Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Two good books to recommend

I always like being recommended a book or two - it's nice to get someone else's opinion on a book, and to know they've thought of you when reading one as well.
The Garden Cottage Diaries was one that was recommended on CL forum back in June, and I ordered it from Amazon. I sat down and read straight the way through it that afternoon! It really is a terrific book, about a woman who spends a year living as much as possible and as close to possible as was done in the 1790s - clothing, food, shelter, light, walking everywhere. What made it more special for me is that she is Scottish, and carried out he year's living in Scoltand, near the area whaere I was brought up. As it says on the back cover - "Her quirky, lively and down top earth account is packed with hsitory, folklore, facts, practical tips and curiosities" - and so it is. There's a lot in there I want to try out for myself - recipes, the rush lights, some of the clothing, all sorts of things. A great book for anyone interested in domestic history, I found it hugely inspiring, and with a good range of skills that we may need in the not too distant future waiting to be tried and re-discovered.
The other book is very different: Home - chronicle of a North Country Life, by Beth Powning. This one was recommended to me on an American forum; a book about a woman and her relationship with the land. The writing is top notch - spare, evocative, one to be read again and again, each time gaining more from the additional reading. The last chapter on the storm is wonderful, for me, a perfect piece of writing. The book is illustrated by beautiful photographs, marrying superbly with the prose. I couldn't recommend this one highly enough, and have read it twice now.


Bovey Belle said...

Snap! I have the Garden Cottage diaries put aside as one of my Christmas presents (and I have been VERY good and not looked at it), and the Beth Powning book is beside me as I write, sent to me recently by a dear friend in the States. Such beautiful, evocative writing and fabulous photographs.

Jacqui said...

I love the Garden Cottage Diaries - like you I read it through right away, and now I bring it out at the start of the month and read that chapter again. Wonderful.
Now I just have to look out for the Beth Powning book.