There are two paintings with books.
The first one shows three figures, two seated, one standing, historically a set-up like this is called a conversation-piece. The figures are painted in a loose way, with a full brush, the white foreground figure/form is painted with thick impasto. As a way of loosening up the conversation a host in the renaissance would place an interesting, puzzling, 3-dimensional form upon the table. I was thinking about things like that while contemplating the set-up. In a way positioning something in the midst of these figures didn't seem right. 
What I usually do at this stage of painting is think about  something that contrasts in expression, finish of the painting and ‘real-ness' to it's surroundings. It's all paint but some paint is more real than other. ( after George Orwell)

On the right of them I had painted a window, staying close to the original picture or drawing, and in a flash it came to me, it had to be books, painted in a realist way ,as a kind of backdrop. And of course it had to be books about art, the choice of them, inclusion or leaving out of painters and styles would give possibilities to how the painting could be interpreted, so a conversation-piece that ( hopefully) would lead to a conversation.

It is a positive picture one might say.
The second painting with books is based on another approach.
The figure comes from a reproduction of a drawing where one of the miracles performed by Jesus is visualized. In the Bible Jesus tells the lame man, after miraculously healing him, to "take up your bed and walk".

From a box and some bubble-foil and cloth I made a ‘back'  unto which I loaded packages of books tied together with coarse rope. I wanted it to look like a heavy load . A metaphor for the pressure created by the history of art upon a young painter in his search for his own personal style.
The books where painted after this still-life, and were chosen from my own library ,(with additions of missing links from the municipal library). In this painting the titles give clues to my sources.
But there was one clue I had missed and that Marjon de Groot (in the text she wrote for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition in Museum van Bommel-van Dam) pointed out to me. The book on top was a catalogue for an exhibition Jan Hoet had curated for the museum in Gent, the title of the exhibition and the catalogue is ‘Open Mind'.