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  • Julie @ Home On The Hill

There is more to books than words and pictures...

With the growth of digital books many thought that paper books would all but disappear, but instead they are making a comeback. Whoever made that prediction of real physical books disappearing from our lives must never have read a real book......

I love books - real books made from paper and printed with ink, I have been a bit of a book hoarder my whole life and still own a few special books from my childhood. As an adult I came to realise just how much influence books had on me, how they created worlds as a child that let my imagination fill in the blanks, which I believe helped me to have a well developed creative mind.

But reading a book isn't just about absorbing whatever story or information it contains, there is an added dimension to reading a real book, something a young generation of people who have grown up in the digital age are also starting to appreciate, according to recent news articles.

Books have texture, they have a scent. How can you ever describe to someone who has never experienced it the feel of different papers under your fingers or the smell of those pages when you open up a book ? Reading a real book is a multi sensory experience that we humans as physical beings derive pleasure from before we even read the first words.

I find comfort in paper books, there is something soothing about them, they are warm in a way a tablet or Kindle reader are not, the cold plastic and glass of electronic devices don't have that hand feel that a book has for me. I guess books are the very essence of 'old school' so no surprise I am drawn to them just as I am to many things vintage in style.

I even see books as decor items if the cover is beautiful in it's own right - especially the old books with leather or parchment covers, you don't even need to read a page to start your mind racing with the possibilities that must be contained inside such gorgeous exteriors, they are works of art.

Another bonus of paper books is that they can be read anywhere, no flat batteries will stop you reading just as you get to the best bit. Drop a book on the ground and it will usually survive with no damage or a minor scuff, but drop an electric device and you may shatter the screen or worse. It's comforting to know that if the whole world suddenly lost power, real books would still be there waiting on the shelves for us to to read.


Novels - an escape form the every day world, a secret place you go in your mind even whilst existing in the real world where you can feel for a short time you have been transported to some other place or time. I enjoy novels that are adventure based, usually with historical backgrounds - I read Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly, and Dan Browne style novels all based around some intriguing ancient historical secret. I'm not a big fan of straight romance novels, but I have enjoyed watching the The Outlander series based on the books by Diana Gabaldon and set mostly in Scotland which incorporates another theme I enjoy - time shift.

Non Fiction - by far my biggest stash of books fall into this category - I have a nice collection of books from the Folio Society (check them out if you love well crafted editions of classic books and historical reference books), they are based in London and publish beautiful, illustrated editions of the world's greatest books. Many of their books are made the old fashioned way, with parchment or fabric covers. many with beautiful designs printed in gold ink and many with their own hard case to protect them.

If you are a fan of the Game Of Thrones TV series based on the books by George R.R.Martin you may enjoy this recent collectors edition of his books by the Folio Society as shown in this video.

Some of my favourite books relating to interior design and exterior design (gardens) are these ones, some I came across online, others were recommended by other bloggers, and some I have had for years.

Most of these if not all are still available online to purchase. The Gardening books I have owned for many years and have provided inspiration for our farm garden more than once!

Magazines- I read some magazines online, but I get more pleasure reading old copies of magazines I have hoarded for 25 years - the ones stored in old suitcases under the bed that I drag out on occasion, and select a few that suit my decorating or gardening mood that day. Because I have always enjoyed an eclectic mix of classical, farmhouse country style the contents of these magazines in most cases is just as current today. Traditional style never really dates, it just reinvents itself in slightly different ways every decade or so.

Hubby thinks I need to thin them out, but most are imported magazines that today cost upwards of $20 each at the newsagent, so technically I'm saving us money by reading them over and over again, I must let him know what a thrifty saver I am!

Here are some of my favourite magazines I find the US & UK country style more to my taste as the Australian country style magazines tend to be too much of a very modern decor mix with farmhouse/country, not my style.

Country Living is from the USA, there is a UK Magazine with the same name but I prefer the US one. The Cottage Journal puts out a variety of magazines with a specific design style focus - in this example it is the Country Cottage - also from the USA.

Country Homes & Interiors is from the UK as is the The English Garden.

The Garden Shed is by the US Better Homes & Gardens people and Gardening Australia is a local publication based on the ABC TV Show.

When I was in my early twenties my mother's friend worked for a book club. They sold off the new books that had a small dent in the corner of the cover or a scratch (in most cases easily removed by using Mr Sheen furniture spray). These books usually went for just a few dollars each, so we would eagerly peruse the catalogues each month or so, and give her a list so if any came up discounted she would get them for us - those years I was in book lovers heaven!

I still have most of them today, most cover topics related to ancient history, interior design, art/craft or gardening, all things I still love to this day and can always find in the wonderful paper pages of my books, no batteries required!

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