“Warning, objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
--General Motors
As you might have noticed from the fine print on the front cover (Nick Harvill Libraries:
West Hollywood; San Francisco; Bad Salzhausen; Springfield, Missouri), 2012 was a year in which
NHL resembled not a library but a book mobile. By late 2011, I was already spending a majority of
my time in the Bay Area as result of my partner’s new job there. However, life was to become even
more complicated than that. This past September, I accompanied my mother to a German spa,
where she was receiving medical treatment. Two weeks following our return, her prognosis worsened, and I shipped my books and office to the city in the Ozarks where my family resides, and where I will remain until the first of the year. [East Coast clients please note, ground-shipping times will be reduced by several days; Californians, my apologies . . .] 

As you might imagine, family has been on my mind a lot lately, much more so than usual this time of year, when I am typically engrossed in assembling this catalogue. However, the two coalesce quite well. Henry Miller wrote in The Books in My Life (page 28) that it is neither the books man reads nor his experiences that matter the most. Rather, it is “what he puts into them of his own.” In order to get the full value from both reading and living, it is necessary to understand that the two exist symbiotically, each informing the other. 

My mother came of age in the Jacqueline Kennedy years of the early 1960s, a time of elegance, when perfectionism was supposed to appear effortless. Reading books from that era allowed me to recognize that about her. However, it is a two-way street. Knowing her enabled me to better appreciate those books. As to my father, I had never met anyone in my life even half as unique, and then Nancy Mitford introduced me to her own father via her delightful novel, The Pursuit of Love (page 9). I credit Mitford for helping to realize how strange and dull it would be to have a conventional father. Of course, the books for which you feel a strong connection or a passion may not be mine. It is my hope, however, that you do find at least one or two within the pages of this catalogue. 

To take this concept a step further, I thought it might be amusing to do a case study, involving how pleased it makes us when we connect with books. It is based upon an idea that my friend, the decorator Oliver Furth, conceived several years ago when he hosted a Los County Museum of Art dinner honoring Rose Tarlow. He arranged for a vintage book to be placed at each seat as a party favor. Oliver and I spent hours reviewing the guests and their various interests in order to select the perfect book for each. It was a huge success. They were delighted Oliver had taken the time to be so thoughtful. Moreover, it proved to be a marvelous icebreaker as they compared books. My case study on the next page imagines an A-List dinner party, but it could just as easily be applied to a weekend house party or a cruise on a yacht. 

Happy holidays, 

--NICK HARVILL 

Download the 2012 Holiday Catalogue
 
 
A-List Hostess is planning a dinner party. She has provided Nick Harvill Libraries with the guest list, including instructions to locate a vintage book relevant to each guest’s occupation or interests. At the dinner, the books will be incorporated into the place settings and be waiting for the guests when they gather at the table. What follows is an example of how such a request might be executed. 

Guest, Michelle Obama 

The book for Mrs. Obama, a sitting first lady, must be above all else, respectful. The White House Book of Etiquette is not only that, it is very rare. No other copies are for sale, and it is only in a few libraries across the country. It would make a welcome addition to the White House collection. 

Guest, Anderson Cooper 

Would the CNN anchor already own Double Exposure, the autobiography of his grandmother Gloria Vanderbilt (the elder)? Maybe. However, not the copy that is from the library of Andy Warhol. Moreover, what a conversation starter. 
Guest, Anna Wintour 

Fashion is too obvious. Why not a book about her other great passion, tennis? Not only does she play, but she is also a great fan of the professional circuit. A Midcentury book about Wimbledon, The Centre Court Story is perfect for her. 

Guest, Gwynteth Paltrow 

The Oscar-winning actress has become a diet and exercise maven in recent years, publishing books on the subject. She would be enthralled with Diet for Epicures, a groundbreaking book from 1932 that married the principles of healthy eating with the pleasures of French cuisine. 

Guest, Bill Clinton 

There are two obvious books to avoid in regard to the superstar former president. Leaves of Grass would be an awkward choice, and for the same reason, so would Sex and the Office. However, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry is a great alternative. It is from the library of Mr. Clinton’s political hero, John F. Kennedy. 
Guest, Anthony Hopkins 

What do you give a Shakespearean actor? Well, most books on the Bard would be too academic, too dry. They would not stir conversation at the dinner table. Not Shakespeare’s Bawdy, a glossary of the many sexual and scatological references to be found in the plays of Shakespeare. 

Guest, Duchess of Cambridge 

A simple but perfect combination. Who is photographed more in hats than Prince William’s wife? This book, Heads and Tales, is by the English milliner who, though now obscure, was the royal favorite in the Midcentury. 

Guest, Tina Brown 

Tina Brown has been involved in media for many years. She surely has an extensive and well-used library. Finding a book to surprise her presents a challenge, but fortunately Scoop is the clear choice. Evelyn Waugh calls the fictional newspaper in Scoop, his satirical masterpiece, the Daily Beast, which is also the name of Brown’s online daily.