Home Library Inspiration

Home Library Inspiration, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, decorating, interior design, home design
Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

If I weren’t a writer or in publishing, I always thought I’d be a decorator/interior designer (I’m not sure I have the artistic skills for it, but I could try). Although I’ll never make a career of it, I still love decorating at home. My tastes are eclectic, but I’m most drawn to spaces that are comfortable, warm, colourful, and a little whimsical. Books everywhere are a must. (Minimalism? What’s that?) With that in mind, I thought I’d share some pictures I found online of home libraries that inspire me. Hopefully you’ll find something to be inspired by too…

I love the cozy feel of Vita Sackville-West’s library. And you can never go wrong with a tower.

Home Library Inspiration, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com. Books, decorating, interior design, home design, Vita Sackville-West
Author Vita Sackville-West’s Tower Library / photo: Writers´ Houses

Bookcase art, flowers, and a comfy couch– when can I move in?

Floor-to-ceiling books and an old-fashioned library ladder– these are my goals. The arched doorway is a nice touch (although the books wedged in above it are a little painful to look at).

So many books (the climb would be worth it)…

This is just the definition of cozy. I would never leave.

Happy colours, orchids, and built-in shelves. I’m not a fan of the books being used to prop up the coffee table, though.

Based on the way the shelves are set up, this is probably a bookstore, but I don’t even care. I would love a room packed with shelves and featuring a window seat. Great floor too.

This is the perfect reading spot: plenty of books, a comfortable window seat, and a table for working.

Cozy and comfortable. Not to mention those gorgeous sofas.

Everything about this. I need to get a blanket like that for my boring grey couch.

For those of us who can’t afford a Parisian apartment like this one, the look could probably be emulated with wallpaper, paint, and similar furniture. And a whole lot of books ♥

What do you think– do any of these appeal to you? What do you look for in a home library? Minimalism or maximalism? Share in the comments…

What’s a home library without books? Get one for yours:

Aspasia S. Bissas books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw, book, books, free book, free books, freebies, freebie, free ebook, free ebooks, vampire, vampires, dark fantasy, dark romance, historical fiction, gothic fiction, gothic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, horror, dark reads, indie author, indie fiction, strong female protagonist, aspasiasbissas.com

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer paperback, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

5 Reasons to Love E-Books

5 Reasons to Love E-Books, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, aspasiasbissas.com
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Pexels.com

E-books seem to bring out strong opinions in readers. Those who don’t like them will say they don’t smell like books do, or aren’t as attractive on a shelf, or that “real books” don’t need batteries. While those may be valid opinions, the truth is that e-books are just as real as hardcovers, paperbacks, and audio books. People have probably been complaining about changes to their reading material since writers switched from scrolls to bound volumes. And while there’s no reason to give up your preferred book format if you don’t want to, consider that there are several reasons to love e-books…

E-Books Are More Comfortable to Use

Comfort might not be something most people consider when thinking about books, but it can be a real issue. For one, books are heavy. It can get tiring, or even painful, to carry a book (or books) around, and if you like to read in bed, some books are simply too heavy to easily lift while you’re lying down. Eyestrain is another issue readers face. If you have an e-reader, the screen is designed to mimic a printed page– and unlike a regular book, font sizes are adjustable. As well, if you have dry skin you may have noticed that paper pages seem to leach every bit of moisture from your hands, which is unpleasant and can harm your skin (I’ve found that lotion doesn’t always help). This (thankfully) isn’t an issue with e-books.

You Can Carry a Library with You

There’s no way I’m the only person who always dreamed of taking their books with them wherever they went. With e-books, the dream is a reality because you can access thousands on your device. Besides the fun of being able to bring all the books with you, there’s a practical side too. Have you ever brought a book to pass the time, but were close to finishing it and had to bring another one “just in case”? Or have you ever had to take up valuable luggage space with books when going on vacation (I would always either take too many or not enough)? Or maybe you’re a student who has to take textbooks to every class. If you’ve ever needed to bring more than one book with you, e-books are the ideal option.

