You may or may not have seen our previous piece breaking down our outdoor design studio—from which I am currently writing these words—but one thing not mentioned there was my old mousepad, which was the hardcover edition of Castles, a book I’ve had since childhood.

See, our outdoor table, used as work desks, is slatted, which is great for running chords through, but not so much for using a mouse, which we still need to do since Apple has yet to introduce touch screens and we’re not yet at the Minority Report, swipe in the air stage yet, which I’m hoping Apple will soon announce it’s skipping ahead to. So, when we set up the office for the first time at the beginning of this year, I just grabbed what I assumed would be a good surface for my mouse work. Indeed, it was, but taking the book out every workday and flipping through it every now and then, I rediscovered how awesome Castles is.

I was your classic nerd as a child, severely into fantasy and anything involving castles and elves; still am at heart. This book—beautifully illustrated by Alan Lee (known for his work with Tolkien’s books), written by David Day, and published by Bantam Books in 1984—is bound to stir up excitement from anyone else equally into the genre. Castles draws on history and legends through the middle ages—from Beowulf to Camelot to Norse legend to Irish folk lore to Jack and his giant to the more modern castles of Poe’s stories—to channel Lee’s artistic talent and Day’s poetics to pair with the artwork and retell these oft age-old stories. It stands to this day as a beautiful piece of work that grabs the imagination of both the young and young-at-heart.

A few months back, I noticed that my mouse had started to rub the fabric of the book a bit raw, so I retired Castles the mousepad to preserve Castles the awesome book.

You can see a few shots from the book below, but it seems like you can also still order the book used via Amazon. If you’re into this sort of thing, I highly recommend doing so.

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