Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, by Jane Mount, is whimsical and lovely, a true miscellany.
I kind of love it for its lists and groupings, for its bookishness, for its celebration of books — not just their subjects, but their design, and the rooms where they were written and the libraries where they're held and the cats that hold counsel over them.
I hate it for neglecting some of the books I treasure (and how dare it include books I don't like!), for too much of this and not enough of that.
For example, there are six spreads related to food: Regional Cooking, Reference Cookbooks, Novel Food, Everyday Food Inspiration, Baking & Desserts, and Food Writing. Too many? Perhaps not enough for some people.
But only one spread addresses reading in translation; at a stretch, some entries touch on this through A Sense of Place and Journeys & Adventures. So yeah, that's one criticism — very anglocentric.
It's a fun and pretty book but short on substance. At times I thought rather than see all these mentions of books, I'd prefer to be actually reading one of those books. But then I was delighted to recognize an old favourite, and see that my local bookstore was included.
Although, one feature of the book I adored was not about books at all, but rather the chairs one might sit in while reading them. I want a whole book about that, please.
Clearly this project was a labour of love, and it reflects a very singular experience of books.
I know that any book, when read at the right moment, might make my life better, might give me a greater understanding of the universe and the other people in it.