Book Club: A January Reading List

Saturday, 9 January 2016

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I've been contemplating whether to write the typical 'New Year, New Me' January blog post, with a round up of my resolutions and outlook on the year (yada yada). But then I thought, I may as well cut to the influencing source. We're nearly 10 days into January and I've already gained so much positivity and perspective on the year ahead, how? ... I've devised a fantastic reading list.

I had a conversation the other day about The Amazon Wish List and realised that I've never actually used it. My books go straight in the basket and wait patiently. Sometimes they rack up, sometimes it's an instant purchase, but nevertheless, beautiful books are my weakness. As I'm sure everyone else does but aren't quick to admit - I'll come across my favourites in-store, flicking from the back to the front, then seek out a cheaper deal online, knowing someday I'll checkout.

You may remember me saying at the end of last year that I was itching to share the books that I'd bought as presents for my nearest and dearest. Continuing on from my Stocking Filler Gift Guide, I'm finally leaking the (very well received) reads I gifted for Xmas 2015. You're probably thinking who does a recapped gift guide in January? Why not? Prices are slashed on Amazon, so be selfish and buy what you really wanted for Christmas.

The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton 

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I immediately thought of my housemate when I saw this beautiful book. Ellie is the queen of 'waste not want not' and tells me that pickling, preserving and fermenting is 'so 2016'. She also knows a good looking jar when she sees it, with the modern day 'exposed shelf' pantry pretty much down to a T. So, what better gift than a recipe book full of jam, chutneys and pickle recipes. 

Created by New Zealand born Kylee Newton, The Modern Preserver is a follow on from the success of selling homemade Newton & Pott creations on Broadway Market. The book is bursting with inspiring photography and innovative recipes with experimental flavour combinations. I love the introduction in particular, describing the technical bits, as well as seasonal preserving being a way to gift your creativity. Hard labour and patience, preserved into a dainty jar for someone else to keep and enjoy. We need to get back to that.  

Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way by Lars Mytting

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I first heard about this book on BBC Radio 2, from an interview with the author Lars Mytting, and couldn't think of a more suited gift for the men in my life! For as long as I can remember my dad has been a devoted 'Logger'. Always on the look out for fallen trees and that opportune moment to chop, split and stack (infact he's outside chopping wood right now). Nik's dad also received this for Christmas from me and we've not heard the end of it. He's even taken to reevaluating his stacking methods, it's really shaken things up. Anyway, I have enjoyed reading the history and poetic instructions on how to get the best out of wood. I can now see the sentiment in this basic human instinct and have been touched by many inspiring words. 

My favourite quote comes from the Woodpile chapter. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd hear myself say). 

'You know exactly where you are with a woodpile. Its share price doesn't fall on the stock market. It won't rust. It won't sue for divorce. It just stands there and does one thing: It waits for Winter. An investment account reminding you of all the hard work you've put into it... when you sawed, split, and stacked as you worked to insure yourself against the cold... Well, Winter's here, and now it's your turn to feed the flames.' 

As dad presents go - it's a proper man book. Five stars.

The Water Book by Alok Jha 

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I think being a Trend Forecaster is one of few jobs in the creative industry that Scientific findings play a huge part. Balancing consumer behaviours, innovative technology and how that impacts design, means research and analysis can sometimes cross over into a scientific capacity, which I'm sure not everyone realises. I'm hugely passionate about this element of my job, piecing together the information to predict that next big trend, and so I've realised that my insight hungry mind has started to crave real thought-provoking stuff. 

The Water Book is currently awaiting checkout. 

This biography of water describes how such a basic element of life fuels us, connects us and basically makes up our existence - I'm pretty excited to get my mind blown. 

I would love to hear of anyone else's thoughts on the books featured, as well as your favourites and recommendations. Happy reading for 2016! 

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