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Living room with built in bookshelves full of books arranged by color, dark wood floor, white armchair with an ikat accent pillow and an upholstered blue ottoman with black legs, a sisal rug and a round wood table holding more books and a flower arrangement
Photo: Windsor Smith Room in a Box

Warning: Anyone in school, students for sure, do not read this post! It is a cautionary tale as to what has happened to one girl (me) after she entered the workplace and stopped reading…kind of like the story of the Grinch or Scrooge or something like that…so watch out…here goes…

Oh what I wouldn’t do for an extra moment to curl up with a good book. In yesterday’s post, I admitted that as of late, I don’t have a moment to read words…I only look at pictures in books, newspapers and magazines…I go straight for the pictures…eeek. I used to read a lot and really enjoy it. I looked forward to burying myself in a wonderful novel…I even had favorite authors way back when. I enjoyed reading good long articles in Vanity Fair, Time (way back when they had long articles)…now I look at pictures in InTouch and US Weekly. Thank goodness I have a good education behind me…otherwise, my mind would officially be mush!

So my time for reading has been cut down to zero. I know. Terrible. Considering I come from a family where reading/academics has always been a priority. In fact, my inability to read got so bad that this weekend when my sister handed me an article from the L.A. Times (something to do with MOCA) and said, “Coco read this article…it is so interesting!”, I looked at her like she was an alien of sorts. My eyes became as big as saucers and I thought, “Read?”. Sis DS kept pushing the paper towards me while chatting on, “Oh this is the most interesting article. Really. Did you see it yet? You’ve got to read it. You won’t believe what happened.” My mother was watching this whole scene, I think amused as to what would take place next. I panicked a bit…What was my sister asking me here with this newspaper article…she’s asking me to read…take the time out of my busy schedule to read something? What? What was she thinking? Where does one start when they read…the beginning…I assume? How long would this reading business take? Ahhhhhhh…yikes…help…I feel the walls and ceiling coming in on me…I can’t read!!! Finally, I responded by pushing the newspaper back to her and saying, “Uhm just tell me what it says.” Wow. It was at that moment that I realized I have really entered into a literary abyss. I don’t know how to read anymore…my mind is always racing onto the next task, activity, function…I don’t know how to read! HELP!!!!

Anyhooooo…need to just forget that I can’t read for right now…it gives me too much anxiety…no time to read…am I losing my smarts…am I becoming a mush brain? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Never mind…back to pictures, pretty things and holiday wishes….la la la la. In all seriousness (or at least in partial seriousness), I do wish in some world that someone would give me a bit of time to read in the coming year…I also wish for some of these wonderful built-in bookshelves to house all of the wonderful books I will be reading…

Books at their best…built-in shelves that work…decorative and functional. I love a shelf that surrounds a doorway like the one in the Windsor Smith room above or shelving that takes up a whole wall…love love love!

Hence this post…my wish…a bit of time to curl up and read…not a lot of time…just a bit of time.

Living room with floor to ceiling built in bookshelf stuffed with books and a tv, a brown sofa, a coffee table made out of twigs with a glass top, wood floor, grey walls, and a powder blue Louis XIV chair with a red and white accent pillow
Photo: Eric Cohler

Dark wood writing desk with shelves full of books and trinkets
Photo: Anthony Cochran Design

Library with floor to ceiling bookshelf full of books, parquet wood tiling, two wing back armchairs, a Moroccan rug, and a coffee table with wood legs and a glass top
Photo: Selldorf Architects

Living room with built in bookshelf full of books, dark wood floor, white sofa and matching armchairs with purple accent pillows, a zebra print rug and two lamps with blue bases and white shades on round dark wood side tables
Photo: John Barman

What do you think of built-in shelves? Where would you most want a nook in your house to read? What have you read as of late? Any recommendations in case my wish for “time to read” comes true?

Happy Wednesday! Happy Holidays.


P.S. Head over to my COCOCOZY TWITTER to see a photo I took yesterday showing just a bit of the havoc the rain is causing in Los Angeles and So. Cal! I got caught in it yesterday a bit. If you live out here, stay safe and dry…if you live elsewhere in the country dealing with bad weather, the same goes to you. Tweet me and let me know if you plan to stay home…cozy…out of the rain and weather or if you have to be out in it! xo

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  1. At least you’re still writing! Your education is not a complete waste and your mind not complete mush 🙂 Thanks for all the pictures for us so we don’t have to read either!

  2. I think one of the neatest dining rooms I ever saw (not in person but in a magazine) was a small, very intimate room that was completely lined in bookcases, and painted a dark, moody blue. It had a round table that only sat four. I still think about that room. Books create such a coziness.

