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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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24 08, 2012

Review: Great Works by Tom Lubbock

By | August 24th, 2012|Categories: Arts & Literature, Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: |2 Comments


Reviewed by Nina Longfield

Great Works: 50 Paintings Explored by Tom Lubbock is an illuminating collection of essays about specific pieces of art. Tom Lubbock brings creative insights into the various works of art, comparing artists, movements, history and contemporary views to develop a unique observation regarding a particular work. At times, Lubbock’s essay doesn’t even seem related to the associated painting. In his essay about Giovanni Francesco Caroto’s Portrait of a Young Boy Holding a Child’s Drawing (c.1515), Lubbock does not focus on the portrait but rather the child’s drawing held by the boy in the painting. Lubbock discusses the ideas of child’s art through history, how it is an unlearned skill from early on that every person loses as we turn “into operating and coordinated” people.

Tom Lubbock’s choice of paintings in Great Works is as interesting as his insights.

4 03, 2012

Review: Edwardian Country Life by Helena Gerrish

By | March 4th, 2012|Categories: Arts & Literature, Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Historical, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

As coffee table books go, Edwardian Country Life does not disappoint the reader yearning for photos of the English countryside.

Henry Avray Tipping lived for 1855 to 1933. He was a man who was best known as an academic, a writer and a collector. His hobby included visiting the great country houses in the UK and writing about his experiences in Country Life, a magazine of the time. Tipping wrote extensively as an authority on houses, furniture, landscaping, and gardening. He also restored older homes, and bought several estates in Middlesex, Oxfordshire, and Monmothshire.

Edwardian Country Life chronicles the contents of a diary which is a year in Tipping’s life as an Edwardian gentleman. He was born in France to cultured parents and lived in various chateaus during his childhood. His father was an educated man and he was

18 02, 2012

Review: Wildlife Photographer by Chris Gomersall

By | February 18th, 2012|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nature, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

When I first opened Wildlife Photographer: A Course in Creative Photography by Chris Gomersall, I was merely expecting a nice coffee table book with lots of pretty pictures. What I got was so much more. Gomersall has spent the better part of 30 years photographing wildlife and nature, though birds are his speciality. I must say that his experience shows through every page. Yes, he has wonderful photos to share, but he also provides plenty of good advice.

Gomersall doesn’t go into all the technical details of setting up each shot. He describes what he did and what he was looking for and covers the basics. He instructs with stories and explains that the photos should be telling stories of their own. I enjoyed reading Wildlife Photographer; Gomersall has an easy way with words. It is obvious that he

10 01, 2012

Review: Close to Paradise by Robert Fisher

By | January 10th, 2012|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nature, Nonfiction, Photography, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by F. Scott

When I win the lottery . . . I’ll take Close to Paradise, by Robert Fisher, with me to go house-hunting around the Bay of Naples. A picture book with plenty of text also, its main title is correct, but the subtitle isn’t quite accurate—it really is just as much if not more about the residences and their residents/caretakers, past and present, as about the gardens themselves.

Fisher starts us off just north of Naples on this tour of houses and gardens, which are in the “Italian language with an English accent.” The English are responsible for many of these spots from about the mid-nineteenth century on, having discovered them on grand tours. Many of the little Edens go back 2,000 years to Roman times, or, as Fisher over-repeats himself, to Homer’s Odysseus and the songs of

16 12, 2011

Review: Baffin Island by Alastair Lee

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography, Travel|Tags: , , , , , , , |5 Comments


Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. The beautiful island is part of Canada and has very long winters. As the title suggests, Baffin Island: The Ascent of Mount Asgard is a photo journal of Alistair Lee’s trip to Mount Asgard on Baffin Island and his ascent to the top.

The pictures in this book are simply incredible! Mount Asgard is a something else, the sides are sheer for thousands of feet and the shape is unforgettable. Lee went with a crew with the intention of climbing this mountain. Complete insanity if you ask me, but I’m just glad he took pictures along the way.

Lee tells two stories through the book: one of the Norse gods, which were on everyone’s mind since many of the mountains are named after them, and the group was planning to

13 12, 2010

Gift Idea: Barbie A Rare Beauty by Sandi Holder

By | December 13th, 2010|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Entertainment, For Kids, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: , , |9 Comments


Reviewed by Vera (Luxury Reading)

Sandi Holder was working in an emergency room, on her way to becoming a pediatric intensive care nurse, when life took a dramatic turn. Her young son fell ill, and Sandi needed to quickly find a way to earn an income and be able to stay at home with her children as needed. Sandi loved Barbie dolls, and what started out as a hobby evolved into a successful business selling vintage dolls, clothing and accessories.

Sandi is now the proud owner of the Doll Attic store, auction house, museum and a party venue for little girls’ birthday parties. At a 2006 auction, Sandi sold the #1 Blond Ponytail Barbie for $25,700, setting a world record.

Barbie A Rare Beauty is Sandi Holden’s ode to everything that is Barbie, and her passion for the doll is evident on

24 11, 2010

Review: ZooBorns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

By | November 24th, 2010|Categories: Ages 12 and Under, Animals, Children's Books, Coffee Table Books, Entertainment, For Kids, For the Pet Lover, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |8 Comments


Reviewed by Vera (Luxury Reading)

I was not quite sure what to expect from ZooBorns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland. I wondered whether it was targeted towards adults or kids, or if it was just a coffee table book. As it turned out, ZooBorns was all of these things! For an entire week after I received ZooBorns, I brought it out to almost every dinner I went to. Without a fail, the first viewer’s oohs and aahs had everyone else grappling to take a look at the adorable animals pictured of the book’s pages.

ZooBorns features baby animals from zoos and aquariums around the world, and discusses the role that these births play in conservation efforts. Beautiful photos of animals are accompanied by descriptions that include the dates of births, their endangered status, and background stories

28 10, 2010

Review: Ansel Adams in the National Parks

By | October 28th, 2010|Categories: Coffee Table Books, Gift Ideas, Nonfiction, Photography|Tags: |5 Comments


Reviewed by Vera (Luxury Reading)

Ansel Adams passed away in 1984, but his beautiful photographs continue to captivate the public, and especially photography lovers. While buying an original Ansel Adams can run you into the hundreds of thousands – and it was rumored that his original negatives found at a garage sale were worth $200 million – his work is so recognizable because of the countless reproductions on calendars, mugs, photo books, and so on.

Ansel Adams is best known for his black and white photographs, and the magic of his simple and captivating images can once again be experienced in the new book, Ansel Adams in the National Parks. The book features over 200 of Adams photographs and spans forty national parks, from Yosemite to Yellowstone to Glacier National Park. Ansel Adams in the National Parks also includes commentary