, and the name completely escapes me rght now, but it was in one of the old brick buildings there, a rabbit warren of room after room absolutely crammed with books. Again, lots of overstocks and odds and ends, but it was hugely popular. The rooms were tiny and full, and then they'd fill up with, oh, two or three people per room, and you couldn't turn around, and your breath would get stopped up in your chest, and you'd have to worm your way out to the tiny courtyard and take a few deep breaths. So although it was a beloved landmark, I never really warmed up to the place after my first visit. The church bookstore was better. It definitely contributed to my book collection explosion of the mid- to late-90s.

We don't really have any bookstores like that here in Hampton Roads. There's a Books-a-Million in Hampton, but it's pretty soulless. There are used bookstores in Newport News and Williamsburg where you can trade in your oldies for credit, and I do take advantage of those, but again, they're both in skanky strip malls and very much without character.

It amazes me that this area is soooo incredibly old, settled for so long (400 years!) and yet soooo without beauty or character. The history is confined to tourist-approved areas (Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, a few blocks in Portsmouth) and everything else is tract housing and strip malls. I don't understand it, and I don't like it.

Not that Columbus didn't have its incredibly ugly spots, but the thing about Ohio is that it's rife with small towns that were all built in an era when people cared about doing things right, and about making buildings beautiful. And there are enough of those towns left, and enough of them have been encapsulated by Columbus' growth, that you can find very charming places wherever you go. I do miss that.

Wow, what a ramble. Maybe I should go crack open a book!