It's like that scene in Fantasia where Mickey dons the wizard robes. You know the one? The buckets of water keep coming and coming and coming, and he is powerless to stop them?
That's how we are about books chez Feral. I wrote about tsundoku in January, the practice of buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands. Suffice it to say that the passage of a couple of months has not in any way changed the book buying dynamics around here.
So let's start with the new acquisitions and then update the old ones.
Pack Up the Moon by Rachael Herron
Rachael's newest novel launched today! Yay! (In a prettier cover than the advance copy I show here.) Pack Up the Moon differs from Rachael's earlier books (her Cypress Hollow fibery romance series and her collection of essays, A Life in Stitches). At its core Pack Up the Moon is an examination of the corrosive effect of secrets, the fear of confronting feelings, and the power of casting light on the past. I read this book in a rush (yes, you heard me: I actually read a book without letting it age in the pile!)--the tension was built so tightly that, midway through, I had to read the final pages so I could sleep. Recommended! Here's the official synopsis:
Three years after a horrible tragedy took her son and tore her family apart, artist Kate Monroe is beginning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. At a gala showcasing her triumphant return to the art world, Kate’s world is rocked again when the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-two years ago introduces herself.
Pree is the child Kate never knew and never forgot. But Pree has questions that Kate isn’t sure she’s ready to answer. For one thing, she never told Pree’s father, her high school sweetheart and ex-husband, Nolan, that they had a daughter. For another, Kate hasn’t spoken to Nolan for three years, not since the accident which took their nine-year-old son from them. But to keep Pree from leaving forever, Kate will have to confront the secrets that have haunted her since her son died and discover if the love of her family is strong enough to survive even the most heartbreaking of betrayals…
Woman with Birthmark by Håkan Nesser
Browsing the Griffin Bay Book Store in Friday Harbor, Washington, I grabbed this book out of a combination of Travel Reading Anxiety (you know: the fear of finishing all your reading material before your trip is over. Strangely, my Nook has not dispelled TRA.) and a desire to support an independent bookstore. Of course I had no free time to read while traveling so I haven't even started this Scandinavian crime novel, but John has read several by this author and thinks he is great.
My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
Seduced by a book review I ordered this sight unseen. The inside can still be considered sight unseen! Elizabeth Gilbert wrote: "Bothe a memoir and a biography [JB Note: how much more perfect can you get?], both an homage and a homecoming, My Life in Middlemarch is a perfectly composed offering of literary love and self-observation." What's not to love?
A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch
A two month stay in England, visiting Beatrix Potter's Hilltop, Jane Austen's Chawton, Vanessa Bell's Charleston.... Getting there and back on the Queen Mary.... A dream. This sweet and very personal travel journal is handwritten and illustrated with small painting and photographs, the perfect companion to An Illustrated Journey (below). You might be familiar with Susan Branch's work--she is well known for her illustrated cookbooks and calendars. In the 1970s and 80s I took several trips to England and have a deep deep fondness for the British countryside. [JB Note: why haven't I returned in the last 30 years?] I ran across this book while shopping for a present for John--I couldn't resist, and spent last weekend curled up happily with it. Done and recommended if you like this sort of thing, as I do.
Text in Textile Art by Sara Impey
I have become obsessed with words in knitting, so when I saw this book I had to order it. Sara works with quilting and surface design, but the IDEA of text coupled with textiles is explored. I haven't had a chance to look at it closely yet, but you might enjoy seeing what Amazon has to say.
Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the Present edited by Sarah Laurenson
I'd heard about this book, but was reluctant to order a copy given the expense of shipping from Scotland was not inconsiderable. All hesitation was set aside, though, upon hearing Deb Robson's very positive review. Do you know Deb? Former editor of Spin Off magazine, author of Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook; she's now conducting a very in-depth examination of Shetland sheep and fleece. She picked up a copy of Shetland Textiles while IN Shetland last year. Well! My copy arrived yesterday, and it is a stunner: short essays coupled with gorgeous photos. Not just knitting--weaving, spinning, sheep, and lots of profiles of weavers and spinners and knitters. I've hardly cracked this one open but I love it already! Kate Davies wrote a comprehensive review on her blog that you might want to check out
Updates on the January tsundoku list (not including the cookbooks):
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss 30% done. Liking it so far.
Love and Terror on the Rolling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir by Poe Ballantine Done. Well-written, kind of quirky and interesting take on life in a very small Dakota town.
American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Soloman Done. This was OK, but it hasn't stuck with me since I finished it.
An Illustrated Journey by Danny Gregory I've been dipping into this happily....
The Sunflowers Are Mine: The Story of Van Gogh's Masterpiece by Martin Bailey Done and recommended!
OK for now.... Let me know what you are reading!