Books + Magazines

10 Hot Books That Rock It

April 24, 2012

I don’t know about you, but a bulk of my spare cash goes on books and magazines. I find so much inspiration from them and always have since I was a child. I purchase a slew of books in particular but not just any and all but only ones that truly resonate with me as I don’t want towering bookshelves filled with titles meant to impress my friends – my books are in my home to inspire me and my family.

10 Hot Books That Rock It

I’m a book junkie and I’m not looking for a cure – cookbooks, craft books, vintage and and antique books, decorating, art, hotels, travel, design… I could go on and on and ON listing the topics of interest that catch my eye. A bunch of great titles recently released and since I’m short on time this week, I thought I’d review 10 of my favorites in a single post. There is a #11, by a special and dear friend of mine in London, but I’m saving herbook review as I want to connect with her for a special interview later on… look for that in early May. But for now, here are my top ten picks from my bookcase to yours…

1. First up, Creative Display by Geraldine James, published by Cico Books. This book is gorgeous throughout with wonderful arrangements of things. I love how Geraldine cleverly shows and tells throughout with pages packed with eye candy that inspires.

2. The next book is from my friend and lawyer-turned-sweets stylist, Amy Atlas and it’s called Sweet Designs, published by Hyperion. I’m so proud of you, Amy! We recently had dinner when I was in NYC for work and she told me her dream is to have this book be a best-seller and I’m all about dreams coming true so let’s help her to see her goal, internet! I don’t think she’ll have a problem though,her publisher and publicist ROCK, they book her on television and in the best magazines and newspapers ever so with her talent and the team backing her up there is nothing Amy can’t do. Working women with kids who opt for a mega career change is a pretty big thing, never mind going into something so completely different and taking a massive risk only to land on success after success. Amy is a very sweet and ambitious lady who knows what she wants and sets a course towards getting it. Amy, all the best on your new book – it’s lovely and I wish you much success! xo

3. Another title that caught my eye recently is called Homespun Style by Selina Lake and Joanna Simmons, published by Ryland Peters and Small. This book is very pink, very girly and loaded with white, floral prints and pastel colors. It’s total cotton candy sweetness that fans of Shabby Chic, Flea Market style and the handmade movement can really get behind. It’s filled with the homes of bloggers too, which makes it a very approachable book filled with ‘real’ interiors. This is the third decorating book by Selina, each one she authors is by theme – the first was Bazaar Style, then Romantic Style and now Homespun Style. Great job, Selina – congratulations!

4. Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi isn’t a new book but it still feels like it despite that it was published in 2010.  It is a breathtaking look at Nordic cooking like nothing you’ve ever seen before, authored by the very chef who runs a restaurant under the same name in Denmark. Foodies from all over the world visit Noma for the experience of it all – hence the incredibly difficult task of booking a table there. This book isn’t a cookbook, it’s mostly inspirational and filled with huge images of food and is effortlessly stylish and top notch.

5. Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson is another book authored by a personal friend. Published by Chronicle Books, Nichole is a first time author and her book just rolled out in good book stores everywhere along with shops like Anthropologie where it’s the perfect fit. I’m so proud of Nichole and love seeing her photos published so beautifully. Her journey began as simply blog content and an etsy shop and today, she’s authoring a book that no doubt will do extremely well and lead her to a million paths I love seeing dear friends find success through their blogs, it’s such an inspiration. My copy arrived this morning and I read the introduction immediately and went through the book page-by-page to take in the many beautiful photos. Great work Nichole and also a big thanks to her husband Evan because we all know that writing a book is a family affair!

10 Hot Books That Rock It

6. I’m a new Sophie Dahl fan and fell in love with her latest cookbook, Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes. She is so likeable and brilliant, I find her take on food refreshing and her books charming and well designed. I think it’s so cool that this model-turned-author is the granddaughter of Roald Dahl, a famous short story writer who became one of the most successful and beloved children’s writers of all time – have you heard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? That’s Roald Dahl’s work. Anyway, Sophie’s book is wonderful and inspirational and makes me want to cook, yum!

