Friday, 12 April 2013

A stack of book benches for World Book Day


World Book Day is April 23rd, though here in the UK it was March 7th this year because in Britain we always have to be slightly awkward. Back in March I asked some of the people I know, both real and imaginary, to comment on their reading habits. I've also found a stack of wonderful new book benches to show you. 

Here is Bill Woodrow's Sitting on History book bench. I saw it at Cass Sculpture Park in Sussex but there seems to be one at the Milton Keynes Mall and another one in London in the lobby of the British Library. 



my photograph, 2009

My husband, His Excellency: This bench is admirable but it wouldn't suit me. When I read I like a nice comfy armchair. I'm partial to a good log fire and a glass of red and a china plate with a sliver of a locally-made cheese from the deli in Fribble. After a spot of reading I like to go for a smoke on the deck and look out over the marsh. Then 

Sorry. If commenters could keep it short please.

These books are nicely filed and you can sit where you find them. 

image from www.justinillusions.co.uk


His Excellency: Well, these are pleasant enough and it looks like good quality oak but as I said, I like

I'm going to cut in here and show you an amazing book bench from Jacqueline Le Bleu in Amsterdam. It's called Booked and it's made from real books with linen covers. 



image from http://www.facebook.com/boekenbank?ref=hl

You can get a table to go with it and you can even order one made in your favourite colours.


image from www.lebleu.nl

Miggy, my best imaginary friend: This is a beautiful bench and I saw it when I was in Amsterdam. I wasn't sure it would hold me. When I travel I  like to eat a lot, for example, here is a picture of me having some chips in the Dutch town of Oldenzaal.





Note to readers: the Booked bench will definitely take weight. It has been very cleverly designed with a solid frame. 

Note to forum contributors: please could you stick to the topic of BOOKS.

Troy recently came to Paradise Island from his home in Dry Heaves, Minnesota. 




Troy, as an experienced pilgrim, what are your favourite book benches?

Troy: At the moment I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I can't put it down. 

And I'm very fond of sea stories.





Miggy: Buoys will be buoys I guess. 

Of course the adventure books of childhood are always a treasure, whatever your expectations. 


https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonylibrarian/2665193069

Troy: Yes, when I read I feel that I'm in Wonderland. I'm captivated.





Tamsin is a local girl who works in the pharmacy. Though she has a Not Quite Competent certificate in handing out prescriptions, I'm not sure if she can read.





Tamsin: I have a sweet little necklace that my boyfriend Root gave me. It's a woman on a bench reading a book. I wonder what book it is?


http://www.etsy.com/shop/yaelandtal

Eddie, my Inner Editor, who happens to be a primate:  Ohhhhh, it has to be The Jungle Book for me.  




Thank you, Eddie. I'm glad someone is sticking to the subject. 

Eddie:  Or Tarzan. Or Planet of the Apes. Or King Kong. 

Some people describe themselves as Book Nuts. I'm not exactly sure what a Book Nut is, but here's a bench that might help.



image from www.etsy.com/shop/wallacewhimsies

If you're nutty about books you probably like bookshops. Here in Fribble-under-Par we're very proud to have our own independent bookshop.




His Excellency: It's funny how the Honesty Pipe idea hasn't caught on at Waterstones or Borders.

You may prefer the old bookshops of Paris. And you'd like the parks too. In St. Germain there is a little park near the Institut de France which has some lovely and much-photographed book benches:



image from http://www.architectdesign.blogspot.com

The Randolph Rose Collection in New York is the kind of thing you might see in libraries, schools or gardens. If you like, you can have readers added to your Stack of Books bench.
www.randolphrose.com
www.randolphrose.com

Mrs. Paragon, my neighbour: These children seem very well behaved compared to my own children. My Virtue was a little terror.






Virtue: I resent that. I was a model of good behaviour. Still am.


BOOKS, people, please.

