Thursday, 19 April 2012

Judging a Book by its Cover

                                    Kitchen Books I: Pickles, Preserves, Spices and Terrines

The old adage tells us not to judge a book by its cover. Now, we know this was meant as a metaphor for not being deceived by appearances, but I wonder how many of us are literally, and frequently, taken in by the cover of a book or glossy magazine. Only to be disappointed to varying degrees when we finally sit down and open it up for a good read.

                                         Kitchen Books II: Baking and Breadmaking

                                                               Kitchen Books III: General Cookery Books

                                Kitchen  Books III - t'other side of door. (which I should have shut, aesthetically speaking!)

Buying on Amazon is a two-edged sword, as you have to balance the cheaper price with being unable to thoroughly scan the contents before purchase, as you would in the bookshop. (And I'm not even getting into the argument about the decline of the local booksop.) I'm pretty careful with books, I have to say, but have still been caught out on occasion by a promising cover and description which doesn't deliver the goods.  Magazines, though are a regular disappointment - perhaps I should lower my expectations! These days publishers are very hip to the value of a bit of 'eye candy' on the front cover, and I am frequently seduced by the colour, style and design of a magazine - generally a textile/craft or home decor title. I buy fewer than I used to, as, like you, I'm watching where my pennies are going; but I find time after time that there is a disparity between style and content.

                         Living Room Books. Yes, there's another shelf underneath, which you can't see.

                                        Part of my Textile Book Collection in the Sewing Room. Erm....still to face de-cluttering...

Having said that, when you've pared your outgoings down to essentials AGAIN, and denied yourself yet another treat for the taste-buds on account of health/beauty (!), the cost of a magazine, for those of us lucky enough to be able to afford it, seems a small price to pay.  I should curb my expectations a little, and enjoy my little visual, guilt-free treat. Do you have the same experience? Or are you more judicious in your buying habits?

                           The very tiny (and very tidy, now!) Porch. I had to stand outside to take this one!

 J's collection of fishing books in the inglenook

The photographs in this post relate  to the various book piles in our cottage. I think the only bookless rooms are the bathroom and the downstairs loo, I've even squeezed shelves onto the landing and in the tiny porch. Actually I'm quite proud of the porch, as when we re-painted it earlier this year  I culled so many books, we got rid of  two shelves entirely. It was very difficult, as I make friends with my books, and some of them had been around a long time. But go they did, from porch, sewing room, living room, kitchen, bedrooms - J took FOUR boxes, each the size of a small chest of drawers, to the recycling centre. 

books in the spare bedroom...............

.........books on the landing..........

....books on the beam in our bedroom........

I felt quite light-headed when they'd gone, and actually I haven't missed one of them. All part of the grand, on-going de-clutter which has been happening here for the last 4 months. And judging by some other bloggers - notably Lucy over at attic24 - we are all at it, clearing away our 
shelves of doom and other shameful household blackspots .

                                                ........and finally, books above our bed.

 I did take a photo of the small collection in the tiniest bedroom - now the computer/dressing room (because it has a wardrobe in it!)  but there was too much husband in the way and I was in a hurry!
So you see, this small pile is all that remains of the vast library which threatened to overtake our small home! These are the Ones That Got Away, for one reason or another.  Neither J nor I are daft enough to have imposed a moratorium on further purchases, however, so I'm sure at some point we are going to have to re-cull. Just not yet!

Now then, if all goes well, the next post will be a little different, as I may be having a Guest Blogger. Yes! Get me! In fact, there may be two of them, two very old friends of mine from up on the North Norfolk coast. They live in an Old Rectory in a small village, and, if you have been quilting about in Norfolk for a few years, you very well may remember them..............

Bye for now - Lynne.


  1. I do like your library. I think I could lose a lot of time browsing through all your books. I particularly like your excellent cookbook choices.