7. Ever since finding SY – LOVE FOR TEXTILES in my local IKEA, I’ve been telling everyone about it. It’s a gorgeously tactile book with some of the best styling and layouts ever, it’s breathtaking and gave me tons of ideas for drapes in my home – it even inspired me to make the linen curtains in my kitchen last week. This book takes a very visual, creative approach to textiles and making – there are few words and not a single do-it-yourself instruction but somehow I don’t feel those things were needed because the photos alone were worth a thousand words – what a wonderful book!

8. Bringing Nature Home by photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo is a heavenly book on floral arranging. My mother will love —  I have to send her a copy because she has a background in floral design so it will really resonate with her and may inspire her to arrange flowers more often. Even if you don’t have a natural leaning towards decorating with flowers this book will convert you and make you a believer in sprucing up your space with gorgeous blooms in lush vases, baskets, jars and urns. I love how this book was styled and photographed – it’s my current favorite book on floral design and was really needed in the market as so many of them are quite old-fashioned and frumpy. This one is stunning, fresh, a must have!

9. The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist is the latest author from Ryland Peters and Small that seems to have a huge future ahead of him. The images inside are gorgeous and his styling is superb – I like how he intentional messes up things a bit to make them imperfectly perfect. I can’t wait to sit down and read it when I get some spare time – I’m interested in learning his take on natural interiors, too.

10. And last, but not least, is Interiors by Martyn Thompson. (Note: It’s already available in the UK here, but won’t be out in the US until May 1.) This amazing photographer has been commissioned by top publications all over the world for over 20 years and has decided to do his own book sharing his favorite homes. What a great idea for a photographer to author a book like this for interiors – congrats, Martyn on having the courage to take the leap and much success to you!

These are just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more books out there that I love and find inspirational but for now, I’ve edited my picks down to ten. I hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up and stay tuned for my surprise author interview next month, a friend of mine just wrote a lovely book and I’ll be doing a special interview with her soon, too!

Books rock! What are YOU reading?

(image: holly becker)

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  • Reply Coco April 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I just bought two books about photography, can’t wait until they arrive! First is The Luminous Portrait from Elizabeth Messina (checkout her blog! Its amazing!) second is Picture Perfect Practice from Roberto Valenzuela. I really want some books from this review: Interiors by Martyn Thompson was on my wish list for two weeks already! I saw it on the instagram from Pia Jane Bijkerk oh and I really Really want her book as well. And I still need to buy your book!!! Book addicted for sure! =)

  • Reply Audrey - This Little Street April 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I have SY too and love that book! I was so surprised to like a book from IKEA that much, didn’t expect it to be honest :)

  • Reply Athena April 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Love what you’ve selected here… NOMA is one of my favorites. I’d love to get a hold of SY and Interiors and Sophie’s book… Pretty much all of them :) Nigel Slater’s recently released (in the U.S.) book Ripe is another must-have with gorgeous photography and recipes centered on fruit.

  • Reply Samira April 24, 2012 at 7:11 pm


  • Reply Alexis April 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Oh no, more books to feed my own personal addiction :) Thank you for sharing some, I’m always looking for good books. And Sophie Dahl’s book has been eating at the back of my mind lately, I really want to get it!

  • Reply Ashley {GirlyObsessions} April 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    What a great list! I own some of these but now I know I have more I need to add to my collection!

  • Reply lebenslustiger April 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Oh I’m always looking forward to your book recommendations Holly – always such great finds! Thanks so much!

  • Reply desiree - vosgesparis April 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Great choice.. I went to Milan and picked up a copy of an amazing book from fashion designer Antonio Marras his collection is based on traditional woman clothes rom Sardegna and I love it for that There is so much history in a modern way ;)

  • Reply sue April 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I love Sophie Dahl can’t wait to read her new book ………… I’ve been sorting my own bookcase out today so have made a space x

  • Reply Piazzan April 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for the tips…… I have to look for some of them … * :)

  • Reply nichole April 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you Holly! Not only for mentioning Paris in Color, but for all the lovely book recommendations. Off to Amazon. ;)

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator April 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I’m also loving Joy the Baker’s new cookbook and La Tartine Gourmande (talk about the most beautifully photographed and styled book). And I Brake for Yard Sales by Lara Spencer also has some great flea market tips (full disclosure, i did edit the book but I promise it’s awesome!)

