Read IN BED: Enviable Collections

Words by Matt Lennon

As I sat on the wooden floor of the apartment I’d lived in for the last three years and began the task of packing my worldly possessions into boxes for what seemed like the millionth time, I glanced over at the stack of books in the corner and wondered how I’d managed to accumulate so many. Of course subconsciously I knew exactly how it had happened and had vivid memories of carting an ever increasing amount of books from place to place over the last decade. I’m a firm believer that the books one surrounds themselves with can say just as much about them as the clothes they choose to wear or the art they hang on their walls. For me, books often have two stories - the one written between its pages and the more personal one created by its owner; like the oversized artbook I hauled back from Berlin that probably should have had its own seat on the plane or the collection of 90’s Italian Vogues I picked up at a garage sale filled with enthusiastic post it notes from a previous owner.

This week we’re looking back at a few of our favourite stories from the Journal that feature friends of IN BED who are just as crazy about the written word as we are; from a thoughtfully stacked shelf in New York to a mini-library in Mexico.

1. Jessica Lillico, Brunswick, VIC

We met Melbourne based stylist and art director Jessica Lillico at the light-filled apartment she shares with her husband Sean and 18-month old daughter Matilda. Filled with beautiful objects, art and an enviable collection of books - including her own. "Last year we published a limited edition book, City Over Land. It features photographs of suburban Los Angeles plant life alongside an essay by our friend, local writer Maggie Shipstead."


2. Rachel Rutt, Tamarama, NSW

Rachel Rutt is a long time friend of IN BED and one of those people that manages to do an array of different things with integrity, kindness and humility. Cutting her teeth in the Australian fashion industry as a model, and in fact, the face of our very first campaign. Rachel has built on her creative practice over the years as a musician, designer, textile artist, and remains one of our absolute favourite people to meet on a dance floor. When Rachel moved into the home she shares with her partner Ryan, they split their collection of books up into hard and soft covers and keep each collection in a separate part of the house.


3. Laura Brading, Austinmer, NSW

Laura Brading knows a good book! In fact, she's the co-owner of WellRead, a book subscription service that aims to foster a love of reading and build community through literature. When we visited her at her timber cottage in Austinmer we chatted to her about many of the books that she holds dear, but the thing that stayed with us most was the titles her loved by her kids –

“The kids love a lot of the classics like Each Peach Pear Plum, We’re Going on A Bear Hunt and the Hairy Maclary Series. Some of their favourite new books are Hooray for Birds, All The Ways To Be Smart, Slow Down World. Sid loves Upside Down Sid – go figure! Oh and have to mention Walter the Farting Dog, we’ve read that book at least 200 times.”


4. Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Ashfield, NSW

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran’s art is strong, visceral and deeply layered, both literally and figuratively. It’s concerned with politics, gender, religion and somehow feels chaotic and optimistic all at the same time. It's no wonder that his collection of books is just as topical and important. When we visited Ramesh in 2020 he was ‘The Hate Race’ by Maxine Beneba Clarke, an important account of growing up in suburban Australia during the 1980s and 1990s, and, ‘Foriegn Soil’ a collection of short fiction also by Maxine Beneba Clarke.


5. Jess Murphy, Walthamstow, London

Jess Murphy purchased a sunny apartment in north east London with her husband Charlie just over three years ago. In that time they’ve slowly and thoughtfully made the space their own. With a background in set design and a newly opened practice of her own, Jess's ever growing library exists mainly under the categories of art and design.


6. Ana Hop, Mexico City

The home that photographer Ana Hop shares with her partner Sebastian is surrounded by the sounds of nature, and, with an enviable outlook of lush green forest makes for the perfect spot to flick through a few pages. The home itself is a labour of love that has come together over more than a decade and features one of the most impressive personal libraries we’ve ever seen!

“We have carefully picked every object in the house. Each with its own story.  From beautiful natural objects to furniture to artwork.  Some we made ourselves, others are from friends and family and the rest have been acquired with care and patience.  We have also been building the library although at the moment its content is quite motley!”


Discover more great reads in our Read IN BED section including reviews and recommendations from some of our favourite people.