The book benches gave me an idea: I thought it would be witty to make a book bench out of books about benches. And then people could sit on the book bench and read about benches.


https://www.flickr.com/photos/120479937@N08/14301006467

Mungo, my imaginary husband: And just where are you going to find all these books about benches? I'll bet you can't even name one.

Errrr. Maybe not at the moment. Ask me later. 

Right now I'm trying to get through this post and it's proving difficult because I've involved too many people. I can see that now.

Tamsin: I think it's lovely that you have invited people from Fribble-under-Par to talk together. No one feels excluded. We are all friends. 

Biff, one of the Fribble Agro gang: Speak for yourself. This town is full of losers.





What part of the word BOOKS don't you people understand?

So now, two philosophical questions: 


  1. with the dominance of digital online publications, will the function of hard copy books become only as objects of art?
  2. book benches outside - a good idea? 
My imaginary friend Fenestra is a nurse. 




image from www.projectgutenberg.org

She thinks everyone will have to make up his or her own mind on these questions. 


Fenestra: Everyone will have to make up his or her own mind on these questions.

In answer to question two, this bookshop in Duvall, Washington thinks benches outside are a good idea. They've put a book bench right outside their shop. The bench is made entirely of books. 



image from Joe Mabel on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duvall_WA_Bench_of_books



It’s a funny thing with book benches. Once outside, they aren't going to last long. In Quebec in 2010 40,000 books and wood plates were left outside to decay and dissolve in a garden. Is this a good thing do you think?

Miggy:  I once tried to read War and Peace. That lasted too long. I find that popcorn works quite well when you're bored with your book. I like it salted with 




Enough about food, Migs. What do you feel about the decaying books?

Miggy:  I wish War and Peace had been one of them. 

Tell you what, Migs. Here's an old photo I took of you. It's not very flattering. 

You're on a bench with a book that's appropriate to your, ahem, circumstances. It's called Eat Yourself Slim. 





Miggy:  Never read it. Never did it. Took one look and went back to the popcorn.

Moving swiftly on. 

What about this brilliant newspaper bench? It's made from 334 recycled newspapers and three metal bars; that's all. No screws, no nails, no glue.


His Excellency: This is very amusing. I would like to sit on the newspaper bench whilst reading The Sunday Times.

Virtue:  You need to get a life.

Miggy's mum:  Is this strong enough to sit on? Even for Miggy?

Indeed it is. Here's proof.



www.oscarlhermitte.com



Some people like to join a reading group. Mungo started a reading group here in Fribble-under-Par. However, this meeting doesn’t look very successful. Our cats Melissa and Rosie say that next time they’re not letting Mungo choose the book. 




Mungo:  What's wrong with A Complete History of Calculus?

Mind you, a cat may not be the best judge of what makes a good book. 

Here is Meredith, one of my many guest editors on this blog. 





Meredith:  I am an extremely well-read cat. But some people hire a cat as a guest editor and then don't take full advantage of their skills.

I'm going to stop you right there, Meredith.

Meredith's right though. It's well known that cats go together with books.



image from http://www.artshaman.com


In my experience, if a cat's on a bench, with or without a book, it tends to be sleeping.

Meredith:  I personally don't have any problem sleeping. When I guest edited the Bench Town St. Helier post I kept nodding off and this had a detrimental effect on

Yes, quite. 

My dog Sit: I am finding this particular post too cat-centric.

You're right, Sit. I'll redress the balance here by showing my imaginary friend Fenestra's dog Fudge reading a bus timetable.





Eddie: As ever, your editing skills are abysmal. This is not a book bench of any sort. It is merely someone ON a bench. And Fudge is not reading the timetable, he's just holding it.

Let's get back to books. Here is a book bench which is designed by a company which supplies furniture to public libraries. Book benches feature strongly:


image from http:www.nansengroup.net

Lord Brassica is the Fifth Earl of Drizzly. Here he is with his beloved 1947 Landrover.