  • Reply Ría April 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Thanks for the recomendations!!

  • Reply Flora April 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I am loving ‘Modern Vintage Style’ by Emily Chalmers of Caravan London which I delightedly borrowed from my local library.

  • Reply Cara @ Live The Home Life April 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Great picks! I can’t wait to read The Natural Home (totally my imperfect makes perfect style) and Amy Atlas’s book.


  • Reply Trina April 24, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I can’t wait to get a copy of Paris in Color. And I’m so glad you posted about Sophie Dahl’s new book (saw on your Instagram the other day). I had no idea she had a new cookbook out. Loved her first one and can’t wait to see the new one!
    Hope you are well!
    xo . trina

  • Reply Bonnie McCarthy April 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I like big books and I cannot lie! (Okay, I stole that from a tote bag..) Anyway, yes! thanks for sharing your selection -can’t wait to check them out!

  • Reply Glenda Childers April 25, 2012 at 12:29 am

    a beautiful stack.

  • Reply Kim April 25, 2012 at 12:38 am

    I just finished reading Rooms by Katie Ridder and I’ve moved onto ‘House Beautiful The Home Book’. Waiting in the wings is The Meghan Method: The Step-By-Step Guide to Decorating Your Home in Your Style by Meghan Carter and Fresh American Spaces by Annie Selke. On order from Amazon is The Happy Home Project by Jean Nayar and because I loved the HGTV special Friday night so much I ordered I Brake for Yard Sales by Lara Spencer.

  • Reply Jaclyn April 25, 2012 at 1:51 am

    oh no more books to buy! adding these to the list….

  • Reply Tina Ramchandani April 25, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Oh god Holly, I was trying to save money but now I’m going to end up buying each of these books! Thanks :)

  • Reply Karena April 25, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Holly some great selections here! Thanks for the reviews!!
    Art by Karena

  • Reply Kate @ Songs Kate Sang April 25, 2012 at 4:51 am

    I absolutely love historical fiction. I just finished the Bean Tree by Barbara Kingsolver. I am in the middle of the Book Thief and love it!

  • Reply design elements April 25, 2012 at 5:43 am

    wonderful list, Holly! I ordered Creative Display yesterday. I’m reading the new Jennifer Post Pure Space. It’s stunning. Happy Wednesday

  • Reply paintdropskeepfalling April 25, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Holly your book recommendations are solid! I’m reading The Tartin Gourmade which I bought last week after you showed it.

  • Reply Sacred & Profane Designs April 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I will definately check the “Creative Display” book. It will be a great source of inspiration for the styling of my etsy product photos!

  • Reply Sacred & Profane Designs April 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I will definately check the “Creative Display” book. It will be a great source of inspiration for the styling of my etsy product photos!

  • Reply Tracy A. April 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    What wonderful inspiration! I am adding them to my booklist!

  • Reply nana April 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    dear holly! thanks for this great book recommendations- paris in colour looks very interesting! in my shelve there are many interior books byTASCHEN VERLAG and as well cooking books. my fav is “Sophies Cakes” by Sophie Dudemaine!

  • Reply Daniel - Let me be inspired April 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Hi, Thanks for the tips, I will check them out!! Have a great day!!

  • Reply Elizabeth April 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm


    Thank you for the great recommendations, while I have a few of these books I now see a few that I must put on my list.

    I love Nichole from Little Brown Pen, this book is amazing! I am so excited for her.

    Have a great day! Elizabeth

  • Reply JUURI April 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    “New Paris Interiors” The above-and-beyond chicness will blow your mind! This is not the type of stuff you can readily find on Pinterest or DIY blogs. This book single-handedly changed my design style ^^/

  • Reply Rachel April 26, 2012 at 1:28 am

    love books!!……and what a fantastic slection you have shared with us!!
    I purchased “Homespun Style” by selina Lake a few months ago + I LOVE it!!! Its just full of the most amazing photos + inspiration!! If you are vintage fan this book is for you!! When my creation comes to a halt I pick up this book everytime!! Highly recommend this book!!

