Time to take a closer look at my Christmas books, I gathered the first five and settled down to read.
The first, Dan Price’s How to Make a Journal of your Life is a small book in an interesting handwritten format. Quite a bit of good advice in there which could be summed up in just a few words – just get on with it!
The next one, Old Bucky and Me, was a latecomer to the party. Well, that’s not strictly true because it had been there for some weeks, because the parcel from our dear friends in New Zealand arrived at the beginning of December, before the Christmas spirit had really descended on the house. I tucked away the goodies beside Paddington and Aunt Lucy and completely forgot about them until we had an email from Fiona on Boxing Day. What fun to have more parcels to unwrap!
This first hand account of the events in Christchurch last year makes for stirring reading, especially in the light of more recent earthquakes. Whilst the vivid news reports give a pretty clear picture of what the city looked like after the earthquake, there’s nothing quite like reading about the everyday experiences of an ordinary person to bring it to life. I’m about half way through and find it hard to imagine how I’d cope – I guess the answer is, that I’d simply get on with it in the same way as everyone else. But oh my goodness, the contents of this book really do make me feel thankful for everything. As is often the case in such events, it’s the warmth and human kindness which shines through on every page.
Next in the pile is a long standing item on my wish list – so long that I’d forgotten all about it. David Gentleman’s Design is a fine example of the kind of book I’d never buy for myself but which I will dip into time and again to rediscover the beautiful images inside.
It’s only a small book, nothing at all like the coffee table size it suggests, but it’s packed with many fine examples of David Gentleman’s work.
The quality of the paper and print is very much in keeping with the subject matter, too and I’m looking forward to time to settling down to read the contents in detail.
I feel the fourth book in the heap needs no introduction at all. Having read The Hare with the Amber Eyes on my Kindle, I had no hesitation in adding the new illustrated edition to my wishlist because I really wanted to see the details of each of the netsuke which feature so large in the story. I don’t normally reread books at all but I couldn’t wait to get into this one again and am finding it as compelling a read the second time around as it was the first. Brilliant!
It too is a beautifully produced book, printed on gorgeous, smooth paper in clear, fine print. I remarked in an earlier post that the printed book appears to be making a comeback in a rather more considered form. It seems as though publishers have discarded the restrictions of producing cheap and cheerful mass market editions in favour of creating real gems which are not only lovely to read but also destined for a long life – unlike the glued bindings which fall apart after a year or two. That’s fine with me. I’ll happily buy the read-once-and-forget-about-it novel on my Kindle, but pay more for the high quality, real book to own and to cherish. Seems like a fair compromise.
Finally, the fifth book at the bottom of this particular pile. The maverick of the bunch and the one about which the jury is still unsure. I pop into the Photojojo website from time to time, so I really ought to have had a good idea of what was likely to be inside. However, the kinds of things which seem perfectly ok on screen seem to diminish when on the printed page and I find the tone of the book a little irritating.
OK, it’s probably not meant for an old bat like me….
A whole page announces what a great book this is compared with some other, familiar titles and is representative of the style of the contents. Reading this kind of thing on a web site or a blog, it’s apparent that there’s a kind of conversation going on and the mode is chatty and informal. But put that on a printed page, in between two covers and it takes on a different guise. Do I want/need a nbf in a book?
The actual contents are divided up into ideas of things to do with your photographs and how to take better photos in the first place. Though there undoubtedly some good ideas tucked away here and there in the book, at this stage I find they are overshadowed by the format.
So, for now, I’ll sit on the fence with this one and give it time to win its way to my heart. In the meantime, I’ve just got to a fascinating bit of The Hare with the Amber Eyes…