From library bathtubs to Icelandic book giving, this is the stuff from which bibliophiles' dreams are made.
Some people make the leap from paper to e-books effortlessly and never look back; some people kick and scream in resistance … and then defeated, happily sink into the couch with a heavy tome of paper pages in their hands. Part two of that sentence may be autobiographical. Call me old-fashioned, but the feel of organic material against my fingers, the smell of paper, the rustle of pages shuffling – they all add to the experience of being told a story. And I’m not the only one around here who feels that way, as evidenced by some of our most popular stories in which real books play a starring role.
So with that in mind, here's a gathering of some of our favorite TreeHugger stories written about books and reading for 2015.
January 8: Why you should read more paper books
Katherine Martinko is our unofficial captain of Team Paper Books. Here she even gets science to back up her point that without traditional reading, "we risk losing our ability to enjoy it – and there are repercussions for that, including greater stress, poorer mental agility later in life, reduced ability to concentrate, and less empathy."
Read: Why you should read more paper books this year
January 30: 6 tips for how to read more books
If your reading has waned or you know someone who could use an assist, Katherine again to the rescue:
"Reading books has fallen by the wayside for many people who are unable to resist the allure of the smartphone, tablet, or laptop whenever they have a free moment. The problem is that passing time checking social media feeds, while entertaining in the moment, will never provide the lasting benefits that reading books will. Making a conscious effort to read more is well worth the effort, and here are some tips for making that happen."
Read: 6 tips for how to read more books
February 18: Bookniture: Books that unfold into instant, super-strong furniture
It's a book (kind of), it's furniture (kind of), it's Bookniture! The truly book-obsessed might find their passion extends beyond the printed word to the form itself. If you fall into that camp – or, you're just short on space – see Kimberly Mok's story on a compact, portable furniture design concept that blends an "advanced honeycomb paper structure with the traditional craft of bookbinding."
Read: Bookniture: Books that unfold into instant, super-strong furniture
March 19: Skinny house puts a bathtub in the library
Lloyd Alter may love his e-reader
, but even he can't deny the wonder of a sunken bathtub in the middle of an amazing library (top photo) housed in this slinky slender abode. (For the record, this scenario has my envy sensor flashing frantically.)
Read: Skinny house puts a bathtub in the library
May 26: Plant this book to grow a tree
"Tree Book Tree" from Pequeño Editor/Video screen capture
Margaret Badore has a knack for fabulous stories about seeds
– here, for the win, she finds one that combines seeds and books! A book publisher in Argentina made a book that can grow back into a tree when its life as reading material is over. The publishing house, Pequeño Editor, says this is “a book that returns to nature what it took from it” and that it is the “first book that can be planted after it is read.”
Read: Plant this book to grow a tree
May 27: Stair of the Week floats over recessed bookcase
© Marc Koehler Architects
Bookcase meets staircase, falls in love and gets married in a beautiful design by Marc Koehler Architects. While there is a handrail on the wall, you certainly wouldn't want to take these stairs after tippling a few too many ... but in terms of showcasing a bookcase in a staircase, it sure is pretty.
Read: Stair of the Week floats over recessed bookcase
July 14: Artist repurposes vintage books as exquisite paper cups & bowls
© Cecilia Levy
Most potters use clay, but not Swedish artist Cecilia Levy. She uses media as her medium by creating gorgeous plates, bowls and natural forms using small pieces of paper taken from comic books and vintage books. Gives new meaning to the term bookplate.
Read: Read: Artist repurposes vintage books as exquisite paper cups & bowls
August 25: Drinkable Book: The pages contain instructions and can be used as high-tech water filters
There's a joke in here somewhere about having a thirst for knowledge, right? But that would be corny, so straight to the chase: Michael Graham Richard came across this book that not only contains information about clean drinking water printed on its pages, but the actual pages themselves can be torn off and used as high-tech filters that will remove 99 percent of bacteria from the filtered water. It may not be Moby Dick, but it's awesome to see people inspired by books to think outside of the box.
Read: Drinkable Book: The pages contain instructions and can be used as high-tech water filters
September 25: Cool geometric bookshelf display surrounds readers in books
How to get lost in books: Hoping to create a reading space that is both engaging and entertaining, the Conarte bookshop in Monterrey, Mexico features an eye-catching book display that not only stores reading material for sale, but also acts as a space that envelops readers in books. Might it induce vertigo? Yes. Is storing books on a flat surface the best method? Yes. But the designers get an A for effort in developing a dynamic space to draw readers in.
Read: Cool geometric bookshelf display surrounds readers in books
December 21: The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve
This is like dirty talk for bibliophiles, and Katherine hits it out of the park with what turn out to be our most popular book story of the year. "Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading," she writes. "This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it is the reason for the Jolabokaflod, or 'Christmas Book Flood,' when the majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving."
While I might prefer a four-season book flood, I can't think of a better way to end the year ... or this post. Happy reading!
Read: The beautiful Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve