Sunday, 7 August 2016

Year in books: August 2016

This year I'm taking part in the Year in Books organised by Laura at Circle of Pine Trees, with the aim of reading at least one book per month.

A little bit late posting this but I've made it in the end. Unusually for me, July's reads included two non-fiction titles which I picked up in the library.

Worn stories by Emily Spivack is a collection of memories based around an item of clothing. The 67 contributors range from a holocaust survivor to artists to entrepreneurs, and their stories range from 'the everyday to the extraordinary'.

This is an example but there's also a website,, which is still being added to if you want to see more. Obviously some of the stories are more interesting than others but I really enjoyed the small glimpses into people's lives. Great to dip in and out of.

My second pick was Slow stitch: mindful and contemplative textile art by Claire Wellesley-Smith. As the title suggests, it's about the calming process of hand stitching, allowing you to '[savour] the hours and minutes rather than just counting them'. It's an ideas book rather than a project book, though Claire does give a few exercises and techniques she uses with her stitching groups and in her own practice.  It also features the work of other textile artists and community groups. The emphasis throughout is on sustainability using recycled textiles and plant-based dyes.

I have to say much of her work wasn't really to my taste but I always manage to find something inspiring in these kind of books. In this case I really liked an idea from her stitch journal: each day she embroidered a circle in the colour of the sky that morning. I could see this being translated in lots of ways such as the colours of a day out or a special event.

I'm glad I borrowed it but it wouldn't be one I'd add to my own collection.

After reading Sarah Winman's first book 'When God was a rabbit' back in May, I was really looking forward to A year of Marvellous Ways. Set in the 1940s, it's the story of "Marvellous Ways, an 89-year-old woman who sits by a creek in Cornwall [and] Francis Drake, a young soldier who washes up there, reeling from war and broken-hearted".

Sarah Winman writes in a beautiful poetic style. It's another of those quiet books where not a lot happens and it's all about the characters. It took a while but it did draw me in and I ended up enjoying it. If you like fast-paced page-turners, this one's not for you. If you like lyrical books with a touch of mysticism and folklore, give it a try. I will be looking out for more by Sarah in future.

My pick for August is My map of you by Isabelle Broom. I bought this for my Dad for his birthday as it's set on the island of Zakynthos: he loves all things Greek and has visited the island several times. He really enjoyed it and passed it to my Mum who thought the same. Let's see if we can make it a hat-trick!

Other than that, I'm going to see where my fancy takes me...

In other news, it was my birthday this week! I spent the day in the beautiful Welsh town of Conwy. I'll show you more another time but it was a perfect day filled with all the things I love most: salty sea air, historic buildings, stunning views and cake!

Before that though, I still have one more day from our holiday to show you plus a Kirigami update. I only have one more week to work and then have two weeks off so I'm hoping to catch up with blogging and lots of home things. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. x


  1. A belated Happy Birthday! Sounds like you have lots to look forward to right now and I'll look forward to seeing your posts as they pop up! I'm a bit inactive at the moment as I seem to be constantly busy and have little time or inclination (or much to write about!) to blog.

  2. I enjoyed reading your reviews and was particularly intrigued by Slow Stitch. I think I too often rush through projects when I could slow down and savour them more. Having said that, I take comfort in sewing or crocheting when I am really busy and stressed.

    Happy belated birthday - your day sounds pretty perfect to me, with sea air and cake - and I hope you're having a lovely summer. xx

  3. Happy Birthday I hope you had a lovely day. A year of Marvellous ways sounds delightful. I have added it to my never ending list.

  4. What an interesting assortment of books you have given us! I am really struck by the book "My Map Of You". I think I would like anything that you and your parents like!
    Oh! And I want to see Wales! Take me, next time! And belated birthday wishes! xx

    Hey Julie, I found an interview on this blog post with the author! Thought you might like to read it too! xx

  6. Happy birthday!
    That awful recaptcha spamstopper thing made me go through loads of hassle to leave you a comment, is there any way to get rid of it!?