Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Spineless classics

Somebody else is having fun creating beautiful book-related things and, I suspect, having just as wonderful and frustrating time as I am with publishing and rights just at the moment. I think I've seen Spineless Classics at a trade fair and would love them to be better-known as the finishing and designs are beautiful. I had another look at their range on the website today and am bookmarking for possible present-hunting later this year. My current favourite is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, though there are also Moomins and some very nice Jane Austens. I'm even more impressed that they've fitted The Count of Monte Cristo on to one page.

I especially like the fact that these are works of art in their own right and the sort of 'book-related' presents you could still buy a child or book collector without being greeted by a puzzled look. That said, a book collector may be wondering where they have room on the wall for a print.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Return of the Great British Bake Off

It's almost time for the return of the Great British Bake Off (20 August, BBC2, I think) and I'm not quite counting down the days as I'm far too busy with deadlines that finish just before the series starts. Sitting down with a mug of tea in front of Bake Off is something of a reward after a hectic few weeks. I'm looking forward to it though - new recipes, new people and Mary Berry being wonderful. I may yet pluck up the courage to try macarons and will see what chaos I can cause with a piping bag. I've been having fun cooking shortcakes and meringues and filling both with cream and berries. The strawberries are mostly over, but later varieties are ripening nicely. For the moment, I'm using up the raspberries and a Japanese wineberry that's more beautiful than any other berry. They're as small as a fingernail and the colour of garnets.

It does make it easier when baking's in fashion to sell books like Candy Nevill that's stuffed full of cakes, family meals and strawberries. Food enthusiasms aren't new - just how many recipe books and food shows are published and commissioned each year? It's good, too, I think to bring out a young adult title with vintage charm where cooking and learning about how to improve as a cook are at the heart of the novel. Yes, you make mistakes in cooking, but you learn from them. Mostly in the struggle to clear up the mess. I don't recommend letting your jam boil over either as it can take days to clean the cooker.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Adventures in Yarn Farming (Roost Books)

Product Details

I've been unsettled, reading-wise, this week. I started a number of books and wasn't drawn in and just put them down again. I'm sure I'll come back to them later. It's like that sometimes. You're either in the right frame of mind for a certain book or you're not. Instead, I settled down to sift through the stack of papers, flyers, notes and business cards that I'd brought home from BEA and recycled a fair bit of it. The freebie sweets I'd eaten while wandering around the conference centre - I was getting plenty of exercise walking round and the queues for the many coffee shops were just huge. Anyway, I did get a lovely flyer from Roost Books and thought that Adventures in Yarn Farming sounds fascinating from a craftsman's perspective. Does it sound overblown if I say that I wanted to be a publisher so that I could create beautiful things? Anyway, the flyer on its own is a four-page work of art and I have the book's release date of November carefully noted in my diary so that I can buy a copy. Well, I'd probably buy more than one as it would be a good Christmas present (sorry, I know it's August) for the knitters in my life.

Barbara Parry's written her story of life on a sheep farm and included knitting patterns, ideas for carding and weaving and a life that I know very little about. I was drawn to the centre picture of complicated cables. I'm too much of a beginner knitter and hope that my cables actually work to even contemplate quite so may turns. I'm also keen to find out more about farm life and how you look after herds of sheep, goats and llamas. For those of us who are interested in non-city life, colour and texture, this book seems ideal and I'll update when I've bought a copy later in the year.