Friday, November 2, 2012

October Reading


Making Journals By Hand by Jason Thompson
This book has some lovely ideas, with some unusual techniques, but left me feeling creatively inadequate - or inadequately creative. I'm okay at making nice books with blank pages, but not so good at filling them creatively. I think I need more practice at that before getting this book out of the library again - but I will get it again sometime when I feel a little more confident.

The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn
Again, a book that makes me feel inadequate about my ability to fill in the pages of a journal. However this one seems to have a lot of suggestions and ideas to get me working. I think I'll be buying this one, written by the same woman whose Real Life Journals I reviewed and bought, last month. Filled with suggestions and ideas of interesting ways to treat pages, I think I will make a book that has lots of pockets, from Real Life Journals , and then make pages inspired by The Decorated Page and put them inside the pockets. Then I will feel more willing to 'have a go', knowing I can discard failures without spoiling the book.


As Far As I Know by  Roger McGough
Collected Poems by Roger McGough
I bought McGough's newest book and that launched me on an orgy of reading his poems. They are a bit like salted peanuts - once I start, I find it hard to stop. My all-time favourite is in Collected Poems and is Let Me Die a Youngman's Death - I have loved it for decades, and every time I re-read it, be it a week later or years, I still have that jolt of recognition, that YES! moment. In his new book, McGough, now the 73 he talks of in that poem, revisits the theme with Not for Me a Youngman's Death. Even though I too am older, this poem, good as it is, doesn't resonate with me the way the earlier one does. My favourite from the latest book is The Wallet but I can't find a link for that so you'll have to buy the book.

Other Non-fiction

Growing a Farmer by Kurt Timmermeister
Timmermeister lives on what we would call a lifestyle block on Vashon Island off the coast of Seattle. The book is the story of his learning to live in the country, and his various attempts to make money from it. Although it isn't an instructional book, it is detailed enough to give an accurate idea of how much work is involved - and detailed enough for me to need to skim the sections on how to slaughter and butcher the animals! I enjoyed reading about someone living a lifestyle similar to ours, but in such a different place. I would have preferred a little more personal detail to make it feel a little more 'real'. but it is well written, and, overall, interesting and enjoyable.

Psychology For A Better World by Nikki Harre
Harre "wrote this book for people (like me!) who believe it is worth trying to make a better world in which both our species and the ecological systems we are part of can flourish." Harre is an associate professor at the University of Auckland where she has taught social and community psychology for twelve years. The book is about how to work successfully with ecological groups such as the Point Chevalier Transition Town group of which she is a part, and also how to make a difference in the other groups we belong to, such as our workplaces and families. It's easy to read, and not at all preachy, but is based on her experience as a psychologist. Interesting insights on group behaviour and how to manage it. You can buy the book for $15, or download it free in PDF form, from her website. You can also buy it from Amazon in Kindle format for $US2.99, but I wouldn't bother as the free PDF is perfectly readable on my Kindle as long as I turn it to landscape position.

River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
I can't say I've read all of this, but I do look at it a couple of times a week. So far everything I have made from this book has been yummy. Many of the dishes shown on the tv programme, River Cottage Veg, are in the book too, with occasional variations. It is a very beautiful book, beautifully presented, and worth every penny. Cent. Euro. Whatever!

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