Stacking the Shelves: Dec – Feb 2015

Stacking the Shelves

December – February 2015

I have discovered there is the perfect outlet for my amazing ability to acquire books which then sit on my shelves while I faff about re-reading things or reading library books I had no knowledge of until I saw them on the shelf. It is Stacking the Shelves, a regular post about what books you have bought or borrowed, but not necessarily read yet. I’m using this post to remind myself of all the books I’ve started or have yet to read so I’m covering the last few months of hoarding.

On a more everyday note, I was gifted two new cookbooks: Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson and Spice Odyssey by Paul Merrett. Nigellissima which is amazing as I love Italian food and Nigella’s easy-to-read and easy-to-follow recipes. Spice Odyssey was a surprise but is very readable, Paul Merrett is a chef but has written recipes for the home cook, and admits that what he cooks at work doesn’t translate at home (he also includes instructions on how to construct your own tandoori oven from a dustbin, which is hilariously inventive).

I have a nice balance between fiction and non-fiction. On the non-fiction front, I have From Marie Antoinette’s Garden: An Eighteenth-Century Horticultural Album by Élisabeth de Feydeau (and the series is edited by Alain Baraton, author of The Gardener of Versailles), I’m about half way through as its a beautiful coffee table book and I am reading it carefully. Continuing the botanical theme, I also have Remarkable Plants That Shape Our World by Helen and William Bynum, which explores common plants which have changed the way humans live, such as grains, spices, medicinal plants, aesthetically pleasing plants and plants that are revered for religious or spiritual reasons. This is also a beautiful book, it even has gorgeous endpapers (I’m a sucker for a book that put special endpapers in).

The endpaper from Remarkable Plants, and below, the entry on the rose.

The endpaper from Remarkable Plants.

I also have First Fleet Artist by Linda Groom about George Raper, a midshipman in the First Fleet and his collection of depictions of Australian flora and fauna, the catalogue from the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, which focuses on his Australian muses, and Australian History in 7 Questions by John Hirst.

Fiction-wise, I got hold of a copy of Mercedes Lackey’s The Black Swan, which is not nearly as old as I thought (published 1999). As well as a couple of fairly recent, more popular books (look at me jump on the bandwagon before it recedes into the distance!), The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I liked Cloud Atlas, so I’m looking forward to The Bone Clocks.

I cracked the other day and went to the library, I picked up The Paper Garden: Mrs Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, as I’d learnt a little about Mary Delany through Great Women Collectors, and while I was looking for that I found Catherine the Great by Virginia Rounding, who I know next to nothing about (except that Catherine the Great was also a compulsive collector and also features in Great Women Collectors).

Right, that’s a worryingly large amount of reading just there, and that’s not even looking at the unread shelf. Nevermind, I just won’t do another one of these posts until I’ve cleared some breathing room!

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