Book Review: A Year in the Woods, Taming Fruit and An Introduction to Rag Rugs

As we approach the festive period it is a good time for me to share a few of the interesting books that I have been sent to review.  All of them are very good reads.

A Year in the Woods by Torbjorn Ekelund is Torbjorn's diary of his long held dream of a big adventure.  This is a gem of a book.  Instead of going on a huge expedition to some far-flung place as he had always expected it to be; he went to stay in the woods, one day/night every month, to the same wood each time.  It does not sound much does it, yet reading this book opens up a fascinating story of what those twelve visits became.  The wood was not far from his home and he expected that by returning to the same place the adventure would be seeing the small changes that happen in the same place over the course of a year.  Torbjorn chose a place about an hour's walk from the car park by a pond.  He tells of how he hoped to think big thoughts on his nights outdoors.  This journal of his time outdoors finds some big thoughts, some small thoughts and practical lessons learned.  It is a very personal and honest book.  I loved reading it as it is a journey into the woods where Torbjorn navigates the woods, his family and himself. 

A Year in the Woods is published by Greystone Books and retails for around £13
Taming Fruit is a beautifully illustrated and well researched history of orchards.  Whilst orchards will have naturally occurred from fruit falling and trees growing therefrom, the orchard as we know it is a deliberate planting of trees to harvest from.  This book is so much more than giving us a history of orchards, this book goes deep into the cultural relevance of orchards.  Orchards have inspired our art for centuries and Bernd takes us through this insight into their importance.  What I really like about this book is that it travels across the globe.  Bernd talks of so many different types of orchards as we range across the continents.  This is a fascinating book, I did not know what to expect from a book on orchards as it felt like a narrow subject, how wrong could I be!  This is a great read.  A perfect gift for the fruit-grower in your life (and yourself if that is you).

Taming Fruit by Bernd Brunner is published by Greystone Books and retails at around £20

Now I know that An Introduction to Rag Rugs - Creative Recycling is not a book about gardening, but as I often say its my blog my rules, so please indulge me.  Followers on instagram will know that when not gardening I am usually sewing and it is a real passion of mine.  Like many people I want to be more sustainable and I tend to keep all sorts of scraps of material that 'might be useful one day'.  You know those people who collect bits of wire/string etc 'just in case'; well I am like that with fabric.  Coupled with this I have seen rag rugs and always liked the look of them.  They are historically seen as being a cheap way of creating rugs and I think are an important way that most often women would demonstrate their creativity whilst also turning old clothing/rags into practical rugs for the house.  

This books tells you all you need to know to start making rag-rugs.  There are different types and different looks you can achieve.  All are easy to do, you just need the basic tools and some rags and some time.  You can make tufted rag rugs, knitted ones and plaited ones.  The plaited ones particularly appeal to me.  You create long plaits of fabric that you then coil and sew to make your rug.  This is going to have to be done.  This book is an excellent guide to get you started and would delight the sustainable-conscious person in your life.

An Introduction to Rag-Rugs: creative recycling by Jenni Stuart-Anderson is published by Pen and Sword Books.  It retails at around £12

Stay safe and be kind

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