BBW Box 2b (2016)a

Here we go again…. un-boxing the bounty from  my second trip to the box sales, which turned out to be no less fruitful than the first, but a lot more relaxed as it happened to be on a weekday.

First up, three more additions to my ‘armchair gardening’ reads.  I was most thrilled to find Anna Pavord’s The Curious Gardener after having read some good things about it. Though I have yet to read her other book that’s sitting on the shelves (The Naming of Names), something tells me that she’s my cup of tea and I won’t regret collecting her works.
Our Lives In Gardens by Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd is new to me but I love the title and what it suggests, and the same goes for Clyde Phillip Wachsberger’s Into The Garden With Charles: A Memoir.

The Mark Kulansky and A Card From Angela Carter were picked mainly due of their convenient size for filling up the odd spaces in the box, but it’s fair to say that they do seem to have something interesting to offer between those slim covers too.

The Irene Nemirovsky biography by French biographers Philipponnat and Lienhardt looks likely to be another promising read. “This book elegantly balances her life and the work, painting a portrait (if at some distance) of a spirited young asthmatic writer, daughter, wife, and mother.” I wonder if I should read Suite Francaise first before starting on this.

I was glad to be able to finally get my hands on The Joy of Eating: The Virago Book of Food, after finding a copy of The Joy of Shopping at the sales some years ago. “Beatrix Potter wove one of her most malicious tales around the roly-poly pudding. Colette counted the nuts she would pick before falling asleep in the French countryside. Dorothy Wordsworth noted her pie-making sessions in her diary and Anne Frank observed the eating habits of her companions in hiding. Food is a constant in our lives, and it has always been a basic ingredient of women’s writing—in household books, cookbooks, diaries, letters, and fiction. In this anthology concentrating on international food writing by women, indulge your appetite with such diverse writers as Edwidge Danticat, Barbara Pym, and J. K. Rowling.” Sounds fun!

Next, is a beautiful hardback copy of Marilynne Robinson’s Lila. I seem to be collecting Robinson’s work based on the strength of the good reviews I’ve read but have not actually read any of it for myself yet. Should really rectify that soon.

Witold Rybczynski’s City Life is completely unfamiliar to me but I am curious to find out more after reading the blurb. “Witold Rybczynski looks at what we want from cities, how they have evolved, and what accounts for their unique identities. In this vivid description of everything from the early colonial settlements to the advent of the skyscraper to the changes wrought by the automobile, the telephone, the airplane, and telecommuting, Rybczynski reveals how our urban spaces have been shaped by the landscapes and lifestyles of the New World.”

Thoreau is another writer I really want to get acquainted with. A person who can find such contentment and pleasure in solitude and quietness holds great appeal for me, and so finding a copy of the Penguin Nature Library edition of his Cape Cod was a much welcomed sight.

The slim volume of Trollope’s biography by Graham Handley was yet another good choice for acting as a box filler.

Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson makes for a great gift book. It’s filled with pages of beautiful photography of landscape, nature and animals combined with encouraging Biblical scriptures meant to be read as one prepares to wind down and retire for the night, reflecting on the day gone by with thankfulness.

The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink edited by Kevin Young.
Poetry is said to feed the soul, each poem a delicious morsel. When read aloud, the best poems provide a particular joy for the mouth. Poems about food make these satisfactions explicit and complete.” Some of the poets whose works can be found in this collection are Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath and W.B Yeats, among a host of others.

BBW Box 2a (2016)

Next comes the pile of architecture, food and design coffee table books. Finding Peter May’s beautifully photographed Hebrides, was a real bonus. The breathtaking landscapes that serve as the background to his Lewis Trilogy are a real visual treat.

A Table in The Tarn: Living, Eating and Cooking in Rural France by Orlando Murrin, a former journalist and cook who gave up his life in London to open a gourmet bed and breakfast with his partner in southwestern France. The premise for this has certainly whet my appetite for more.

And I had no idea that stone could be so interesting a subject until I came across Dan Snow’s Listening to Stone and In the Company of Stone: The Art of the Stone Wall. It’s an ancient skill–building with only what the earth provides. No mortar, no nails, nothing to hold his creations together except gravity, an invisible glue he can sense in the stones’ “conversations” of squeaks and rumbles. 

BBW Box 2c (2016)

In a voice as expressive as Annie Dillard’s and as informed as John McPhee’s, Snow demonstrates astonishing range as he touches on such subjects as geology, philosophy, and community. We learn that stone’s grace comes from its unique characteristics—its capacity to give, its surprising fluidity, its ability to demand respect, and its role as a steadying force in nature. In these fast-paced times, Snow’s life’s work offers an antidote: the luxury of patience, the bounty and quietude of nature, the satisfaction of sweat. “I work with stone,” he ultimately tells us, “because stone is so much work.”

The luxury of patience……. hmmm, I think we could definitely use some of that too when it comes to dealing with our never-ending, ever-growing stacks of unread books! :p


9 thoughts on “Box The Second

  1. You’ve got Lila! I’m jealous, it’s the only book of her;s I don’t have, although I keep looking. I avoided Marilynne Robinson for years, because I thought she was ‘difficult’, but I am in love with her writing – slow,measured, grave, precise, but there is warmth and humour there as well. I am sure you will enjoy her work. And you will love The Curious Gardener and the Joy of Eating – they are both wonderful, and you can drip in and out as the mood takes you. And The Hungry Ear poetry collection sounds interesting, as do the biographies of Nemirovsky and Trollope.


    1. Thank you for the re-assurance on Marilynne Robinson’s writing! Will try to make it a point to start reading her before the year ends. And I’m looking forward very much to dipping into The Curious Gardener & Joy of Eating too. I seem to have a ‘bad’ tendency to dip into far too many books and not staying on course to finish any!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is technically a sale for new books, so most of them do come in great conditions, except for the ones that have suffered wear and tear due to long term storage or more often the case, rough handling by irresponsible book- shoppers who treat the books with no due respect. Sadly, some people do seem to treat the books like dirt just because they are dirt cheap.


  2. Woohoo! My first thought was – how beautiful they are! I wonder if there’s an ode to the beauty of the book as an object..
    I haven’t read Robinson yet either and she’s on my list for the precise the same reasons you mentioned. Those garden books seem interesting 🙂 and The Joy of Eating. I wonder what it says – you have to tell me when you find out because I find myself complaining about mankind’s dependence on food. It would all be better if we didn’t need to eat.
    And, Listening to Stone sounds particularly interesting!


    1. Ahh…. a book lover after my own heart! 🙂 Books are indeed such wonderful objects of beauty, aren’t they? I guess books that celebrate the beauty of them in decorating a space (ie: Books Do Furnish A Room; Decorating With Books etc) serve as the alternative form to an ‘ode’.
      Maybe we can tackle the Robinson together and compare notes later. 😉
      Do you really think it’s better that we didn’t need to eat, or is it just better if we didn’t need to worry about getting the food on the table and doing the cleaning up after eating? :p
      And, I did think you would be interested in the Stones, too. 🙂


      1. I do really think it would be better if we didn’t need to eat to stay alive. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about getting the food on the table which (besides getting the roof over our head) is what many people work for and it’s also the reason why many people choose to practically be slaves. Sheer survival. It’s just devastating.


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