Wednesday, September 21, 2011
My Ever Expanding Library
I've had a life long love affair with books. Ever since I figured out how to read (somewhere between the age of 3 and 4, according to my mother) I have always had to have as many books as possible nearby. Fiction, nonfiction, recipe books, how-to manuals, it doesn't matter as long as it's printed. Bookshelve dominate practically every room in our apartment and stray books still spill off of every available surface. On my recent return from the UK, I had to borrow another suitcase to cart home my extra baggage and I'm almost embarassed to admit that the bulk of that was books - 14 in all. (In my defence we were traveling by train almost every day so I needed reading material. And I actually left some behind because I needed room for my Kilner Jars)
So you can imagine my excitement when I was approached by the publishing house Thomas and Allen and asked if I would like to receive books to review for this blog. Free books? And all I have to do is read them and talk about them here? Um, is this a trick question?
When I arrived home in August there was a parcel notice waiting for me and I hurried to the Post office with my ID in hand to pick up what I thought would be a catalogue of books to choose from. To my delight there were several catalogues and 3 books! And it got better-that squeal of glee eminating from my apartment was me realizing that one of the books was an advanced copy of Barnheart by Jenna Woginrich.
Now if you've found your way to my blog you've likely already heard of Jenna and Cold Antler Farm (and if you haven't, you'll find it here). Jenna has a small sheep farm in the area of New York State known as Veryork and she's one of my absolute favourite bloggers -she make words sing on a page! Last winter I made a special trip to Buffalo, NY just to purchase her first book Made From Scratch which documented her early years learning how to be self sufficient. She also has a book about raising chickens called Chick Days. Barnheart is her latest offering due to be released in November. I didn't expect to get my hands on a copy of it for quite some time. Needless to say I devoured it in record time! And I'd love to tell you all about it but the publisher has requested that I wait until closer to the release date to post my review. Which I promise I will very soon and if all goes well, I'll be reviewing other books and posting about them as well.
In the meantime I have other news of a literary bent. Last night Joel and Dana of Well Preserved and I hosted a small preserve tasting party to introduce our friends and fellow bloggers to Kate Payne, the author of The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking. Kate, Joel and I connected through the CanJam last year so we delighted to hear she was coming here to promote her book and it was a wonderful excuse to get a group of like minded people together for an evening of canning talk and preserve tasting. Many familiar faces were there: Laurel from Not Far From the Tree, Laura of Cubits Organics and Sarah B Hood of Toronto Tasting Notes and author of We Sure Can were among the guests.
There were many delicious jars to sample from, loads of interesting conversations and a chance to chat with Kate and grab a copy of her book. As the title suggests, it's a modern take on 'old fashioned' skills like canning and it's full of great ideas for for creating a beautiful home environment on a minimal budget.
As much as I wish I had time right now to be beautifying my home, or even reading about it, I'm still knee deep in preserving. Tonight it's more tomatoes, chicken stock and chili garlic paste. I also still have grapes, autumn olives (!more on those later!) and a boatload of celery to deal with. But when the freezer is finally full and the jars are all processed and lined up on the shelves, there's a pile of books with my name on them!