Category: books


a book is made from a tree. it is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. one glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.

carl sagan


cloud atlas

picture from a dijon opera house programme

watching all the adverts for cloud atlas made me really curious about the story. when it came out in 2004 i was confused and thought that it was a book just about clouds and the sound of it didn’t really interest me. in 2013 i realised that this wasn’t the case. so i read it a couple of weeks ago and loved it.

the story consists of six characters that are essentially the same soul in different bodies across the centuries – from the colonial past to a dystopian future. the broad time-frame spanned means that the book encompasses all kind of genres, making each section separate and interesting but still tied in to the novel as a whole through the central theme of human nature and its universality, individualism and freedom. the book is like a set of russian dolls, each one opening to reveal a new story inside, getting smaller and smaller until the central story when they begin to slot back together again.

the story is quite a complex one, but its not a difficult read because it is so intriguing and well written – i haven’t watched the film yet because i heard that it wasn’t very good… but whether you have seen it or not this book is definitely worth reading.

edible edible

one of the other wwoofers staying here lent me their food for free book and its great, im going to get one when i get home. it has a calendar of edible plants for the year, good pictures and recipes. it’s also extremely interesting, who knew you could eat beech tree leaves as a salad? i didn’t. it’s a book for the uk, but a lot of the plants can still be found throughout the rest of europe, so hopefully i can memorise some useful things if we get stuck in the wilderness.

wilderness tips

i never used to like short stories because i always thought that they ended too soon and didn’t explain everything enough. now this is what i like about them – they are a short snippet that doesn’t have to go in depth into every detail. they are like eating a biscuit – sometimes you are happy just having one, usually its two or three, but sometimes you just eat the whole packet in one go. maybe i like them more now because i could easily read a story or two on my half-hour lunch which was really satisfying.

this collection of short stories by margaret atwood centres around the themes of loss and love and lost love and loneliness. we read one of the stories – hairball, in my women’s writing class and it stuck with me because it was quite grotesque, but also really bold and sad. after reading the whole collection this isn’t even in my top three of the stories because they are all so good. each one explores the female protagonist’s different feelings of loneliness and i think the title reflects this – wilderness tips, as if the stories are cathartic guides to how to deal with these emotions when you feel like you are alone in the wilderness of the world.


lunchtime bookshop sweep

i sold my long, long hair on monday for £50. i didn’t need all that hair but i do need the money. i like my new hair its easy and nice, but i am still a bit sad about being nearly bald – so i reread little women because jo was my original inspiration for the hair selling:

‘i took a last look at my hair while the man got his things, and that was the end of it. i never snivel at trifles like that; i will confess, though, i felt queer when i saw the dear old hair laid out on the table, and felt only the short, rough ends on my head. it almost seemed as if i’d had an arm or a leg off. the woman saw me look at it , and picked off a long lock for me to keep. i’ll give it to you, marmee, just remember past glories by; for a crop is so comfortable i don’t think i shall ever have a mane again.’

i didn’t keep any of my locks because who keeps chunks of hair now? and also i thought they’d lower the price if i asked…

so i finished little women and realised i’d never read any of the following books so ran out on my lunchbreak to find good wives and accidentally bought two other books. which was stupid considering i am trying to clear out my flat to move out, but i can’t say no to books.


IMG_1982 IMG_1983 IMG_1984


we finished making these photo albums last week using a japanese stab binding. it was the most satisfying book to make because it looks impressive but was actually fairly straight-forward. i was going to give it away as a present but i think i like it too much!


love in the time of cholera


i read this book in a time when my sister and one of my best friends were (one still is) in colombia. inspired by their exploits and missing them both a little i decided to read love in the time of cholera by colombian author gabriel garcia marquez. yesterday i received a postcard from cartagena – the city that this book is meant to be set in – and it reminded me of how much i enjoyed this book. it is such a beautifully heartbreaking portrait of love, death and ageing and the heavily flawed characters completely dragged me in. i recommend it completely.

water water everywhere

it’s so great to be taught by a person who is really good at what they do

see the other books in the bound for success exhibition here

the flight from the enchanter

i recently finished reading the flight from the enchanter by iris murdoch. this is third book i have read by her; the first was under the net which i loved, the second was the sandcastle which i found a little boring. i’ve made an iris murdoch sandwich of like and dislike because i really enjoyed this book. her writing feels very british – i am not entirely sure what i mean by this but if you are british and read an iris murdoch book maybe you will get the same feeling… in all three of these books the plot is heavily character based and the descriptions of them so detailed you can imagine them hopping out of the book and going about their daily life without you having to read them into being. however, there always seems to be a gothic sense of foreboding hanging over these characters – murdoch seamlessly plops this on top of her realism to make her writing seem slightly supernatural…

i really, really liked this style of writing and this book and i liked under the net as well, my friend keeps recommending the sea, the sea so i think this is my next stop.


im constantly saving pictures of beautiful books for inspiration. this one is so beautiful and kind of reminds me of brighton…

taken from here