On June's bookshelf

Education | Brighten Youth Edu Centre 2 Jun 2020

Now is the time to compile booklists. Even the most devoted bookworms will probably admit they read more in the warmer months. It has always been that way. School holidays come with reading assignments and unstructured hours to fill.

From an early age, reading remains a way of understanding the world without the necessity of experience. As you get older, there are holidays and long journeys. Even with digital distractions, printed pages sometimes hold greater appeal.

One of the booklover’s greatest fears is being stuck between books, wondering what to read next. Don’t worry. You are not alone, and there are - of course - books to help.

Jane Mount’s Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany is a stunning visual celebration that aims to “triple the size of your To Be Read pile.”

Divided into thematic booklists, the work’s goal is to connect the reader with books they might love. Mount hopes to create a “portable bookstore,” evoking the solace she felt in books as a younger person searching for “better worlds.”

Beginning with the picture books of childhood, Bibliophile is interspersed with other literary distractions, including quizzes, trivia and themed double-page spreads.

Mount began the project by working on commissions, and prints of her Ideal Bookshelf can still be acquired online.

Among the most common reoccurring titles chosen are, perhaps predictably, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

Mount admits that she continues to be influenced through her work, reading dozens of titles that she wouldn’t previously have contemplated. Her accumulated knowledge is peppered throughout the book.

Where else would you learn that, despite a life spent collecting chickens, Flannery O’Connor also kept a large flock of peacocks? Or that polemicist

Christopher Hitchens had an asteroid named after him? Or that George Bernard Shaw wrote the works for which he would be most celebrated in a eight foot square writing shed?

Despite being based in the United States, Mount includes works, bookstores and libraries from around the world. She believes that the right book, read at the right moment, has the power to change lives and reshape understanding.

Bibliophile is a stunning work of pure celebration and joy. A comforting addition to your own to be read pile.

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