Lord B:  I don't think I've ever been in a library.

Eddie:  Don't they have libraries at Eton?

Lord Brassica: They do, yes, but when I was eight I read such a good book I never needed to read another one.

Miggy:  What was the book?

Lord Brassica:  I don't remember. It had a yellow cover.

It's great to see a forum-like thing going on here. Would anyone else like to join in? 

Lady Jessica Brassica: I hire someone to read to me while I bathe in the evenings. 






I subscribe to a reading service called Young Male Readers dot com. They send the loveliest young men. Some of them can actually read

Here is Phil, her Young Male Reader for tonight. He's wondering how much time he's got for reading War and Peace. He's worried that even an extracted version will cause him to miss the midnight ferry. 


© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos


Root is the eldest son of Lord Brassica. He's well known for being drunk on the benches of Fribble but he's not bright enough to be truly disorderly.





Root: I can't see the point of reading. 

Eddie:  Here's the bench for you. You can start with this one and work your way through the alphabet.

 www.levelsofdiscovery.com

Root:  Good idea. What comes after A?

Looks like there's a real interest in books here in Fribble and Drizzly. Maybe we ought to start a reading group?

Rosie and Melissa: We tried that. It was dire.

Mungo: What's wrong with Everything You Might Need to Know About Electrical Circuitry?

Miggy: Sorry, Mung. If we do get a reading group started I don't think we'll let you choose the books.

What about one of those Leave A Book on A Bench schemes like they have in cities? Would that work in Fribble and Drizzly do you think?

Everyone in Fribble:  No. 

OK, fine, we'll move on then.

You may find yourself wanting to make some notes about your book. If so, you’ll need a pencil bench for that. 

image from www.boex.com

This one contains 1600 pencils and you can take out any that you need and write with them. And each pencil is individually sprung so apparently the bench is comfortable. 



image from www.boex.com

Eddie:  Could be useful for editing. If I ever get my job back.

Virtue: Yeah, when is Eddie coming back? We love Eddie.

Root:  Yeah. Bring Back Eddie!

Tamsin:  It would be lovely to see Eddie back. 

Mrs. Paragon:  In my opinion Eddie was an excellent editor. 

Lord Brassica:  Eddie is a jolly nice chap.




We'll see. 

In the meantime, I would like to finish this post. I am editing it by myself and finding it extremely difficult. 

Meredith:  You shouldn't have fired me then, should you?

Eddie:  You shouldn't have been there, Meredith. You took my job.

Meredith:  Tough luck, Zoobreath.

I'm going to give up now.

Whatever you do or did on World Book Day, I hope you find or found yourself a good book and a nice bench to read it on. 



 www.etsy.com/shop/leatherarts

For World Book Day 2017 I tried to have a Quiet Read but it didn't turn out that way. For World Book Day 2015 check out a whole new stack of book benches. Libraries under threat, militant librarians, Dewey Decimal ducks - the good people of Fribble have something to say about it all!


Credits

Sitting on History is by Bill Woodrow, 1995 at www.billwoodrow.com  I photographed this bench at Cass Sculpture Park in 2009. 

I hope this forum has convinced you that here on Paradise Island we are literate and extremely learned folk. For more about the book-reading citizens of Fribble and Drizzly, see who's who in Fribble-under-Par.  And see how we celebrate National Poetry Day at http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/poetry-please-benches-for-national.html


I have two husbands. One is Mungo, my imaginary husband, who features in lots of Benchsite stories. Mungo and I were married at an imaginary wedding in Las Vegas many years ago. My other husband is His Excellency, who has a reputation for destruction, even when he means well. He's a philosopher and, to say the least, not a very practical person. He blames this on his schooling, which focused mostly on woodwork. Mungo, on the other hand, keeps a good workbench. Read about both of them at  http://benchsite.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/workbench-wonders-two-husbands-lots-of.html  And should you be further interested, you can read about the chaos at Valentine's Day

The oak book benches were made for Clarkston Primary School in North Lanarkshire in 2010. They were photographed by Justin Wilson whose website is at www.justinillusions.com

The Booked bench is by designer Jacqueline le Bleu at www.bleu.nl  The artist describes it as 'a tribute to the book'. It is from the Emerging Benchmarks mobile exhibit of benches designed from reclaimed materials. Jacqueline Le Bleu will create benches or tables in your favourite colours. Her Booked bench features as B in the full alphabet of Dutch benches.

