Barbara Toner’s book What to Do About Everything is nothing short of a gem. Barbara came last week to talk about her book, and I learnt how to fold a Tshirt so it looks like new, how to fold fitted sheets, how to buy a property – what to look for, what it’s going to cost you, how the whole real estate system works. It’s a fabulous book, rather like a Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion for the home. Everything you will want to know, on every possible subject. It’s an essential, easy reference book.
I stayed up late last night finishing Ann Patchett’s new book, State of Wonder, a book really worth today’s results of being tired. It’s so good. The story takes place in the Amazon. There is a drug company (of course), there’s a native tribe whose women seem to be able to conceive into their 70’s and who dont catch malaria, there’s a missing scientist who is presumed dead and a young pharmacologist sent by the drug company to get to the bottom of what’s happening. Patchett is a beautiful writer. The plot had me hooked until late last night, even then I didn’t want the story to end!
This is a new book that has been glued to me all this week. Or I’ve been glued to it. I even sat up until 11:00 last night to finish it! The author is Vanessa Diffenbaugh and it’s a great story about a young girl who has had a disasterous childhood, passed from foster home to institution. At 18 she is on her own, with no job and nowhere to stay except the local park. She does have a talent for flower arranging and has learnt the Victorian language of flowers – honeysuckle for devotion, azaleas for passion – and from this begins a business helping brides find the flowers that truly express their feelings. It’s a great story, and of course there is the young gardener who has links to her past. And I learnt a lot about the language of flowers. Due September but let me know if you’d like me to reserve a copy for you.
One of my favourite art books is Cressida Campbell’s Woodblock Painting. This is a beautifully produced book covering twenty five years of her work and the subjects cover the harbour, flowers in arrangements or in a vase, trees, their bark, their leaves, even a red cabbage. There’s paintings of industrial and domestic still life and portraits as well. It is a truly beautiful book of brilliant work. We’re very fortunate that we still have a few copies left of this extraordinary book.