Being fond of patterns, it’s pretty clear I have one where my Four Favorite Book posts are concerned. First, I am always surprised by how quickly the month has passed. Wouldn’t you know — it’s almost June!
Second, I have been, yet again, too busy to read anything longer than other people’s blog posts. So, I don’t have a work of fiction to share with you this month. Lucky for you though, my third pattern is I truly love books, look to them constantly for inspiration, and have every intention of sharing my favorites with you each month. So, here goes.
Instead of reading novels, Mike and I have been spending lots of time in our backyard.
We have plans to transform it into our perfect summer “staycation destination” and one of the books which I have found inspiring is Inside OUT, Relating Garden to House by Page Dickey, Photographs by Richard Felber, Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2000.
The book features 13 distinct gardens attached to homes in diverse settings — including an arroyo in Phoenix, a rooftop in Manhattan, a suburban hacienda in Austin, Texas, and a backyard prairie in Lake Forest, Illinois:
That prairie almost makes me feel like we know what we’re doing with our backyard.
(Not even close!)
We love summer, fall, and early winter in Boise. We are however, considerably less fond of full-on winter, and the inversion — endless days of cold, flat grey skies and dry brown vistas. We are also tired of the doldrums that set in with the inevitable cabin fever we suffer as we wait for spring to arrive fully, sometime around the beginning of May.
Because we have felt this way for a while now, and because we find ourselves in a position of more freedom now that Logan has moved out and we only have our wee pack o’mutts to care for, Mike and I are thinking of spending our winters elsewhere.
Which brings me to my favorite book of Interior Design for this month: New Orleans, Elegance and Decadence, Narrative by Randolph Delehanty, Photographs by Richard Sexton, Published by Chronicle Books, 1993.
Truth be told, this is much more than a book of interiors. It covers New Orleans’ history, explains the roots of her unique ethnic melange, and entrenched social strata, gives some insight to her celebrations, and to her melancholy. New Orleans is not a place for people who do not like to feel their feelings. New Orleans is as messy and as sticky-sweet as your beating heart would be if you were to wear it, literally, on your sleeve.
If things work out they way we’re planning, our next winter may be a lot less grey, and a lot more, shall we say, sanguine?
For my favorite cookbook I have a real oldie but goodie for you…Mmmmm A Feastiary by Ruth Reichl, Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972.
I was reminded of this book earlier this month when Pat Oleszko turned 67. She is featured throughout in her wonderful, crazy ensembles — highly unusual artwork for a cookbook I’d guess, even in the early ’70’s.
To be honest, I don’t really cook out of this book but it makes for very entertaining reading. Ruth Reichel grew up to be a pretty good writer (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples; and Garlic and Sapphires) and editor (Gourmet magazine) and it’s fun to read about her early days and see pictures of her real family and friends back in the 60’s. Kind of gives you that mellow, home-grown feeling, like a nice batch of fresh brownies.
Finally, my art book for this month is 1000 Artist Journal Pages, Personal Pages and Inspirations, edited by Dawn DeVries Sokol, Published by Quarry Books, 2008.
This book is just what it says it is — photographs of 1000 art journal pages (spread over 299 pages in the book) showing all sorts of artists’ personal thoughts, inspirations, methods of visually remembering really important people, places and things or, the slightest of ephemeral snippets of time.
One of the spreads features some pages by local artist Lisa Cheney. Lisa teaches people how to create their own art journals. She will be giving a workshop for TVAA which should be awesome, so you might want to hurry and sign up for it!
Lisa will also be on a panel of artists talking about creating and keeping art journals on Monday, June 2nd at 6:00 at the Creative Access Arts Center (500 S. 8th St. in Boise), along with fellow artists Beau Van Greener, Pam McKnight, Jeanette Ross, and drumroll please…..little ol’ me.
And now, it’s time to go enjoy my backyard — while it vaguely resembles a prairie, and the poppies are still taller than the crab grass!