Progressing. That would be the state of pre-library demolition. We have met the world’s most over engineered closet. We are winning but it is a slow battle.
Books are being read, but it is at a pace of a chapter here and there of about twenty different volumes. I finished these recently:
Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir
by Natalie Goldberg
If you want to write, then write! Goldberg drives straight to the point and provides lots of great prompts within the three hundred-odd pages. Whether you read Old Friend from Far Away to write your memoir, or if you are use it to aid in character development for a piece of fiction, or if you turn to it to provide guidance in questions to pose to a relative to elicit stories to record– nothing will occur if you don’t write. Ten minutes. Go.
The Pleasures of Cooking for One
by Judith Jones
When cooking for one or even for two I find I struggle to adapt most recipes to fit our needs without either being buried in leftovers or scrounging around looking for something more just an hour later. I am quite saddened that the most simple of solutions to help make sure what I cook when for less than the standard four servings stared me in the face for years and I never thought to try it. When doubling a recipe I instinctively pull out a larger pot — when do I not do this when I halve? Hopefully Jone’s writing has reiterated that point and in the future I will not ruin yet another pot of (X) because I tried to cook a single serving in a large soup pot! Beyond that my other struggle is to shop across meals and use the carrots from this meal three days later as part of the next dish. Again, hopefully Jones has provided me some lasting insight. I can’t yet speak for her recipes — I have yet to try any of them. This first pass wasn’t looking for exact directions to follow but for philosophy. I come away from this table for one well sated.
Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills
by Abigail R. Gehring
I forget how I came across this volume — probably by browsing various subject headings in my library catalog — but it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy I did and I hope soon to add it permanently to my own bookshelves.
While this book is intended to be for those desiring to go out and survive in a less urban and technologically minded manner I found it quite useful to assist me in building realistic scenes while writing. For example, on page 21 is a nice chart that describes various soil conditions and their usefulness as foundation material. The drawings accompanying various types of whatever is being discussed — such as dams (page 99) I found quite descriptive and useful.
For my life in suburban-urban America I found the section on soil improvement and greenhouse building helpful. I also found Part 5 – Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead cute and useful. Given my fibre-art bias I would have liked to see more — but there is a nice “Sources and resources” section and when combined with a clear description of winding a niddy noddy and various natural dyes (and required mordant) I will let it go. It is nice to see so many things covered concisely yet with enough detail that I have a good idea what I need to do to make it work (such as rug braiding).
I think this is a useful reference for everyone. It’s a treasure trove of information that most people once just knew and sadly we often can’t turn to a relative and ask “how do you…” This very informative and well written book lets you look it up and learn!
The Informed Gardener
by Linda Chalker-Scott
Several websites (which ones, I don’t remember) cited this book as a much read for the home gardener, despite those glowing recommendations I found Chalker-Scott’s slim and informative book difficult to get through. I don’t deny that it is important to cut through both the biased hype found in many garden centers or the waste-of-time folk-lore that is out there, but her style implying that dot-com as evil and everything peer-reviewed or dot-edu as the holy writ really turned me off. I know there are useful golden nuggets within but I warn future readers to beware the tone. That said, I really enjoyed the citations that allow me to, if I desire, read up and learn more from scientific research. The format includes clear summaries that are helpful and by-and-large color-free. I will find myself turning to this again and again and will just need to remember to ignore the overly opinionated writing and focus on the facts that I’m looking for.
by ? ???
This fun volume consists of 22 knitted house shoes (slippers) for both children and adults. As with most Japanese craft books, no knowledge of Japanese is necessary. The patterns are charted and schematics are included for construction.
I’m in the middle of reading Persuasion with Craftlit and being my usual speed reading impatient self I checked out the audio book from the library and finished it. I’m a late comer to Austen due to a series of at-thirty-I-now-see-as-unfortunate-events, but I enjoyed it and I look forward to finishing a pass with Heather’s insightful guidance.
I’m still acquiring and rereading Valdemar/Velgarth. There are the ones added and reread over the past two weeks: