Book shopping has always, for as long as I can remember, been the only type of shopping I truly enjoy. I’m very picky when choosing books and have become ever more so. I get quite annoyed with myself when I am suckered by publicity into buying a mediocre book.
When I’m reviewing books, I try to write what it is I like about a book. But, there are some books, the books that rise above the average, that I want to hold up above my head and wave towards you saying, LOOK, this is a book worth your time and money.
A mixed perk/pressure of my book reviewing work is that I can sometimes choose books from a publisher’s advance catalogue but, to do that, I must rely on gut instinct as there are rarely any reliable reviews to help. I am obliged to, lierally, judge a book by its cover. I’m on tenterhooks then, when book post arrives, for fear I will be let down.
In the last month, I have been unexpectedly delighted by two books. Both are far more practical and useful than I could have hoped. More surprisingly, both have made me think deeply about how I am raising this little family of mine.
The first is Feeding a Family by Sarah Waldman. I came across this by happenstance as it had the same publisher (Roost) as Eat This Poem. Obviously, as feeding a family is my primary concern, I was attracted by the title. In just a few short weeks, this book has become the mainstay of our dinner time. It is the best blend of healthy/tasty/practical that I’ve come across in this style of book. Perhaps the best endorsement is that my kids won’t let me give it away. Only one caveat: measurements are mostly in American cups and spoons and sticks of butter, all that malarkey. I have an imperial measure that has both English and American cup markings on it which is dead handy.
Cookbooks are always expensive but, if you are trying to feed a family, particularly a young family, this is a good investment. Read my full review here.
The second is The Art of the Natural Home by Rebecca Sullivan.
This is a book of recipes to make natural (meaning safe, environmentally harmless and, for the most part, even edible) products that most people would never even consider trying to make. Oven cleaner, kitchen spray, food colouring, moisturiser, shampoo, even mascara!
My girls and I got a real kick out of the cosmetics section and I was thrilled by their reaction to it.
Best of all, the products work. This book, genuinely, has the power to change how you think about buying stuff.
Don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith…read my full review here.
I’m off now to dolly myself up (cocoa blusher and all) for Teenage Son’s End Of Year school mass. My boy has finished school. Weird.
I’ve enrolled in a food writing workshop at Litfest17 in Ballymaloe tomorrow. I’m very worried that ‘workshop’ implies actual work. They won’t make me stand up and read something, will they? Waaah!