“You can find magic wherever you look.
Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”
These are the wise words of one of our favourite authors – Dr Suess.
Now, we love our tablets and phones, on-demand TV and anytime movies. But when you’re snuggled up on the sofa, we think there’s nothing like getting lost in a good book. And when it comes to good books… well, it’s been hard to pick our favourites. But here are a few – from design books to novels – that you’ll find on our coffee table this year.
Scandinavia Dreaming: Nordic Homes, Interiors and Design Editors – Angel Trinidad and Gestalten
International editor and writer, Angel Trinidad would probably say her spiritual home is Scandinavia. So she was over the moon to work on this book with renowned design publishing gurus Gestalten.
Together they’ve created a book that illustrates the evolving story of Nordic design – one that sings from the Scandinavian soul. There are plenty of interesting words about some of the people and brands who’ve brought the function, elegance and tradition of Nordic design to worldwide acclaim. But above all, there’s a rich trove of photos featuring styles, materials, colour, shape and texture to influence and inspire.
Shades of Grey: Decorating with the most elegant of neutrals – Kate Waston Smyth
Charcoal, silver, glacier, ash, slate, pewter, stormcloud… there are more greys than we might immediately imagine. In fact, the human eye can detect over 500 shades. Grey is anything but dull.
It’s been an interior favourite for a while not – and continues to be. We expect to see greys adorning all kinds of fabrics this year. But getting the right shade for your space is crucial. And blogger, journalist, consultant and all-round interiors expert, Kate Watson-Smyth, is the perfect person to help you find your perfect tone.
Vogue Living: Houses, Gardens, People – Hamish Bowles
If you fancy a nosey around 36 spectacular houses, this is a book for you. The homes belong to various artists, musicians and socialites and are photographed and celebrated talents including Annie Leibovitz, Cecil Beaton and Mario Testino.
It’s a coffee table favourite for us. Our invitation to a houseboat on the Nile to call on Christian Louboutin, take in a landscape gardener Fernando Caruncho’s exquisite Spanish garden, and to visit Houghton, the stately home of David Cholmondeley. (And in the wonderful aristocratic tradition of unreadable names, that’s actually pronounced Chumley.)
Seasons – the Box Set – Melissa Harrison
Proving that box sets aren’t only for TV series, this is a gorgeous collection of anthologies published in conjunction with The Wildlife Trust. Each volume is dedicated to one particular season, bursting with related poetry and prose.
We love having a book on hand that’s easy to dip in and out of – and here are four! Hats off to editor Melissa Harrison in bringing together such an eclectic collection of writing. It’s not often you get to enjoy names as revered as Ted Hughes and George Orwell alongside unknown voices. There’s something for everyone inside, with work spanning hundreds of years and many genres, immersing you in the great outdoors from the comfort of your living room.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë
When it comes to fiction, you can’t go wrong with a book from one of the most famous literary sisters, the Brontë’s. But while Charlotte and Emily have had numerous TV adaptations and celebration, little sister Anne always got the least of the limelight.
Yet Anne is arguably the most feminist, radical writer of them all. In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, her heroine Helen leaves her abusive alcoholic husband, taking her son with her, and falls in love with another man. Remember, when Anne wrote this in 1848 that wasn’t just scandalous – it was against the law!
Add in Anne’s unquestionable writing talent and this is one to put on the top of the reading pile.
Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne
Part kids book, part philosophical guide, you’re never too old for a Pooh and his friends. So rediscover your favourite character and take a trip to the hundred acre wood. Because in the words of Pooh, ‘Sometimes the smallest things take up the biggest room in your heart.’