Thanks for everyone's good wishes.)
As anyone who's read this blog over the last year and a half or so (since I started listing the books I've read) will know, I'm a bit of a reader. I cannot imagine a life without a heap of books to read. Sometimes this is slightly oppressive - even if I wished to play my severely out-of-tune piano, I can't because it has my "unread books" stacks all over it - but it offers a world of possibilities. So I thought I might give you my top 5 non-knitting books, and my top knitting book.
5. The silver pigs, by Lindsey Davis. 1989.
The first of the Marcus Didius Falco novels, and arguably the best - this sets up the series but is a wonderful historical/romantic/detective novel on its own. There are 20 in the series now and I wish continued health and inspiration to Ms Davis for many more.
4. TS Eliot: the complete poems and plays, by TS Eliot. 1969.
There's just something about Eliot. It might be his Catholicism and the use of biblical language to address modern subjects; it may just be his use of language, but I find myself dipping into this collection
3. Gaudy night, by Dorothy L Sayers. 1935.
For me, the best romantic novel ever written, and the detection isn't bad, too. Sayers cracks the ice on the Wimsey/Vane relationship quite wonderfully.
2. Gods in Alabama, by Joshilyn Jackson. 2004.
Jackson is just amazing. Every book she brings out is a tour de force of Southern fiction. I think probably the best thing I can do to describe this book is to give you the first paragraph. "There are gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel's, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus. I left one back there myself, back in Possett. I kicked it under the kudzu and left it to the roaches."
1. To kill a mockingbird, by Harper Lee. 1960.
I can't explain why my top two books are set in the American South, but there you are. I re-read this book every couple of years or so. The combination of innocence and knowingness, and a society which is so different and so much the same, always enthrals me. I don't know whether I read the book or saw the film first, but I love both equally, for entirely different ways.
This was a difficult one. So many books have excellent techniques, and beautiful photos. But the top one, just for the eye-opener and a personal connection, has to be
Unexpected knitting, by Debbie New. [Can't find original date, in print again though]
Not the cheapest of books - but it will get you thinking about knitting as the creation of a fabric, if you don't already. This book was written by a woman with 8 children who regards knitting a log-cabin quilt using a photo of her mother, which ends up the size of a barn, as an entirely reasonable activity. There are some recipes for knitting here, and the odd pattern, but really, it's the inspiration which is the key. I've never had such an eye-opener.
The strange thing was that I first saw it the day I met Rosie/caughtknitting, on a chance meeting at the Mill Pond when we were both waiting to go somewhere else and I was knitting. She came over and introduced herself and showed me the book; and I was pretty standoffish because I was waiting for friends to turn up, and thank goodness, she gave me her e-mail address and the rest is history. Joining the Cambridge knitting group was a bit of a lifesaver at the time, and has been lovely ever since. April 24, 2004. Not difficult to remember as it was also my birthday! Nowadays, of course, I'd know what to do if approached by a fellow knitter in a public place, but it was the first time it had happened to me...
I am sure that even without that, it would be my top knitting book...