I love to read. In middle school, I obsessively entered all the reading competitions in my school, winning such prizes as a ski map of Mammoth Mountain and a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. As a teenager, I still loved to read but became more than a little self-conscious about the number of books I owned, so I hid them all in the top of my closet before any friends came over. Luckily, we don’t stay teenagers forever, and I’ve come to embrace my bookishness. While reading has never been a chore for me, figuring out my next book can be difficult. I spend countless hours on sites like Brain Pickings and reading New York Times book reviews, but some of my favorite books are the oldies that turn up in a flea market search or are spotted on a friend’s shelf. I’ve already chosen my picks for the 10 best decorative arts history books. But 10 books just barely scratches the surface of a great library. This column is actually just an excuse for me to buy more books, so if you have suggestions for books that should be in the ultimate inspiration library, let me know.
I’m one of those obsessive travel dreamers, always planning the next trip. And while I enjoy traveling, sometimes there’s nothing better than a little armchair travel. Lately, my armchair traveling has been to Scotland. In my hunt for more books about Scotland, I came across Scottish Country written by Charles MacLean and Christopher Simon Sykes in 1992. The photographs feel a bit dated, but there’s something really charming about how the homes are presented. There are armchairs with worn armrests, stacks of newspapers and magazines — no one cleaned for this shoot, and as much as I enjoy a magazine-perfect home, this just feels right. It’s as though you really stepped into the Scottish countryside. — Amy Azzarito
Photo by Maxwell Tielman
See more photos from Scottish Country after the jump . . .
There are in-depth profiles on diverse homes and the families that live in them — from the fanciest Highlands laird’s estate to a crofter’s stone cottage. But my favorite part is the little historic snippets about Scottish country life. I particularly loved the sections on tartan and tweed, but there are also sections on gardens, romantic paintings and Scottish pottery. If you have an affinity for Scottish design, this would be a great place to start.