I didn’t get quite as many books for my birthday as I did at Christmas – probably for the best – but I did get a few nice things that I’ve been mulling over this week.
1) Mapp and Lucia, E. F. Benson – You may recall that I was recently ranting about not having read any Mapp and Lucia. I’d never even heard of them! I wanted to get this intro for a really long time, but was forcing myself to read all the serious books I got at Christmas first before I treated myself. Still sloggigng through one last epic, but hopefully I’ll be ready to start on this just in time for my holiday next week. Because frankly, it looks like holiday reading. This one came courtesy of my brother.
2) The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Carson McCullers - And after I’ve read some jolly Mapp and Lucia, back to the miserable books I like best. This was a gift from Laura, who as a fellow former employee of Waterstone’s and avid reader of awesome things, is a trusted source of reading material. I can’t pretend to know anything about this compilation of short stories but I see the words ‘haunting’ and ‘brawling’ and I figure it’s got to be good.
3) Hairstyles and Fashion: A Hairdresser’s History of Paris 1910-1920, Steven M. Zdatny - Perhaps verging on textbook, but you can’t deny that I don’t take my job seriously, right? This book covers an interesting time in hairdressing, when the bob was invented (well, in a fashion sense, obviously the cut had been around for years) and when hairdressers were celebrities, who got taken on holiday with their clients so that they could look marvellous at all times and got paid ridiculously sums of money for doing so. This educational tome comes from my step-dad, who clearly pays attention.
4) A Privileged Life: Celebrating WASP Style, Susanna Salk – Recommended to my by Natalie, this fashion book is a salute to a very specific sector of American style. Loads of beautiful pictures of preppy style and ridiculously beautiful houses in fantastically-named places like Fire Island, it makes me want a veranda and a boat more than ever. Proper highlights of this book to come soon in a blog post. Another one from my bro here.
5) What to Cook and How to Cook it: Fresh & Easy, Jane Hornby - Jane Hornby’s first book – What to Cook and How to Cook it – is one of my favourites, based entirely on how it looks. The recipes are great, but they are definitely quite simple and probably not anything you hadn’t thought about cooking before. But my god, it’s beautiful. All the ingredients are lined in up satisfying straight lines, like something from Things Organised Neatly. This latest book has an emphasis on seasonal eating and fresh ingredients and again, while there aren’t too many challenging dishes it’s sometimes the simplest dishes that I forget about. Already cooked a couple of things and can give it a big double thumbs up. Thanks Aunty Anne!