This has never been a place for politics; you come here to find out about books, reading and things bookish. This will always be a place for empathy though. One of the best ways, I find, to develop empathy is through our reading choices. Today’s post was going to be about travelling through books to experience new cultures when our ability to actually travel is limited. After the events of the past week, I felt a journey into race related reading was more merited. Jane Mount, whose work I’ve featured before, has nicely captured a very important reading list. I invite you to explore her Anti-Racism titles and to travel into these worlds if they’re not familiar to you already. (Click on image to see the titles more clearly)

Over the past year or so I’ve also read the following highly recommendable books.(Click on covers to learn more) In each of these novels there was at least one reference or scene where I found myself thinking, “Hmmm, I’d never considered that.” I appreciate any book that offers a different perspective. I feel it is my responsibility to choose books that educate as well as entertain. Feel free to share any suggestions you have where you’ve been challenged to think in new ways, especially with relation to race.



My Ideal Bookshelf

January 17, 2013

Ideal Bookshelf 498 - Christmas

I love the artwork of Jane Mount and have shared it here previously. (Visit this blog entry to refresh your memory.) Now Ms. Mount has taken her beautiful bookshelf brushwork to a new venue: a book!

My Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount and Thessaly LaForce

This coffee table book offers the visual delight of Jane’s paintings of the personal shelves of 100 writers, musicians, designers and other “creatives” along with their equally colourful notes and thoughts collected by Thessaly La Force.

“The paintings are accompanied by first-person commentary drawn from interviews with editor Thessaly La Force, which touch on everything from the choice of books to becoming a writer to surprising sources of inspiration. This exquisite collection provides rare insight into the creative process and artistic development of today’s most intriguing writers, innovators, and visionaries.”

This is a wonderful collection –  interesting and beautiful while also satisfying a particular curiosity we have about the books one chooses to read, and their influence on our personal journeys.



I confess to an overwhelming desire to peer at people’s bookshelves. I try to do so politely but don’t you agree it’s such fun to see who they cook with, what fiction appeals, where they have traveled or want to travel,  what poets inspire … ?  It’s so revealing and usually leads to great conversation.  Now, I may peek, peruse or flat out ponder a friend’s shelf but I’ve never gone so far as to record its contents.  Talented artist Jane Mount does though and in a most wonderful way. These delightful little scenes capture the colourful spines of special collections. Here are Jane’s own words:

For a while, I’ve been documenting people’s bookshelves as a form of portraiture; you can actually learn a lot about folks by their books’ covers. Now, I’m working on a series of “ideal” bookshelves: sets of favorites in a genre—mine or someone else’s—amalgamated in a picture, even if they don’t usually live on shelves anywhere near each other.

We all show off our books on shelves like merit badges, because we’re proud of the ideas we’ve ingested to make us who we are. We are proud to display what has inspired us, as we should be, and we hope to connect to other people by doing so. When I paint someone else’s bookshelf and they have some of the same books I do, I feel amazingly joyful about it, and about them.”

Jane has a number of her works for sale on her etsy webpage but can also do custom bookshelves –  your bookshelf. Learn how and see some samples of her work:  More information and a wide collection of her bookshelf portraits can be found at 

Meanwhile, I’m in the midst of trying (it’s been taking me months) to pack up my boys’ baby books and I’m suffering. I end up sitting on the floor reading and remembering all those cozy times when the boys smelled so yummy after a bath and we snuggled up at bedtime with our favourite stack of books. I just can’t part with them.  A painted permanent record of our collection could be just the solution!  


What titles would you have painted together? 

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