Books have always been my weakness. Granted, there are much worse vices to have, but at around £15 a hardback; I’ve built up a pretty hefty and expensive addiction. I’m sure that I started to read before I even considered the possibility of taking my first steps. I suppose growing up as an only child in the late 80s / early 90s, books were a much more interesting and exciting option than sitting and watching terrible cartoons on my own (queue the violins).
As I’ve got older, reading has become more of a way for me to look beyond my own perspective, and ultimately build upon my own knowledge and skills. The chance to disappear into worlds with dragons and wizards, and love stories that make your heart beat a little faster is sadly too rare these days. I suppose now, I escape into pages filled with stories, and tastes, and smells that I can only imagine, from lands that I am desperate to visit.
Cookbooks are my ultimate weakness, maybe it’s the endless possibilities and combinations, or the slow and mindful process that comes with cooking, but even reading a recipe transports me to a place of happiness. Food is such an important part of my life, and studying for a degree in nutrition means I have a pretty vested interest in all things edible.
But I’d like to start to carve out more time to spend on reading all sorts of books, especially as these nights become brighter, and the days become longer. If you have any recommendations, then I would love to hear them!
Here’s what’s currently in my small but mighty bedside library.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo // I’m sure that you’ve already heard about this book, it feels like everyone and their grandma is asking themselves if their socks spark joy these days. But the thing is, it works. I’m a huge believer that having less stuff/crap/things/possessions equals to a happier and calmer existence. And quality always trumps quantity. It’s much better to have a few things that you love that will last a life time, than a whole lot of rubbish that will inevitably end up in the rubbish. Some of the ideas in the book are a little ‘out there’, but if the only thing that you manage to take away from reading this is that it’s important to only keep the things in your life that spark joy, then you’re on to a good thing. And personally this idea has crept into all other parts of my life; why waste time having that coffee with someone who’s never really been there for you, what good comes of going to a job that you hate everyday, and eating mounds of junk food is never going to taste as good as a slice of sourdough slathered in homemade raspberry jam. Toss the things, people and junk that you don’t need in your life and get on with making sure that you too spark joy in others lives. It’s a lot easier said than done, but I’m giving it a good go anyway.
Good Food For Your Table, A Grocer's Guide by Melrose and Morgan // This isn’t really a book that you sit down and read in one go, but if you have even a basic interest in ingredients and cooking then this is an essential in your kitchen. Sometimes I can get a little distracted by fancy ingredients, and even fancier recipes, but this book brings it all back to the basics. If you want to know everything there is to know about oils, nuts, cheese, butter, and how to get the most from them, then this is a winner. Essentially every ingredient you could stock a larder with is in this book, with a detailed description of how to source, store, preserve, and use.
Simple Matters by Erin Boyle // I haven’t started this book yet, but I’m really excited to. Just a quick flick through has convinced me that I will use this book a lot. It’s described as being "for anyone looking to declutter, organise, and simplify". Hello, you rang?! I’ve been reading Erin’s blog for a while now, and it’s her “living small” approach to life that I really admire. For most people the thought of living in a very tiny apartment in New York with your husband and a small child sounds like a nightmare, but Erin makes it aspirational and achievable. She’s total #womangoals and I’m really looking forward to digging into this book.
Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson // I’ve been dipping in and out of Heidi Swanson’s blog for a while, and I really like her approach to cooking. It’s all about using natural, whole foods and the focus is very much on nutritious and wholesome ingredients. This book is organised into “Near”, “En-route”, and “Far”. Near focuses on San Francisco and California, En-route is all about travel friendly recipes, and Far focuses on recipes from further afield places such as Morocco, Japan and Italy. This is both a cookbook, and travel book with beautiful photography. It reads like a story, and a lot of the recipes feel exotic and comforting all at once. Some of the ingredients listed in the book are a little more unusual, but in general the recipes seem very approachable and the ones I have tried have been simple and delicious. One thing to note, it is a vegetarian cookbook. This isn’t really mentioned anywhere when you buy it, but it would be simple to add in some good quality local free-range meat to any of the mains, if you felt like it.
Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? I'd love to hear!