Last week saw what some silly statisticians term as ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. Worked out using an equation (that can be found here) that factors in debt and the weather, the man-made event dominates endless headlines and becomes a convenient scapegoat for our post-Christmas lethargy
Thankfully, I was untouched by the hoo-ha and decided to take direct action to combat any potential blues, and ducked into Selfridges to have a casual browse. Down in the basement they have created yet another fantastic temporary installation – a pop-up library- that is as beautiful as it is informative.
A side note here: I have a bit of a thing for books – not just reading them, but adorning any wall, table or floor space with stacks of them. When I lived briefly in Paris, I was more preoccupied with packing three giant boxes of them and completely forgot to take any underwear or socks. Nice one. When I came across Decorating with Books by Marie Proeller Hueston and the Book Porn tumblr site, it was like the mother ship calling to me.
Anyway, the pop-up library was out of this world: covering a massive 3,500 square feet, covered wall-to-wall in some of the store’s most beautiful books- predominantly fashion, photography, art and poetry – and curated by publishing houses Penguin, Taschen and Faber. Chatting to one of the sales assistants – a lovely man named Brian who also moonlighted as a radio producer – he explained the logic behind the book selected: “We’re happy to have these beautiful books displayed here, because even if they are expensive, people are much more likely to flick through a photography collection or a couple of poems than read an entire novel.”
I ask which ones have been the most popular and he directs me to two Taschen collections – A Chronicle of the Crusades: 1474 Manuscript and an Atlas of Human Anatomy & Surgery from the 19th Century. They are quite beautiful and provide brief respite before I’m slowly lured to the other parts of the installation. One wall has been dedicated to celebrity book recommendations, featuring the likes of Olivia Palermo, Sophie Dahl and Will Ferell (see pic). There are also some pretty interesting classes run by the Idler Academy, including calligraphy classes and an Introduction to Greek Philosophy.
There is a bigger story here though- as the library forms part of Selfridges ‘Words, Words, Words’ initiative, designed to draw attention to planned library closures throughout the UK and to celebrate the written word. If you have the time, check it out. It’s a sure fire way to beat off those (hypothetical) January blues.
What do you think about the phenomenon that is Blue Monday? Is it all just media hype? Tweet us @Style_ThenSome to let us know what you think!
Image credit: REX / DA