If you can’t get away, why not lose yourself in a book that’ll take you on a journey far from humdrum everyday life
Provence has proved inspirational to some of the greatest painters ever, so it’s little wonder that a book dedicated to decorating your home in this beautifully rustic French style has landed on the shelves. There’s a tranquil simplicity to the aesthetic that wowed British audiences following Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (which documented the renovation of his farmhouse more than thirty years ago), but the look has evolved since then. Provence Style shows, with a selection of case studies including author Shauna Varvel’s own 18th-century Rhône valley farmhouse, just how covetable (and adaptable) this style can be. It also highlights how colour pairings, textures and motifs can enhance a home.
£40, Vendome Press
When the Flaming Lips staged a gig in Oklahoma earlier this year where the fans and the entire band were encased in individual ‘space bubbles’, it really hit home just how devastating the pandemic has been for the arts – and how far people were willing to go to show their support. Festivals by Oliver Keens brilliantly captures that sentiment, paying homage to the importance of live events: the anticipation of a summer excursion, the togetherness of seeing your favourite band alongside fellow devotees, magical performances that transcend the stage. This book allows readers to revel in it all, whether Woodstock, Glastonbury or beyond, as well as showcasing their historical and cultural significance, both then and now.
£18.99, Frances Lincoln
While there’s still a degree of uncertainty over whether or not we can actually leave the country, we can at least escape to warmer climes as armchair travellers by dipping into this beautiful book. Follow Great Escapes Greece closely and you’ll feel you’re taking a trip: Angelika Taschen travels from the mountains of Macedonia down through the mainland, then island-hops to the south and enjoys some of the country’s finest hotels en route. Santorini and Mykonos are bucket-list holiday destinations (she visits Soho Roc House and Mystique), both of which are steeped in history, architectural elegance and the very latest cool venues. £40, Taschen
Author Pamela Ruiz was so taken with Cuba when she first visited in the 1990s as a fashion location scout that she put down roots and now calls it home. Havana is as intoxicating as ever; yes, there’s the famous pastel-hued colonial architecture and retro American automobiles, but the book also delves into the cultural diversity of Habana Vieja and its thrilling contemporary art, food and music scenes. There’s illuminating commentary from actors, artists, designers and celebrities, but for most readers, Havana Blues is all about a visual celebration of this vibrant, pulsating melting pot, thanks to dazzling photography that conveys the city’s warmth and passion more powerfully than any words might.
The pandemic saw a marked increase in people rewatching classic TV shows. The reason? They were longing for more certain times and seeking comfort in the familiar. Old photographs can stir the same kind of nostalgia; there’s a warm sense of safety in seeing things you recognise and connect with from your past. Leafing through Polaroid Now certainly has that effect: combining vintage photography and new Polaroid works, it’s the most comprehensive book published on the iconic instant camera and film to date, celebrating Edwin Land’s groundbreaking invention. Its cover features Paul Giambarba’s original 1960s packaging design, for the full throwback effect.
£26, Chronicle Chroma
When the travel bug bites, everyone has a different wishlist. Adventure holiday? City break? Relaxing retreat? Higher up the priority list in recent years is ways to experience the world while minimising your environmental impact on it. Holly Tuppen, author of Sustainable Travel, is an expert on eco-conscious getaways. She has travelled the world without flying and has plenty of insights into how to travel more responsibly. Her book includes useful information about reducing your carbon footprint and ways to explore ‘slow travel’, as well as guiding readers through some regenerative travel experiences that focus on community and conservation.
£18, White Lion
Looking for more? How about 6 cookbooks for impressive home cooking