My good indie author friend Julia Blake posts Book Stacks once a week and this time it was telling the story of her hobbies. She challenges others to do their own book stack and when I read Mary McGuire's, I was inspired to do my own.
Looking at my book shelves there was lots to choose from! Like Mary, I have many interests.
So here we go, starting from the bottom of the pile and working up:
I love browsing an art gallery and really enjoyed David Hockney at the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge. It was my first intro to ipad art which I dabbled in. I started my own painting journey with Watercolours and now enjoy creating with other mediums as well – mainly acrylic – but since I started a local art course I have tried all sorts including charcoal, oil and pastels. You can lose yourself in a painting which is sometimes preferable to thinking too much. Another benefit is that I am now a member of the Arty Farties group.
À la française
I found the book: Creating the French look by Annie Sloan on a stall at an Antique Fair. I’m a big fan of French décor and as a result of reading this book made some French style curtains using French linen and with buttons down one edge.
Research for The Artist, the Farmer and the Ancient Oak
The next three were all books I selected to read as I was writing The Artist, the Farmer and the Ancient Oak. Both The Grey and I have a strong interest in nature and are eco warriors at heart and so these titles were musts for our book shelf. The Hidden Life of Trees taught me how plants and trees communicate through the mycorrhizal fungi network; Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is about the effect of the use of chemicals – pesticides, fertilisers - in farming which were first used in the 1950s; and lastly The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel. John owns Cockshutt Wood and he walks around it every day for a year noting what he sees, hears and smells – this was invaluable research for Wanda’s walks through Lucas Wood in my novel.
- As they say on Masterchef. I love cooking – although it can become a chore – but when I have the time, I take the trouble to create something a bit different and tasty. Dr Rupy is great for healthy food recipes and I bought this book during the pandemic to see how I could boost my immune system. We’re both still here so maybe it worked.
Ching-He Huang is my favourite celebrity chef – she’s so lovely and her Oyster Sauce Chicken with Chinese Leaf is a favourite in our house.
Finally my book of Mindfulness is good for when I need to remind myself why I meditate every day. Not so much a hobby but a way of life that enhances your well being. Increasingly, when my mind goes off on an unnecessary tangent, I can bring myself back to the moment that is now. Zen.