Books Can Add Sparkle to a Home

Books Can Add Sparkle to a Home

By Carleton Varney- Special to the Pal Beach Daily News

What are most of my friends doing for entertainment these days? Certainly not going to the movies or to a concert or a live show, and they’re not exercising at the gym and heading to sporting events. Because of the coronavirus crisis, there are no packed stadiums for cheering on your favorite football team or watching the ball bounce across the court during a tennis match.

And as for television, these days, it seems "Shark Tank" and "Antiques Road Show" are all I care to watch. My next-door neighbor announced last night that he no longer watches any news channels — and I have pretty much adopted the same strategy. Life is much more peaceful, as a result.

So what am I doing to occupy my free time? I’m into books — no noise and lots of good news. Classic Book Shop at 310 S. County Road in Palm Beach is one of my go-to places, these days, and fortunately for me it’s next door to SurfSide Diner, one of my favorite spots for an early morning breakfast

I’ve always treated books as treats and collectibles. And although digital books have been embraced by many readers these days, I will always love a traditionally bound book with a handsome cover. I think of my collection of decorating books, filled with lavish photographs and inspiration.

In my previous New York apartment, I had a foyer with ceiling-to-floor shelves lined with books. Colorful book jackets always add sparkle and interest to an entryway, I think. Of course, there was always room on the shelf to place a framed picture or two; I love seeing photos of family and friends.

Many people who don’t have a library in their home choose to add bookshelves to their bedrooms, as the bedroom is their prime reading spot.

And in the family kitchen, we traditionally have seen a shelf or two to hold cookbooks and picture books filled with gourmet delights. Where would my family ever be without the ''The Joy of Cooking,'' an American classic?

A word of advice: Never remove the dust jackets, as a couple of my clients have done so in past years. The jackets are so colorful and filled with often juicy information about the author, always worth reading. I have even seen people arrange their book jackets so the shelves look like a rainbow. What color magic.

Cheers, as we enter March. And please read on.


  • Sheree on

    My husband presented me with your new book yesterday, “Romance & Rhododendrons.” I absolutely love it! It brought back so many wonderful memories of the storied Greenbrier. Your dedication to the hotel is such a part of its history and your love of color is infectious. A Greenbrier experience can be a life changing event. I don’t know how anyone could live without color and flowers after staying there. The place just makes one happy…Dorothy Draper was right.

  • Trossbach Kathleen on

    Carlton remember the delightful old stone library in Nahant with the glass second floor?
    It held a treasury of books.
    Kathy (McGrath) Trossbach

  • Dambro Nancy on

    Currently arranging my library in my new home. It is really a pleasure to go back through all these books, as We decide where they should be in the shelves – and bext to whose picture!

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