One thing Dave and I have been experimenting with in our painting is manipulating the character of the paint itself to imitate the textures found in nature. You can use a vast array of mediums to affect the texture of your paint, and any variety of tools to sculpt it. This extra attention to paint quality will increase the Awesome Factor of your paintings by about ten orders of magnitude.
In the above shot I took the lurvly Flemish White by Blue Ridge and, taking advantage of it's natural body and increasing its stringiness with a bit of stand oil, I dragged out irregular ridges of paint that imitated the roughed up edges of the book's paper. Without adding any other colour the effect of shadows between the pages was achieved naturally. Of course the effect might be lost under different lighting, so I added the shadows manually later on, but the tactual effect of the rough paper is still there. On the top of the book the paper was much more regular, so a single stroke of thick paint with a bristle brush was enough to create the striated texture desired.
Here is pretty much the exact same thing all over again.
Just a few more books to complete, and once the wall and the table top are painted the whole thing will be done. Alas, I have lost the race. Dave will be posting his smug update later today.