  • Reply Yeshen April 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

    thanks for these, we actually met Selina Lake as she came into our Columbia Road shop promoting a craft fair she was organising in East London.

    I would add ‘Making a House Your Home’ by Claire Nolan to this list, includes some great style ideas:

  • Reply Manon April 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Bonnie April 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I am a book junkie too. I love searching through second hand book stores and thrift shops for books. They are great places to find not only great books but also great values on books, especially ‘coffee table’ books! I agree that the books in your home should be a reflection of you and your family, but I also think it is nice to have a few classics mixed in.

  • Reply tasselflower (Mervi) April 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Interesting selection. Homespun Style sounds really something for me, so must check it out.

    I saw that book (SY – LOVE FOR TEXTILES) at Ikea just recently and was prejudiced. So prejudiced I didn’t even bother to see it up close. Your description makes it sound good, so maybe I’ll give it a chance next time! :)

  • Reply merri cvetan April 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I love books too and always end my day by reading some great fiction. But I collect old design books (from the 70s back to the 1800s). I never pass up an old book on etiquette and manners. It’s amazing how things have changed in the last 175 years! Books on party planning and table setting always offer inspiration.

  • Reply v April 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    SY love for textiles is really good, I really liked it, just blogged about it couple of days ago:) you can see Hans Blomquist was the art director, same style as his new book, The Natural Home, which I love a lot…thank you for couple more tips!

  • Reply Margarita Lorenzo April 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I spend my money on books and magazines but they are worth it, nothing bit my morning coffee and reading, just the books and myself quite at home. I got a few of this titles, recently attended Selina’s launch and today got s copy signed by Sania of her latest book, I got to make a nice gift tag and chat to other bloggers and designers at Liberty.

  • Reply Jill Moo April 27, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Thanks Holly, good post.

    I’m also getting Sophie Dahl’s book this weekend… need some “me” time soon enough, and leave my two-year-old toddler to my husband for a couple of hours for a change. :)


  • Reply Kylie April 28, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I loved this post, I’m always looking for GOOD books to read out there – thanks for the insights :)

  • Reply Eva April 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for the great post! I really love visual books, especially craft and interiour design books! At the moment I am very inspired by Caroline Clifton Mogg’s The Comforts of Home and Clare Nolan’s Making a House your Home, plus Denyse Schmidt’s Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration.

  • Reply Viktorija April 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Great post about the books, thank you :). You should love Rachel Khoo new book “Little Paris Kitchen” – english girl that cooks french food. Really easy and so yummy:)… She has her programme on BBC as well, not to watch with empty stomach… Dangerous :)

  • Reply jennifer April 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I bought the “Paris in Color” book because of this post!!
    It hasn’t shipped yet but I am SO EXCITED to get it!!!

    When I was in Paris I had a horrible old-school point and shoot camera and I think disposables (ugh) and my photos are NOT great. I think this will make up for it!

    Love your recommendations!

  • Reply Janet May 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    omgosh! I am so a book junkie too. Now I have to add these to my amazon list. Oh my! ;)

  • Reply designmixer May 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks for all your great suggestions Holly! You are being a true guide and inspiration for people enjoying interior design.. Lots of Love Tijen

  • Reply Lindsey @ arkadian belle woods May 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I am a book junkie too! Funny – I have most all of these books! I’ll be sure to get my hands on the ones that I don’t but I lovvveee SY! I found that at my Ikea last year sometime. It was hidden on a book shelf not near the check out so I was blown away when I found it!

  • Reply Debbie W March 11, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Holly, I’m not sure if you’ll ever read a comment posted nearly a year late, but noticed we must be “kindred spirits” as we have almost the same book collection. So, I feel sure you would also love Vintage Flowers by Vic Brotherson – it’s gorgeous!

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