Sunday, 14 December 2008

Day 4 & 5-Real Life Books

HAVEN'T got much time for my palace till this weekend. On one of the weekdays last week, Win showed me a picture of the real Maharaja's Palace and I nearly died. Firstly, I didn't think there was a real Maharaja Palace. Secondly, definitely not one this big! AND MY Gosh! Look at the number of domes it has!!

What I have in mind was far from this granduer of an alcazar. What I have in mind is more like the building model below.It's the one on the floor and not the one that is elevated in the picture. Hey, do you think the stuff that look like pots and pans on the roof of the elevated model may be the domes? Hmm..

Anyway, after seeing the real palace, I knew I better decide exactly what I want before I see any builder/architect. So I spent the past 2 days at bookstores and our National Library doing research.

My first stop was Kinokuniya yesterday. They have the most extensive selection of all the book stores, I thought, and my best bet should be there. True enough, they did indeed carry 2 books on dollhouses. Each cost about S$113 and strangely, both were about the same in content covering cardboard houses mainly.

I then decided I had to go to Bras Basah where great and cheap art books can be found. Took a bus from where I was, missed the stop, gave up and taxied to Bras Basah Complex. By the time, I was done with the 1st shop, I had bought 5 big books, one of them was "How Things Work" . Great book telling you everyday physics like how rockets work, how planes fly etc. 5 wonderful books for S$5 each. None on dollhouses or Indian architecture though. The kind lady let me dump my books and other shopping (yes, more unnecessary but oh so pretty stuff from Takashimaya) at her shop while I trotted to the other shops.

There was nothing at Popular Bookstore although their ever helpful staff did read off at least 3 titles on miniature from his computer screen, gave me their prices and told me Popular no longer carries them . After that, 3 more shops but still nothing.

Last shop, Basheer. This is a must stop at BB if you are in the art/archi/wannabe business. I understand they are the ones who supply all the art books to the other bookstores although you can never tell from the size of their shop which is like a fraction of the others. Anyhow, they don't have anything on dollhouses. In fact, Messr Basheers looked rather confused like they did not know what in the world were dollhouses. When I asked one of them where they display their books on miniatures, he showed me books on architecture and ID. I therefore bought these 2 books from them. Taschen's Indian Style and Henry Wilson's India-Decoration/Interiors/Design. Of course, I also bought 5 other "Style" books by Taschen cos I simply had to start collecting reference books for my Shangahi, Paris, Buenos Aires and New York dollhouses!
I so love Taschen's art books. They are Great value, Good quality and Graphics rich. I got Indian Style for S$11.99 and found out from its sleeve that Benedikt Taschen 1st started his book business in 1980 by opening up a shop to sell his own massive collection of comics. He loved art since young but found art books expensive and hard to get. His 1st breakthrough was in 1984 when he bought 40000 remainder books on Magritte, printed in English, and resold them at a fraction of the original price. After that, Taschen started publishing their own art/archi/design series and sell them cheaply. Mwah, Taschen!

Ironically, the most expensive art book ever published in the 20th Century was by Taschen. #1 of Helmut Newton's SUMO with signatures of 80 celebs eventually sold at a charity auction for USD300k. Probably bought by B Taschen himself, if you ask me. Don't be deceived by the pic here though, this book is so big it needs 2 big burly men to carry it to the 2nd floor of your home if you buy it. The cheapest one is going for USD8500 on ebay. You can read more at Bookride. Its funny really cos they give you a coffee table when you buy the book. Why? For you to put the book on, silly! I understand though that the book is so heavy that the Philipe Stark coffee table has collapsed on quite a few occasions. Cheaper copies with broken tables can also be bought at ebay. hahahahaha!

Back to my palace. By the time I finished at Basheer, I was dead tired. Bravely though, I managed to lug what must have been 20kg worth of books and shopping to the National Library located just next to BB Complex. I checked at the info counter to see if there were any books on dollhouses and if they were reference books or borrowable ones. The dear sweet lady at the counter allow me to dump whatever bags I was carrying in the middle of the massive lobby so that I can drag myself to the computer located at the other end of the massive lobby to find out for myself. Well, I found 38 titles on dollhouses at various locations in Singapore in the different libraries. BUT, enough's enough. I knew my limits. I could no longer haul what by then was 100kg worth of everything (including my body) to 7 floors worth of books to bring home even more books. I staggered to the Bencoolen Hotel opposite and caught a cab home, knowing that I would go back to the library tomorrow.

Its TOMORROW and yes, it's the Central Lending Library, Singapore that is the Best Bet (if only I can get the words to shimmer and spangle). My dad gave me 15 minutes to drive to the library and back so that he could use the car. Nonetheless, I still managed to borrow 8 (wow!) books. Not only that, I also had time to pay an oustanding library fine of 45 cents which I incurred 11 years ago because I returned a book called "Sultan's Harem" 3 days late in 1997.

I am so very pleased with my unexpected booty. You will be impressed too. In 5 minutes, I found the following books:

I have up till 4 Jan 09 to finish digesting all of them and I cannn't wait.

Oh, the other wonderful thing I found out was from Sumiya's blog. She has posted some links on how to use egg cartons to make stone walls and floors! After reading the links, I quickly went to my fridge to save my egg carton. Now I only need 99 more for my palace.


Sumaiya Mehreen said...

What a wonderful collection of books you have gathered! I am a bookworm myself and I wish I could read them too. By the way, the painting, Magritte's "Son of Man" with the apple in front of his face, is my all time favorite surrealistic painting...

It's funny how even 11 years ago, you were into the whole "Sultan's Harem" theme, and now you are actually building your dollhouse like a Maharaja's palace!

One cool thing I was looking at online was photos of "Moroccan Tiles" on google images. It would be wonderful to be able to print them off and decorate the interior of any dollhouse with them.

San said...


My home is filled with books and I continue to buy them with a vengeance every time I decide to "roam" book stores.

My favourite surrealist artist is Dali but I love Magritte too and yes, that is also my fav Magritte painting.

I have thought about printing mosaic graphics to help me with the interiors. We are also talking soldering for the more intricate celing /wall works but that is tricky.

I really have to make some decisions on the architecture soon. Then I can get to the fun part.

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