I think this will be my last post on my attempt to limit my book-buying. In September I just abandoned all hope that limiting my book-buying to 12 books for the year was a manageable project. I long ago passed this target. I've had even more time to read since I left paid employment and this, together with the temptations of my kindle, has meant I've been chain-reading. Chain-reading is what reading addicts do. You finish one book and immediately, without time for reflection, begin another one. Most of what I've been reading isn't even worth reporting, except to note I've been binging on Swedish novelist Liza Marklund's thriller series featuring edgy investigative journalist Annika Bengtzon. The binge began because I went to see the movie 'Last Will' which was based on the most recent novel of the series, and then one book led to another...and another...and yet more.
But perhaps I should mention a couple of 'picture books' I've purchased.
The first is the vibrant Pop Knitting by Britt-Marie Christoffersson, who has been an innovative knitwear and textile designer in Sweden for almost fifty years. She is clearly yet another well-known knitting guru who, probably because of the vagaries of book translation, publication and distribution, is less well-known in the English-speaking world than she deserves to be. A friend had already purchased this book but when I saw it I knew I wanted a copy of my own. Christoffersson experiments with texture, construction and colour combinations - all of which are made even more exciting by the vibrant and unexpected colours she uses.
The second 'picture book' I purchased is Jane Brocket's Vintage Cakes - subtitled 'more than 90 heirloom recipes for tremendously good cakes'. I'm a long-term reader of Jane Brocket's very English blog and several years ago reflected on some of my reactions to her first book, 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity' . Since that first publication, Brocket has published a number of other books, including beautifully photographed and styled books on knitting and quilting. Both her blog and the books she produces reflect a modern attraction to what I think of as 'optional domesticity' - the kind of pleasure that can be derived from traditional domestic tasks when it is no longer necessary for women to perform them. The crafts and pastimes of Brocket's blog and books are comfortable, decorative, require care and thought but only amateur levels of expertise, and can be done as time and whim determine. Optional domesticity.
Her latest book, Vintage Cakes, fits this pattern. All the recipes are within reach of the competent home cook. They're similar to the recipes I've inherited from my mother and grand-mother. Lots of butter, sugar and eggs, and sufficient variation to provide interest and change for the cook and consumer. Brocket has a keen eye for the topical and this book is perfectly timed for what I've observed is a current fad for baking (not cooking more generally, but baking more specifically). So far I've tried only one of the recipes - the lemon drizzle cake - which was a delicious mix of sharp lemon, sweet syrup and buttery cake. A great hit with my visiting family members (and me!)
So, I'm hanging my head in shame with my failure to limit my book-buying. It's clear that my delight in buying clothing is less of an addiction than my book-buying and consequently limiting clothes-buying is easier to achieve. From now on there will be no more shameful posts about my consumerist book-buying habits. I'll just buy books and not count them.