Troy breezed into our town this summer. He's very well read and his occupation is Pilgrim. He knows a lot about Turkey benches. Apart from that, 1) he comes from Dry Heaves, Minnesota, where he learned to read poetry in a particularly alluring voice  2) he never wears shoes  3) he is extremely polite and calls ladies Ma'm 4) he speaks a lot of languages fluently 5) he carries a manbag filled with books, a violin and a ladder in case anyone needs to be rescued. 

The book bench with four children's books was photographed in 2008 at the Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling, Illinois. The photographer is Anthony Auston, who is a point and shoot librarian. That's what it says in his profile. I think the point and shoot bit is probably his camera. https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonylibrarian/2665193069

The woman reading on the tiny green bench is a necklace from the jewelry collection of Yael and Tal at http://www.etsy.com/shop/yaelandtal  They have all sorts of bench jewelry in their etsy shop. Their facebook page is at www.facebook.com/yaelandtal

Tamsin Pink is a sweet local girl who works here in Fribble-under-Par in the Not Quite Good Enough pharmacy. Tamsin is the Queen of Cute and she's very sweet but golly, she's not a bright budgie. Still, she has a unique perspective on benches. And if you think my love life is complicated, you ought to see Tamsin's

The statue of a child reading on a bench is called Captivated. It's in the public library in St. Helier in Jersey. That's in the Channel Islands, where Meredith the cat helped me find all the best benches in St. Helier


Eddie is my Inner Editor, who just happens to be a primate. If you've seen much of Benchsite you will know what a problem Eddie is for me. He has ruined helped me edit the post about my swimming bench and the Blue Monday benches.  He interfered with stepped in to help with the Orange bench mystery. However, he has a habit of setting his own agenda with the benches. Look what a mess he made great job he did on St. George's Day . And as for my Red benches in February? No wonder I was very grateful seeing red. I've had a bit of a break from him as he's been in Mexico for a while. Now he's back and the primate pictures are in danger of overwhelming my stories.

Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, is a gentleman farmer here on Paradise Island. He loves his horse Tonks, his dog Pru,and his 1947 Landrover, in that order. He indulges his wife, Lady Jessica Brassica with a replica mall in the basement of Drizzly Manor, a beach hut on the Esplanade, and unlimited amounts of cash for shopping. However, it has emerged that he doesn't know as much as you'd think about farm animal benches, especially cow benches or sheep benches. He knows a bit more about horse benches, learned from his horse Tonks, and possibly something about dog benches from his dog Pru. What he really knows though, is picnic benches

Lady Jessica Brassica is a fashionista and former model with Studio Joop from Overbearing in Holland. Now she has her own fashion house at Ballyfrumpy in County Offhand in Ireland. She loves shopping at her replica mall and having poetry read by Young Male Readers dot com. She is happily married to Lord Brassica, Fifth Earl of Drizzly, but this summer Lady Jess has been spending rather a lot of time at her beach hut with Troy. Lady Brassica and her friend Phil are both from  Dreamstime Stock images. Jessica is from http://www.dreamstime.com/woman-after-bath-free-stock-photos-imagefree162078     Phil is from http://www.dreamstime.com/businessman-free-stock-image-imagefree100246


The independent bookshop shown is actually not in Fribble, it's in Minehead in Somerset. I saw it in summer 2013, when it had a full shelf of books and a good sale - any book for £1. The Honesty Pipe method of paying is low tech but maybe not as secure as some bookstores would like. 


