‘Things We Love’: no worries about books disappearing

After viewing e-Book readers as superfluous high-tech foolishness for several years, I fell hook, line and sinker for my Kindle Fire last year.

The convenience of having lots of books in one small device won me over very quickly — especially on my five-or-six-times-a-year Amtrak trips to Philadephia to visit family.

And, the internal illumination of the Kindle Fire saved me during superstorm Sandy last fall when I was without power for four days and found it impossible to read a paper-and-ink book by candlelight.

The book vs. device situation shouldn’t boil down to an either/or debate. I still love the look, the feel and the smell of a real book, and having all of my favorites easily accessible on shelves in my home is a habit I will never give up (despite the space they take up).

At this point in time, no one has come up with a device that can replace oversized illustrated children’s books or cookbooks and the giant coffee table tome seems to be enjoying a renaissance (as people see what is still possible in publishing outside the confines of E-readers and the Internet).

Abrams has just released the smartly designed “kate spade new york: things we love” which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the design house, kate spade new york. It traces many of the art and pop culture influences on the firm.

What started as a handbag company run by four people in Manhatttan has grown into a “global lifestyle brand” with its hands in everything from clothing to stationery to home furnishings.

The book is a collection of things the spade staff loves and the effect of paging through the volume is like a visit to a studio full of bulletin boards with pictures, objects and colors that inspire the artists who work there.

There is a section devoted to New York City, with an eclectic array of things that represent the place, from those Greek deli cardboard coffee cups (more than a billion made and used), the classic photo book “Cecil Beaton’s New York,” and matchbooks from the late great Meatpacking District diner Florent (where kate spade new york shot its fall 2009 campaign).

The section on movies immediately demonstrates the lasting influence of “The Graduate,” Jean Luc-Godard’s “Pierrot le Fou” (below) and Steve McQueen (the late actor, not the alive-and-well filmmaker) on fashion and design.

Deborah Lloyd, the creative director of kate spade new york, writes in the introduction that one of the secrets of the company’s success has been “staying curious and sharing the things we love most — whether it be a doodle on a cocktail napkin, an off-color quip or our favorite type of champagne (pol roger, if you’re wondering), we hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.”

The pleasure of paging through this beautiful book, admiring its over-sized photography, or pondering a quote given a whole page, cannot yet be duplicated on a Kindle or Nook or iPad.

Joe Meyers