The Cool House: books
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Rise and Fall of Books

The Rise and Fall of Books, a documentary by Jake Gorst(Leisurama (2005), Farmboy (2006) Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island (2012)) explores the influence that books have on society, the rise of e-media and subsequent demise of print and the use of books as art. It features Buzz Spector, arts professor at Cornell University and a celebrated artist who uses books as a medium in his installations. The movie's soundtrack is scored by Peter Holsapple, and Chris Stamey of The dB's

Personally I'm a big fan of digital books. I love that when I travel I no longer have to carry a bag of books and magazines that weighs more than my checked luggage. I was an early kindle adopter and when I got an iPad the kindle app was one of the first installed.  But, I still need physical books to browse and pore over: gorgeous illustrated books about design and architecture, books of photographs, travel books, cook books and of course, children's books.

At the end of the clip above, there are a few frames focused on a beautiful manuscript written in Dutch that is over 300 years old. The surprise and joy of seeing that book in the documentary reminded me that this is something you don't get with a download; the celebration of the physical and unique presence of printed matter, something you can experience in a sensory way. That doesn't happen with electronic media, no matter how high the resolution of your screen.

This documentary is at the post-production stage and funds are needed to get the movie to the viewing public. A page has been set up to raise money to complete the project. Pledges start at $15, which gets you a postcard and your name in the closing credit. Rewards at the top end include a large-format Buzz Spector art Polaroid and for fans of The dBs, the actual drum head from the cover of The Sound of Music.

To support the project or read more about it click here. You won't regret it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Book review: House and Home

You love your home, you've made eighteen years of memories there and now you are forced to sell it. How would you react? That's the scenario explored in House and Home, the first novel by writer and HGTV columnist Kathleen McCleary.
Although she seems to have been living the perfect life (she runs her own business, has two adorable children and is surrounded by loving and supportive friends), Ellen Flanagan suffers a crisis in her relationship with her husband Sam that, combined with an earlier tragedy, results in an obsession over the family home... a home that has already been sold.
Anyone who loves their home will relate to this novel, and we empathize with the frustration and resentment felt by Ellen when her husband's unsuccessful business venture leads the family into financial hardship resulting in the sale of Ellen's beloved cottage to the preppy Jordan Boyce and her husband Jeffrey. Not only does she have to leave her cottage but she is forced to listen to Jordan's plans to remodel all the things she loves about it - the colors, the moldings and even the picket fence.
By turns comic and poignant, the novel is a page-turner; we sense a crisis is coming but we're unsure what form it will take. How far will Ellen go to keep her home? Can she renege on the sale, will she ruin someone else's marriage or even burn down her cottage to ensure Jordan doesn't take possession of the house? Eventually priorities become clear, and Ellen realizes that she must hang on to the important things in life. The author leaves the reader to answer the ultimate question: What makes a house a home?

This book review is a stop on the House and Home TLC Book Tour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sustainable Remodeling

When I found out I was the lucky winner of Not So Big Remodeling: Tailoring Your Home for the Way You Really Live I was just thrilled to win a book on one of my favourite topics, home renovation; I didn't know what a wonderful resource this book is going to be. Taking her mantra of "build better, not bigger" Sarah Susanka and co-author Marc Vassallo have presented a go-to resource book on sustainable design for homeowners and architects alike.
Using her own classic Cape style house as an example Susanka offers three options for efficient remodeling: work within the existing footprint; consider a small bump-out and lastly build an appropriate addition. Often minor changes are all that are needed to fix an awkward layout or improve flow within the house and the authors always emphasize integrating the old with the new so the house is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing.
Although we are living in a larger house, somehow it never feels imposing. Sarah Susanka explains why: it's all about proportion. "It is possible to design a house where everything looks in proportion, but when you approach the house on foot you realize it is out of proportion to our human bodies". I'd go further and say a lot of houses built or remodeled in the recent past don't fit the scale of the surrounding landscape either. The authors challenge the reader to really consider the way we live in these big spaces and offer smart solutions to make them feel more comfortable.
Not So Big Remodeling is glossy enough to keep on the coffee table yet packed full of plans and blueprints and I would be happy to own it for the photography alone. Many of the houses featured have beautiful natural wood trim and doors with a Craftsman ethos that is immediately appealing. But there's so much more to this book than obvious visual appeal, it contains tips and ideas on every page that can be incorporated into any remodeling project - large or small - including the updating of Beach House.
Thanks Susan at for adding this book to my remodeling resources.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Book Sale

Yesterday was the final day of the 50% off clearance sale at the Book Revue and I scored three fantastic finds. Faberge Eggs A Book of Ornaments contains beautiful card eggs to hang on a tree, Ou Est Le Garlic?, basic French Cooking by The Ipcress File author Len Deighton and Formica and Design: From the Counter Top to High Art all for the bargain price of $7.50. While the first book is the most ornamental and the second may prove the most useful, I absolutely love the Formica book.

In the 1950s, designer Raymond Loewy was hired to update the Skylar range and the Boomerang classic (above) is still available in all its retro glory. I know a lot of people have negative feelings about Formica but The Cool House still some of its original 1960's and 70's Formica left - the kitchen countertops, for example, and I'm proud to say that the same product that has served our house for forty years was also used in the decorative wall surfaces of the Queen Mary liner and Radio City Music Hall in the Rockefeller Center, New York.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Amazon's Next Breakthrough Author*

*Susan Beale, this could be YOU!
A friend has made it to the semi-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Chapeau! It's so exciting to know an almost published author.
There's an excerpt from her novel Tracings on the Amazon Digital Download page, so go over and check it out. You can even review it too. But do it before March 2nd, that's when this part of the competition will be over and the finalists will be chosen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On the Fourteenth Day of Christmas

Look what Santa Amazon bought me.
Three books on Architecture and Interior Design with a 70s vibe:
Furniture and Interiors of the 1970s
The 70s House
Weekend Utopia
and one for the appetite
Roast Chicken and Other Stories. So far I'm mesmorised by the chapter on brains - cooking and eating them that is.
I'm going to have some happy times with these books. Thanks for the gift, Dad.