They’re Better for the Environment

As much as I love physical books, I do feel some guilt whenever I buy a new one. Books are made of paper, which means trees are cut down for them. In some cases the trees are farmed, which isn’t as bad. In other cases, forests are being cut down for paper, which isn’t so good. Some post-consumer recycled paper is used to produce books, but not nearly as much as should be. On top of that, books are heavy and bulky– they use a lot of fuel to transport. And they create a significant amount of waste too. Textbooks, for example, get outdated quickly and are replaced with new editions. What happens to all the old books that are no longer wanted? Some might be recycled– a lot end up in landfills. Same goes with unsold books at bookstores– often the cover will be torn off and returned to the distributor for a refund, while the rest of the book ends up in the trash. Although e-readers come with their own set of issues, you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books (see below). Overall, e-books have a minimal environmental footprint.

Books with Benefits

Imagine you’re reading a great hardcover and you come across a quote you really love. So you whip out a pen and underline the quote right on the page. Or you want to remember where you left off, but there’s no bookmark handy, so you fold the corner of the page down. Did you just shudder a little? E-books have some great features for readers. You can underline or highlight passages, bookmark a page, leave notes for yourself (or others, if you want), and instantly look up the meaning of a word you’re unfamiliar with. You can also report any errors you notice, which is a feature my editor brain particularly appreciates! Those aren’t the only convenient features, either. If you’re the type of person who really likes to interact with a book, e-books might be perfect for you.

E-Books Are a Great Deal

E-books are generally less expensive than physical books. Although it’s not always the case (especially with traditional publishers), many e-books are priced affordably, and some are even free. E-books usually offer free samples too (for example, you can download the first 20% of Love Lies Bleeding free). Because of this, e- books are a great way to discover new authors or try out a genre you don’t usually read.

Bonus: No E-Reader Is Required

You might not realize that you don’t actually need an e-reader to read e-books. Amazon offers a free Kindle app that you can download to a phone, tablet, or computer (or all three), allowing you to read any Kindle-format e-book (also known as mobi files). Apple, Kobo and others offer their own apps, as well. These apps have most of the same features as you would get with an e-reader. E-books also come in other formats, like PDF files, which generally can be read on any device. E-books are accessible to anyone with a device (and since you’re reading this blog post, that means you).

Can you think of other reasons to love e-books? Share in the comments…

Want to give e-books a try? Take advantage of the Smashwords Summer/Winter sale, on until the end of July (Love Lies Bleeding is 25% off!)

July Summer/Winter E-Book Sale at Smashwords! Get Love Lies Bleeding by Aspasia S. Bissas for 25% Off... Books, book, book sale, ebook, ebooks, ebook sale, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, urban fantasy, vampire, vampires, aspasiasbissas.com

Happy reading!

Aspasía S. Bissas

10 Inspiring Attic Libraries

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com, france, paris
Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Pexels.com

I’ve never had a proper attic anywhere I lived, the kind where it’s a large, open space with a high, sloping ceiling and at least one window (in newer buildings “attics” tend to be windowless crawlspaces full of insulation). But I was always fascinated by these spaces. The ones I’d see on TV always seemed mysterious, full of treasures (and dust), maybe a little creepy. I didn’t really start coveting an attic of my own until I realized they could be renovated. The potential seems unlimited for these private bonus spaces, something these attic owners clearly got.  Here are some of my favourite attic libraries, as found around the internet….

  1. I love the floor, as well as the shelves reaching the ceiling. It also looks like there’s plenty of good light for settling in with one of those books.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

2. With stained glass windows and a cozy place to sit, I can picture myself here with a good book and a cup of tea.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

3. This goes to show that no space is too small to turn into something great. As long as you can fit a comfy chair, a bookcase, and some lighting, you have a library.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

4. Though it’s a little dark, I love this attic library. It looks like a room you could happily live in (or at least, I could).

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

5.  Lots of good light, piles of books, cushy floor pillows, and a cup of coffee or tea. What’s not to love?

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

6. Not as many books as there could be, but this is a cozy, elegant library. The ladder is a nice touch too.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

7. This is such a fun, bright space. There’s also good lighting, an excellent choice of seating, ample shelves, and a chandelier. When can I move in?

