This is how we keep our books #3


One stacks books all over the house, another prefers to line her walls with them. The creators of Flow allow us to peek at their home libraries.

General managing editor Alice van Essen (left): “In our previous house, we had three brown Billy bookcases from Ikea in the living room, with extra shelves on top. When we moved, they seemed hopelessly old-fashioned and I longed for a sleeker, minimalist house with bare walls. And having two fireplaces in our new living room meant that the old bookcases didn’t fit anyway. That’s why we put up custom-made shelves in our study, all around the walls, above the door as well.

Those shelves filled up far too quickly, so we continued on the floor. Because of all the piles of books, we can hardly get to the computer now. Yet it feels great to be writing in this room, literally surrounded by books. It may seem like a whole lot of chaos, arranged very roughly by author, subject and language (Dutch or English), but I can always find a precious book just like that. Incidentally, banning books completely from the living room turned out to be unrealistic (and not very cozy). Hence the books stacked on a cabinet and beside the couch.”

Journalist Annalot Boersma (middle): “My books are arranged more or less alphabetically in a simple, not-too-stable wood-framed bookcase that has lasted for years. It may not be the prettiest, but it has lived, just like the books in it. Coffee rings, dog ears, loose pages: I’ve read the best books to pieces and taken them with me everywhere. They are tangible memories of times and places, and I like having them around me.”

Designer Petra Kroon (right): “As a child, I devoured books. Sometimes I read with my flashlight under the blanket until 5:30 a.m. But with the busy life I have now, I only read on vacation. Once I’ve read a book, it can go. I still have a bookcase in my office at the back of the garden but to be honest with you, I kind of want to get rid of everything that’s in it. Except for the books I use for work inspiration.”