A bookish mood


I’m not sure what other peoples’ habits are like but I find myself wholly in a bookish mood at the moment. My spare time seems to have been occupied solely by reading, thinking about books, talking about books, watching others talk about their books and not a lot else. Usually there is some knitting or music or cooking or general other things thrown in there too but not so much recently.

To that end, two things have happened that brought me a fair amount of happiness:

Firstly: seeing Sarah Moss speak at an RSGS event in Edinburgh. Her book, Names for the Sea, is one of my favourites from recent years. Part memoir and part travel book in it she discusses her experience of living in Iceland for a year. It focuses a lot on the social aspects of her time there,something which I really enjoyed. I’ve never been to Iceland (one day…) and while the heritage and landscape is undoubtedly a huge draw for me, I found it every bit as interesting to hear about daily life and social attitudes. Her talk touched on gender, domesticity, working life and being ‘foreign’ in a new landscape. It was excellent.

Secondly, on a recent trip to London I visited Daunt books for the first time. My friend Rebecca had recommended Daunt years ago on a previous visit but for some reason we never went. It was our last stop before the train home this time and what a way to end a holiday – a beautiful space with just the best, most interesting selection of books I can remember seeing in years. I now maintain that all bookshops should come in Edwardian buildings with spiral stairs, stained glass windows and an abundance of fresh flowers. I couldn’t resist buying something and came away with Miranda July’s book of short stories.



Looking East, Looking West

weather vaneA number of years ago I worked in a well-known Edinburgh bookshop. I worked a few evenings a week, alongside studying full-time. I really loved the job – being surrounded by books, getting a hefty discount on books, speaking excitedly about books with colleagues and customers. It was, on the whole, pretty good. I made a lot of friends when I was there, but one friendship in particular grew through a shared  love of cold places, knitting, youtube videos of animals doing stupid things and, of course, books.


Rebecca and I remain close friends today, despite now living on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Last year Rebecca touted the idea of doing a project between the two of us, and I, being a fan of everything Rebeccca does, of course said yes. The result is Looking East, Looking West – a weekly diptych of photos from the two of us. It’s nice to be able to share photos in this kind of context, and it’s good to have a project to focus on week-to-week. drill hallIt’s not easy remembering to take photos, and particularly ones good enough to put up (did I mention Rebecca is really, really good?) but it’s good fun. So the photos I put up here might well be leftovers from those I send to Rebecca, but hopefully over the course of the year they’ll improve and develop (excuse the pun).
lantern warriors


Thank you, Rebecca, for encouraging me to do something different, something that feels quite bold.