  3. Well you’ve hit upon my first love and weakness. I also come from a more academic background and worked in publishing for years. Books are my weakness as any of my readers know – and bookcases of any sort are my aesthetic dream. Ever since blogging, my time has been usurped by researching and finding appropriate imagery instead of reading all the books by my bedside. My new year’s resolution is to make more time to read!!

  4. I really like bookcases too. The books they store offer insight into the personalities of the people who live there. It’s kind of fun to see what is on their shelves, sort of like peeking into a closet! Great images, and post – I love the first photo with the books arranged by color. Very chic display!

  5. Love all the photos, and LOVE books! I read them, collect them, and agonize over how to store and display them…

    My favorite photo is the first one with the books arranged by color. I just did that in my huge bookcase in my bedroom and love the effect! They’re all design books in that space, and it seems appropriate that they would add to the pulled-together look in my private sanctuary…

  6. I laughed so hard I had to read a part of this to my husband! For not being much of a reader, you’re still a fantastic writer! 🙂 I enjoy your blog so much. Keep writing! And keep reading! When the chance does come…and it will. I’m sure it’s more of a culture thing…I think we all find ourselves trapped in the picture-dictionary world of media…but you’ll get through and when you do, enjoy your pile of books!!! I loved the pictures of the libraries….ah, shelves…

  7. I am a reader, no matter what : ) I squeeeeeze it in! Usually late!
    Just finished The Distant Hours by Kate Morton!
    I posted, have a look, lots of pictures and a clip to watch!
    I love build ins for books and hope my bedroom will be finally re-done for perfect reading……
    LOVE your post!

    xoxo Victoria

  8. I love books and fantastic bookcases but also haven’t had the time or money for either. I just took my chldren and myself to the local library to get library cards after living here for 3 years. Something about being a mom leaves no time for personal reading and the kids had just been getting books from the library at school; one of my New Year’s resolutions is to change that. I’m slowly adding cheap bookcases from target as our budget allows to wrap around the corner wall from our living room to front door area and we’re filling them up as soon as we purchase the shelves as we have a generous collection of books. I’m planning to add some wood trim once done buying bookcase to dress them up a tad. I’d love to someday be able to afford ‘nice’ bookcases but I’m already loving walking into our home and our books being among the first things I see so even the cheap shelves are turning out to be worth it.

  9. Mmmm, books! My favorite thing ever! Love all the library rooms but, I’ve gotta agree with Alice, color coded books is a giant NO. The first thing I always think when I see color coded shelves is, “They don’t read!”. 🙂

  10. Dear Coco,

    PART 1
    As lovely as the libraries you showed are –and they are lovely– I would advise you to forgo books. Here’s why:

    Like you, I live in a miniscule space, and like you I had always been a big reader. My NYC apartment was crammed to the ceiling with books: books in the living room, in the closet, in the kitchen…. oh my gosh.

    My husband got me an iPod Touch to which I downloaded Kindle. I then spent three years culling my library to the bare necessities: books I’ll never find again or those which I use frequently and are unavailable in digital form. Also, books with pictures: art books, decor and architecture books, atlases. But everything else was donated to street vendors or the library.

    I can’t tell you what a difference this has made. Our chronic dust problem is gone — but gone. I kept three bookcases but put pictures in frames on the shelves along with art objects. The apartment is much more livable.

    Of course, I live in NYC and we have an amazing public library system, so I can borrow most anything I’d like.

    Now, the Kindle takes some getting used to: it does not provide the sensual experience that comes with holding a book. Nonetheless, I have adapted and now actually prefer it.

    PART 2
    I’m sorry you don’t get to read, but I feel that you are being hard on yourself. You blog, you have a life, and so on. You’ll find your way back, I’m sure.

    Thanks for blogging; I look at your site every day.



  11. For the past few month I have been thinking built in book shelves. I’m just torn between putting them in this spacious area below my stairs or along the open area (gallery style)on the first floor.
    If you have any more ideas on these lines please do let me know.

  12. I think I became hooked on blogs, due to the “lack of time” I have to read! I envy those who have “time” to read! One day….I will read again, too. Love this blog!

  13. Dear Coco,
    Books sit on every horizontal surface of our house. We have planned on a library from the start of our multi-year, whole house renovation. Many of our books are paperback, and not gorgeous objects in themselves, but they contain worlds. I hope you find the time, not vast stretches, just moments here and there…it won’t take long. You’ll find yourself immersed. Books are powerful metaphors, but their real value is always between the covers. I hope you find your way back to reading. Seems like you’re almost there.

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