what I read in February 2020

Cozy White Cottage by Liz Marie Galvan
More of the same look that all the decorating books are about now. White-painted everything. A few black or tan accessories. Zero personality.
Food in Jars Kitchen by Marisa McClellan
I doubt I’ll ever be able to make enough preserves to use in baking and cooking, but if I did, I’d try some of these recipes.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (Audiobook)
Great premise; super-weird narrative technique of one person relating someone else’s story who is in turn relating someone else’s story who is in turn relating someone else’s story. Also, the monster had incredible language skills for having picked it up by eavesdropping.
Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
Useful advice if you just so happen to be an executive with a desk job and subordinates to whom you can assign things. Not all that useful for anyone else.
JOMO Knits by Christina Boggis
Very simple and huge gauge-knits that don’t look like they’d last more than a couple wearings.
The Make Ahead Vegan Cookbook by Ginny Kay McMeans
Some recipes worth trying.
Making a Life by Melanie Falick
Very inspiring look at people with creatively fulfilling lifestyles.
My Scotland by Val McDermid
I’ve never read any of McDermid’s books and I’m not sure I ever will, but I enjoyed the photographs of Scotland.
The New Frontier by Ree Drummond
No cookbook should be 50% photographs of the author’s children.
The Plantiful Plate by Christine Wong
Fine.
She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Audiobook)
Both excellent and so, so depressing.
Taste of Home Handmade Christmas
Crafts, not food. A few cute ideas.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Audiobook)
It’s been a while, but I still love it.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Audiobook)
Amazing. 10/10.
Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by BJ Fogg
Very good. I am trying his technique, to varying degrees of success.
Two Crows Sorrow by Laura Churchill Duke
Based on a true, local, depressing story. I think it would have been stronger if it had been presented as creative non-fiction instead of a fictionalised novel. It also needed a much more thorough proofreading.
Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady
Having seen so many descriptions of this as ‘scary’ and ‘spooky’, I almost didn’t bother, expecting it to be some kind of horror thing. But I had faith in Lynn Coady and it was justified. Very good storytelling.
When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (Audiobook)
Yet another buzzed-about book that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It was okay.
Your Best Home by Joe Snell
Your best home is apparently very modern in style and sparse in possessions.

in a pickle

I keep forgetting to photograph my creative endeavours lately. There have been the cakes and muffins and crisps that we set upon before I can think to grab a camera. There were four pairs of boot cuffs for the girls, which would have looked nice in photos, but they’re both off here, there and everywhere, living their lives instead of posing patiently while I take pictures of their ankles. I just finished a pair of wool slippers for myself, but didn’t even bother trying to photograph my own feet because I can just imagine how unimpressive that would look.

But I did think to get a shot of Charlotte’s most recent masterpiece:

The Pickle Bouquet. A Valentine’s Day gift for her friends.

I want one, but with chocolates.

what I read in January 2020

Almonds, Anchovies and Pancetta by Cal Peternell (Has only one recipe I’d even consider making, which I think is a new record low for me and cookbooks.)
Animal Hats to Knit by Luise Roberts (It takes a certain kind of person to wear an animal hat. I am not that person.)
The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking (Pay attention. Take pictures. Reminisce.)
Casino Royale (Audiobook. So. Many. Words. About. Playing. Cards.)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming (Fun. How I wish I’d read this one to the kids when they were little.)
Circe by Madeline Miller (Audiobook. Excellent. Excellent narrator, too.)
The Cure for Everything! by Timothy Caulfield (One long,smug refusal to consider anything that hasn’t been proven by scientific studies, while including many instances of scientific studies that have been faked or manipulated.)
Dear Girls by Ali Wong (Audiobook. Living here under my rock, I had never heard of the author, who, it turns out, is a famous actor and comedian. I enjoyed her part, but thought her husband’s final chapter ended it on a dull note.)
Grand Union by Zadie Smith (Audiobook. Short stories. Good.)
Living Crazy Healthy by Jennifer Rose Rossano (Lots of ideas to try.)
Platform by Cynthia Johnson (She makes the interesting point that you have a personal brand online, whether you like it or not, so you might as well make that personal brand into what you choose.)

my favourite reads of 2019

Not that anyone has asked, but here is a list of my favourite reads of 2019, sorted by genre.

NON-FICTION
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Nov)
Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox (Mar)
Cræft: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands (Jan)
Erebus by Michael Palin(Mar)
-First Degree by Kayla Hounsell (Sept)
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin (Apr)
-The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale (Oct)
To Marry an English Lord by Carol McD. Wallace and Gail MacColl (Oct)
Murder by the Book by Claire Harman (Sept)
-The Old Man and the Gun by David Grann (May)
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Aug)
-The Wake by Linden MacIntyre (Dec)

BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
-Becoming Dr Seuss by Brian Jay Jones (Nov)
Educated by Tara Westover (Apr)
Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise by Charlotte Gray (Oct)
-Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Aug)
-Wallis in Love by Andrew Morton (Oct)
The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong (Mar)

FICTION
-Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken (Aug)
-The Cat-nappers
 – aka Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P. G. Wodehouse (July)
The Collected Stories of Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne (June)
Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones (June)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Nov)
-The Innocents by Michael Crummey (Oct)
The Mating Season by P.G. Wodehouse (Mar)
-Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles (Sept)
Transcription by Kate Atkinson (Jan)
We’re All In This Together by Amy Jones (Oct)
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (June)