bookish joy and a cautionary tale

It's a cold, damp, icy day here today. The ice that was covering the sidewalks these last few days has melted a bit (making walking the dogs much easier) and the hoarfrost in the trees is pretty, but it's really much better being inside than out today. The perfect weather for curling up with some good books.

One of my favorite joys is coming home from the library with a heavy bag of good books. It's something I've loved since I was a child and it's never lost its thrill. Here are a few of the books I've brought home recently:

books, My Giant Strawberry, Anne Butera

I just finished reading The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay this morning before breakfast. It is the story of a young, poor girl navigating through the many ways of poverty in 1870s New York. It was beautifully written and historically evocative (and heartbreaking, though the main character manages to land on her feet with a happy ending). The title refers to the belief common at the time that syphilis could be cured by deflowering a virgin. Hard to imagine such horrifyingly cruel times.

I paged through Susan Branch's A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside as soon as I brought it home from the library, but only just started reading it, so perhaps I shouldn't be recommending it just yet. I will anyway because it looks so charming. It's a diary of her visit to England illustrated with her watercolors, photographs and other tidbits. It looks like it will be fun, lighthearted and provide a nice armchair getaway during winter's cold, dreariness.

**Edit: Yes, yes, yes. I loved A Fine Romance and wholeheartedly recommend it!**

Finally, Heather Ross's Prints is a book of projects using both fabric and paper prints. There's even a chapter on how to create your own designs in Photoshop. What I love best about it is all of Heather Ross's artwork, including many pages of her prints (and a cd of even more images). Many of her fabric designs are no longer available, but this allows you to print your own (she even has a Spoonflower shop set up to print not only fabric, but wallpaper, too).

Have you been reading anything good lately? I'm always up for recommendations of good books.

So, are you wondering about the cautionary tale I promised in the title of this post? It goes along the lines of my previous post where I urged you and myself to get to some of those projects we've been wanting to try but putting off for whatever reasons. Yesterday I worked on making some Christmas ornaments with air dry clay. I've had the clay for a couple years, but hadn't ever gotten around to doing anything with it. Inspired and on a roll with crafting I decided I would play around with it. It was nearly rock hard and yet I worked with it, trying to soften it up, roll it out and cut out ornaments. Even with all my coaxing it did not work. The clay was just too old. Disappointing, but it also provides a perfect reminder for me (and you). If you have the materials and the ideas, jump into your project and do it. Now. Don't keep putting things off.


  1. Great post Anne. I have been reading 'The Wild Truth' by Carine McCandless which is about what drove her brother into the wild to die alone. It is a true story and a gripping read. Your book choices look interesting and are the type of books that I would read. I agree with you about not puting off projects. I have some air dry clay that is waiting to be used. I guess I should get on and use it! :-)

  2. Just enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I would also love to bring in library books but ours is not well stocked like yours :(
    BTW you can reconstitute clay by soaking it in water overnight and sieving it - I'm sure the internet would provide the details - all is not lost!

  3. I love the library too. And I always love book recommendations. I will have to look for these. Thanks for sharing.


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