It is no secret that I struggle to find balance.. between work and play, between sleep and energy, between reading, knitting, and the rest of my day… As I find my world speeding up, I realized I needed to figure out why and how others coped with this. I turned first to the past and am beginning to examine how society handled vast changes in time, speed, and expectations.
Many of my books come from the NYPL and when I place a hold on them I never quite know when that request will be fulfilled. That was indeed the case with the first book I finished this week. I’m not exactly sure how I picked it or why that hold was placed. I’m happy it was as I found this a remarkable read.
The Culture of Time and Space, 1880-1918
by Stephen Kern
First, I read the first edition, not the one published in 2003 with a new preface. Kern takes the reader through various changes from the setting of standard time to the key events which lead to the First World War. It lost parts of a star for the first chapter which relied heavily on books I’ve always wanted to read but haven’t yet fit in, such as Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. He relies heavily on Proust and the Cubist movement to lead up to his explanation for the July crisis and I felt it was a bit weak. Overall, I recommend it as I felt it gave me a starting point for more directions to learn. I’m fascinated by the concept of public versus private time and the evolution of a standard time. The evolution of standard time gives me an excuse to read about my favourite subject—trains. I stopped wearing a watch quite a while ago and I’m curious if any of my readings will effect that one way or another.
How do these next books fit in my learning of time? With the rushing I experience daily, I have let my expectations fall in many categories. While I’m still picky about my shoes fitting, if my clothing isn’t tailored exactly I let it go as the cost of the item often outweighs other factors in my decision. This makes me sad as well made and proper fitted clothing can make you feel wonderful even on the worst of days. As shops which cater to my size become more difficult (and expensive) to find, and I settle on my tastes, I have decided to return to a long-held dream of sewing my wardrobe. If you are waiting for a reply to an email you sent me, you may have discovered that I have rediscovered paper and pen and stamps. I’m learning how to be patient and wait for responses instead of needing an immediate one. In my rediscovery of the handwritten letter, I have come to terms with my penmanship and am working to improve it.
Amy Butler’s In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects
I don’t have much to say on this one. I feel either you like her things or you don’t. There are things in here I like, but do not have the time, space, or inclination to make at present.
Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew
by Amy Karol
The layout, line drawings, and beautiful photography of this one got me. I wonder if as I work with it, I’ll raise it to a full five-stars. The patterns are simple and can be made either classic or trendy based upon fabric choice. The pattern instructions seem simple and well written which is what I’m looking for as I return to sewing.
The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication
by Margaret Shepherd
While written notes and I never formally parted for long, I am rediscovering the joy they bring to myself and the recipient. I do, however, fear that years of email correspondence has corrupted my ability to write notes. In this slim volume, Shepherd has packed useful information from choosing what to write on, what to write with, and how to close the letter. She includes helpful hints for improving your handwriting (which I needed, I have the fountain pens, but needed the simple exercises) and how to negotiate several common delicate etiquette issues. She includes prompts of what to say and what not to say. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s clearly laid out, it’s short, it’s sweet, it’s to the point.
Learn Calligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design
by Margaret Shepherd
This is the calligraphy book I was looking for. I’m slowly making my way through the exercises and an example of my breaking in a new calligraphy nib can be found in my flickr photostream, and I expect to put them all in my pens pencils paper set. It’s been about twenty years since I last tried calligraphy. I definitely have more control and patience now. But what remains to be seen is if I really have the time to learn it properly.