Category: Book Reviews

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini

Well this is a very angry making book!  I’m not sure why I picked it up exactly but I whizzed through it super fast (for me anyway) and then spent my days at work completely distracted, worrying about the characters.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

This book is set in Afghanistan, from the 1980’s to early 2000’s and an amazing number of changes happen in that, relatively, short space of time.  Another book to make me realise that I have no idea what’s going on in the world.  It’s also quite hard to get your head around the fact that this stuff happened within my lifetime, and yet a lot of it seems so medieval.

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When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro- Book Review

Kazuo Ishiguro was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, a very pleasing development.  He’s an amazing author who you can genuinely recommend to people because he’s not too ‘wordy’.  Not much really seems to happen in his books, I think because they are all written in the past tense which automatically removes the sense of drama and urgency.  Still there are moments in all his books (well all the ones I’ve read) that are like being hit in the face with a brick, in an emotional way…

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The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton- Book Review

I read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton back in May and enjoyed it.  It effectively conveyed the harshness of the frontier, and the claustrophobia of the small mountain towns cut off from the outside world through tough winters.  Wharton was extremely prolific, and won a Pulitzer prize for The Age of Innocence.  Sister suggested I read it, so only a short 6 months later I finally did.

My cover art is particularly ridiculous…and I totally trashed the book

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Autumn by Ali Smith- Book Review

I saw Autumn on the old internets, and saw it was part of a set of seasons.  I thought, ‘well maybe I should start with Spring and work my way through’ before finding out that Autumn is the first one… Continue reading “Autumn by Ali Smith- Book Review”

Art Made From Books- Craft Book Review

I saw Su Blackwell’s exhibition ages ago at the Bronte Museum.  She had taken some of the Bronte’s books and created book-cut sculptures.  They were site-specific and pointed to the imaginary worlds of the Bronte children.   You can get commissioned work through her website for thousands of pounds.

Art Made From Books features Blackwell’s work as well as plenty of other weird and wonderful examples of books art.  This is a showcase of art, rather than a do-it-yourself instructional book.  But it’s beautiful, and quirky.  And make me wish I knew how to do things!

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Hot Milk by Deborah Levy- Book Review

Are you one of them millennials I keep hearing about?  In your 20s, with unfulfilled potential, no money, and feeling generally lost?  Sofia Papastergiadis feels the same way.  25, with an unfinished anthropology doctorate, and working in an artisan coffee shop in London, she hasn’t quite figured life out yet.  I felt like this through most of my twenties, graduating with a history degree and then just working in retail, and generally not having a clue what I wanted to do.

What I feel most is that I am a failure but I would rather work in the Coffee House than be hired to conduct research into why customers prefer one washing machine to another.

Hot Milk

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Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing-Book Review

Gretchen Hirsch began her blog, Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing, began when she tried to follow the 1950’s book, Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing.  As well as sewing and fashion, she has written about gender and body image.  Her popularity grew and she ended up publishing several books herself.  Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, there are 14 projects inspired by the original Vogue book with patterns including.  They are all pretty vintage in style, but modeled by Gertie with her fuller figure and tattoos there’s definitely a modern touch.

I was given this book as a gift which was sweet.  But it didn’t take long for me to realise that none of the outfits suited my body type, style, or lifestyle.  And, while full patterns are included you have to trace them first before cutting out as they all overlap.  When I got this book I hadn’t used patterns in a book before, and just used single patterns that you can just cut straight out.  I understand why books do this, it saves a lot of paper and expense but it’s a real pain to use.  I attempted to make a skirt a while back but it ended rather disastrously and looked atrocious.  Although I really appreciate Gertie’s work this was not the book for me!

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Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt

Mum bought me ‘The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ a while back, when that show was the hot new thing.  I’ve only just got around to looking it over properly.  To be honest most of the garments weren’t my style but I wanted to give a couple a go.  It’s supposed to be accessible if you’re a beginner, and the leggings were marked as ‘easiest’ difficulty, so how could I go wrong? Continue reading “Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt”

Adventures in Letterpress- Craft Book Review

Adventures in Letterpress

Adventures in Letterpress is one of those beautiful books that I bought a while ago and don’t ever really look at.  Because it’s not instructional I don’t feel the need to pull it out from under 17 other heavy books to look through it.  But it has lots of incredibly clever, artistic, and eclectic examples of letterpress printing.   Many of them are political and/or rude which makes them more interesting imo.

Letterpress printing uses a printing press to press a raised surface (say protruding letters) against a continuous roll of paper.  Letterpress was almost obsolete, with other easier techniques of printing available.  But, according to the Adventures in Letterpress blurb, artists and designers have taken is upon themselves to rescue letter-presses from scrap yards. This kind of art has become nichely popular (if that makes sense), as an antidote to the crazy digital age we live in.

 

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Sebastian Faulks- Where My Heart Used To Beat- Book Review

I loved the title.  It’s taken from a Tennyson poem, that Faulks quotes at the start of the book.  Anyway, it’s the reason I bought the book.  Faulks’ more famous work is Birdsong from 1993, in which a women in the 1970’s tries to understand her grandfather’s experiences of WW1.  I never read it, but picked this more contemporary effort instead.  This also deals with war, although more focused on WW2 this time.

Where My Heart Used To Beat

Set in the mid 1980’s our protagonist, Robert Hendricks is prompted to revisit old memories of his childhood, a lost love, and war time combat after receiving an odd letter from a man who served with his father in the First World War.  The death of Robert’s father in the war has left a hole in his life, like many children growing up in the interwar period.  There is a compelling moment when teenage Robert looks at his teacher, injured in WW1, and doesn’t realise he is looking at his own future. Continue reading “Sebastian Faulks- Where My Heart Used To Beat- Book Review”