Monday, September 9, 2013
Taschen Library inside the Joule Hotel is nerds-for-words heaven
Whether you have $10 or $1,000, there's something for everyone.
DALLAS Did you hear the happy squeals coming from the Joule Hotel last week? That was me, on glimpsing the literary wonder that is the Taschen Library, the Joule’s jewel box of a bookshop. To devoted book lovers — well, at least to this one — hearing the word Taschen sets off a Pavlovian response that involves drooling and checking one’s bank account.
The publisher’s pricy tomes are the ne plus ultra of bookish luxury, with its most celebrated editions priced at hundreds and even thousands of dollars. So I was surprised and delighted to learn that while the Joule’s collection does indeed include the kind of books one takes out a mortgage to acquire, there are also plenty of more-affordable goodies.
Even better, you’ll find staffers who share your love of books and the luxurious delight of simply paging through them. They take the Library in the store’s name seriously, and there are sample versions of every book. Grab a few and sit at the gorgeous table, or relax on the softest down-filled couch on which you’ll ever perch. One assumes they’ll gently wake you up if you doze off. Believe me, you’ll want to buy something, but you won’t feel pressured to do so.
I pounced on the pink version of Keel’s Simple Diary, Volume Two, a slim journal that lets you fill in the dates as you like — once a day, once a month, whenever you get the urge — and features whimsical prompts such as “Your day was: idealistic, simplistic, paper or plastic” (pick one, elaborate as desired). I’m told, via a welcome-note insert, that my selection of the pink version indicates that I could like ponies, be in denial or dislike luggage, and may be “a good fairy with the talent for interweaving pop culture, politics and international affairs.” Bingo! All that for a mere $15!
Feeling a little more flush? Check out the three-volume, $1,000 Pretty Much Everything by artists Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your Faithful Jaunter, I recommend Pucci Fashion Story, covered in yellow Pucci-patterned silk, at just $200. You’re welcome.
Plenty of Taschens cost $100 or less: the two-volume set of 100 Interiors Around the World for $59.99, the fantasy-inspiring Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles in the Air for $69.99,the perfect-for-your-woodworking-dad The Woodbook, an illustrated encyclopedia of American wood types, for $29.99.
The New York Times’ 36 Hours USA & Canada series, especially handy for inspiring vacation dreams, runs a mere $14.99 for each version. The Southwest & Rocky Mountain version, which mentions the Joule, is sold out but will be back in stock soon. A small paperback about Renzo Piano’s architecture — the Nasher Sculpture Center is mentioned inside — sells for just $10.
While you’re in the neighborhood, you might as well check out the new Eye, Tony Tasset’s building-size sculpture of, yes, a giant eyeball, right across the street from the Joule. It’s a collaboration between the Joule and the Nasher Sculpture Center. It’s striking, but here’s my question: Does Taschen make a book on nightmares? Might want to get started on that.
The Joule Dallas
1530 Main St., Dallas. The Taschen Library is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Browsing is free and encouraged, and you’re welcome to take coffee or other beverages, but if you spill on it, you buy it. 214-748-1300, ext. 4363. thejouledallas.com.
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