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

8. This looks like a nice room in which to sit, read, and ignore the world. The window over the couch must offer some great lighting too. I’d love to be here on a rainy day.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

9. I wish I could have found a better photo because I love this library. The red walls, the woodwork, and the Gothic-arch-esque shape around the window give it a Harry Potter feel. I imagine this is what a castle attic would be like.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

10. If I’d had this library during the pandemic, I think lockdown would have been a lot more pleasant. Even without a pandemic, I think it would take a lot to get me to ever leave.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com

Bonus Library: Apparently this is a still from the movie Knives Out. I haven’t seen it, but kudos to the set designer– this is probably the perfect attic library. Books, art, cozy seating, great architecture, and a desk and computer.  This is the room library lovers’ dreams are made of.

10 Inspiring Library Attics, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas, books, book collection, decorating, decor, home, home library, attic, attic reno, attic design, aspasiasbissas.com, knives out

Which attic library was your favourite? Are you lucky enough to have one of your own? Share in the comments…

Looking for something to read in your (real or imagined) attic library? I’ve got you covered…

book covers website banner jpg

Love Lies Bleeding: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Blood Magic: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books
FREE Tooth & Claw: Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books

If you prefer a good paperback to an ebook, use this link to order Love Lies Bleeding from Bookshop – a portion of each sale goes directly to independent bookstores, as well as to myself. Thank you for supporting indie! ♥

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I’m getting ready to move, an event that’s overdue, stressful, exciting, and exhausting. My days are consumed with organizing and packing, with the last couple of weeks focused entirely on books (and no, I’m not done yet). But as I’ve been sorting through them all, I realized I’ve ended up with a small collection of signed copies, which I’ve decided to share here, along with their stories. Enjoy…

The Recipe of Love is a cookbook by the owner of a (sadly, now closed) Ethiopian restaurant in Toronto, Addis Ababa. Aster, the owner, was a big part of the warmth and appeal of Addis Ababa and I didn’t hesitate to buy a copy of her book the first time I was there. Of course she was kind enough to sign it. It’s still one of my favourite cookbooks.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

This obscure little book on photography used to belong to a friend of my SO’s family, Lillith Black. When Lillith was 98, I spent some time reading to her at her nursing home (it was only for a couple of months before she died, unfortunately). My SO’s dad ended up with a few of her things and gave us some of her books, including this one. As I was getting ready to pack it a few days ago, I took a look inside and realized the author had signed it for Lillith. Book friends never really die.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book was a fun find. Written by Terry Jones and illustrated by Brian Froud, this is “Lady Cottington’s” album of pressed fairies (think pressed flowers but slightly grosser). I wasn’t expecting to find this at a hospital fundraising book sale, and was even more surprised when I got home and realized it was signed by the author.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I few years ago I had the pleasure of attending a talk by Anthony Bourdain (RIP) and Eric Ripert. Afterwards they were selling books, including some that were signed. Get Jiro! was one of the few Bourdain books I didn’t already have. Everyone seems to focus on his TV career, but for me his writing was where he really shone.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I bought The Blind Assassin on a whim at a secondhand shop (I’m not normally a Margaret Atwood fan– heresy, I know– but the story sounded interesting). I didn’t get to it for a couple of years and it was only then that I noticed it was signed (I even checked online to make sure it was really her signature– definitely looks authentic). I really need to learn to look inside books right away.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

This next book is my favourite, not only because I loved reading it, but also because of what happened the day I got it. My friend had convinced me to go see Salman Rushdie give a talk. This was sometime after the fatwa had been lifted and I think he was starting to do more events. That talk ended up being inspiring in ways I hadn’t expected. Rushdie touched on what it was like to be a writer and what his process involved…and I could relate. I loved writing and wanted to spend my life at it, but I was new enough that I still had doubts that I had any chance at it, or that I really “belonged” among real writers. But everything Rushdie said that day made sense to me and confirmed what I was doing. This isn’t to say I’ll ever be anywhere close to the talent that he is, but, yeah, I made the right choice with my life (maybe not the sensible choice, but the right one). Afterwards I bought a signed copy of The Enchantress of Florence, and every so often I peek at what other authors are saying about being a writer– just to make sure I’m still on the right track.

Off My Bookshelf blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Off My Bookshelf, blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

 

I have a couple more signed volumes by fairly obscure authors, but I’d already packed them by the time I thought to do this post. How about you– what are the interesting books in your collection? Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

PS: I have signed copies of Love Lies Bleeding available for $21 (S&H incl.; price is for North America). Contact me if you’re interested.

Aspasia S. Bissas's books: Love Lies Bleeding, Blood Magic, Tooth & Claw