The Paris book benches are from the Architect Design blog at http://www.architectdesign.blogspot.com  There are some goregous buildings and some beautiful benches on this blog. Check out the Red House Settle book bench (September 2012). 

Root is the son of Lord and Lady Brassica of Drizzly.Whilst Lady B is gorgeous and Lord B is wealthy and personable, Root has none of these qualities. In fact, he has no qualities whatsoever. Biff is another one of the Fribble Agro gang (he's the purple snarling one). The Agro mostly hang out at bus shelter and they may seem not up to much but they came up trumps when helping me with my bus stop benches

The children's Level of Discovery benches come in all sorts of colours and themes. The Alphabet Soup bench is one of my favourites. It is available from http://www.levelsofdiscovery.com


The Robin Hood doubled-closed book bench is from the Nansen Group Inc. in Calgary, Alberta. They are professional library planners so they have quite a range of book benches, including my favourite childhood book, Charlotte's Web. Their website is at http://www.nansengroup.net

The Stack of Books Bench can be added to your cart for $6,400. It is available at www.randolphrose.com They have a full range of benches with and without people sitting on them. 

The women sitting on stacks on books in the street were photographed at the Spui book market in Amsterdam in 2014. I'd be surprised if any of these books were about benches. Hans Stellingwerf photographs Straatmoments in the streets for his website at TrekEarth and his Flickr photostream at HS Fotografie. https://www.flickr.com/photos/120479937@N08/ Hans would like to make it clear that if he is following someone, it's for streetphotography only.

The 334 newspaper bench is by French designer Oscar Lhermitte from his project X in 2008.  It is made from 334 recycled newspapers and three metal bars. Really. No glue, no screws, no nails. Many thanks for his permission to show it. His website is at www.oscarlhermitte.com  The picture of the 334 bench with the girl sitting on it is all over the internet to the extent that I couldn't find its original source. 

The image of the nurse and patient are a cartoon from a January 19, 1916 volume 150 edition of Punch, made available by www.ProjectGutenberg.org. Their statement reads: This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org The terms of the license are that I publish the statement. For a marvelous story about feelgood benches see the World Health Day post.   

The Duvall bookstore bench is on Main Street in Duvall, Washington, near Seattle. The bookshop website is at http://www.duvallbooks.com   Looks like a real book treasure-trove; I'm going to make a point to visit it next time I'm in Seattle. The photo is from Joe Mabel on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duvall_WA_Bench_of_books

The 40,000 books are (or were?) decaying in the Jardin de la Connaissance in Quebec. Designers are Berlin landscape architect Thilo Folkerts and Canadian artist Rodney Latourelle, who put the books there in 2010. The garden of decaying books is at http://www.flavorwire.com/319252/venture-inside-of-quebecs-garden-of-decaying-books

Kathy Thomas's Leatherarts work is hand-tooled and hand-painted. She emphasises that her pieces are not just to look at - they're for wearing, carrying or putting to good use. She has a wide range of colourful and exciting purses, key fobs, wallets, notebooks, belts and will accept commissions. The purse with Woman Reclining on a Bench is a replica of the painting by Carl Olaf Larsson. It costs £75.77.  Her shop is at www.etsy.com/shop/leatherarts  There are issues about sleeping on benches though; see what lengths people will go to stop people sleeping on benches.   

The pink pencil bench, which also comes in yellow, appeared on www.designbuzz.com as one of their Top 10 Unusual Benches. It won a Cornwall Design award in 2007. The designer is Boex 3D Creative Solutions at www.boex.co.uk  Many thanks to Sam Boex for permission to use these images.

The joke about reading one book is from Nancy Mitford's novels about her family. Her father, the 2nd Lord Redesdale, claimed to have only ever read one book (White Fang, by Jack London). This seems unlikely as the family had a whole library of books.










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