  2. Ah, time lost to a good book! Almost an entire parallel life! I'm not even a great follower-to-the-word of recipes, I tend to use the books as inspiration, a recipe is a jumping off point, isn't it? But my very favourite cookery books are the ones you can take to bed and read just for the writing - which is why particualrly enjoy the Nigel Slaters, Grigsons and of course,ELizabeth David.

    I must stop writing - I'll have penned another blog-post at this rate! Thanks for visiting, Sue!

  3. Lynne,
    Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, and for reading for ages. That is also very generous. I love your book collection. I am a huge fan of books and have to find creative places to store them. Best of luck with both your photos and your quilting. Your work is beautiful. The White Album is pretty cool!

  4. Marisa, thanks for visiting. i might add that you are soley responsible for my gigantic stash of Japanese Taupe fabrics! Through reading your blog I found Yoko Saito, and was introduced to the visual delights of numerous Tokyo Quilt Shows, an event I look forward to reading about each year. More power to your elbow! (And camera lens!)

  5. OK - am going to break this to you gently; brace yourself .... YOU HAVE TOO MANY BOOKS! So did we until recently when we had a good sort out - basically, Hubby's study became my studio and lots of old paperbacks had to go, just keeping the best-loved books here ... but we still have a bookcase on the landing, (are we starting a new trend here?). Rarely buy mags anymore as I think of blogging as a kind of interactive magazine, and way more interesting! XCathy

  6. yes, I know, I know, but what can you do? We thought we'd been pretty strict with ourselves, acually, some of those that went had been with us for many years. In particular some of our earliest buys - which we could scarcely afford then - had to go because they were so outdated, and had been superceded by new research, such as our archeological and Viking and early British history books. (out with the old, in with the Michael Woods - he's aged well hasn't he??) and the early gardening and DIY books. Having said that I think the boys relieved us of them.

    I'm guessing it's going to be a while before the next cull. Mind you, my dear old Mum has bequeathed me a small room-ful of books when she pops off - another good reason to hope she sticks around for a good while longer!

  7. Hi Lynne,
    Glad to have found your blog and I will look forward to your posts!
    I would love to start a blog myself but I am very challenged when it comes to computers that I don't think it will ever happen, hope you got your issues sorted!
    As one addict to another I can see you love your books! Like you I have just started a new life which means I will need to stop my compulsive magazine and book buying (also vintage sheet, buttons, ribbon......)! this year I have had 2magazines brought me for subscriptions, so that helps! Ada :)

  8. Hi Ada, thanks for 'visiting'. Yes, life-changes do make you re-evaluate what's important and what's not, don't they? But if you possibly can, I think it's important to have at least one little treat that you really love - it needn't be expensive - I'm choosy with books and mags these days, and as you say, a subscription is a great gift idea.

    I didn't set the blog up myself, I have to say, and once it IS set up, you are well away. I was just trying to tinker with the appearance, nothing major; do have a bash - I'm sure someone would do the initial set-up for you. It's such fun, and I love the writing and photo-taking. A steep learning curve as they say, but I'm so glad I did it. Go on, have a go!

  9. Love the photos Lynne think you should get a job with me in the library!
    Love sue x

  10. I am delighted to find someone with a bigger book collection than ours! I have been musing about finding a way to stop books piling up on the top of shelves as well as in them but you are making me feel I should just give in to the power of book multiplication!

  11. Yes, Sue - I'd have to move across county - we'd never get any work done and we'd spend too much money on old crockery, books and linens! But what fun!

    Elizabeth, thanks for visiting- never be ashamed of your addiction, that's what I say! Just get creative with the shelving - other stuff can go! I've just checked out your blog - love it - North Wales is really one of my favourite places in the world. Growing up in Liverpool many holidays and Girl Guide camps were spent very happily there, and my great aunt had a boarding house on Anglesey. (Or bawdy house, as an old friend of mine WOULD say!)

    Not a gardener myself, other than my herbs, I love your kitchen garden and I recommend your blog to my friend Sue, above, who is a bit of a gardening buff.


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