Hello, friends. It will probably not surprise you to know that when I go on holiday, I like to bring home books as souvenirs. I love plucking a book from the shelf and remembering both the book and the place where I bought it. For me, the combined memory becomes that much more precious, and I seem to remember more details about the holiday when they’re paired with a book.
Here’s our family’s shopping list from a recent jaunt to Victoria, B.C., where we spent a weekend with old friends. We were walking down the street in Oak Bay, looking for the marina, when we were pulled, as if by magnets, into Ivy’s Bookshop. Ivy’s is a friendly and beautifully curated neighbourhood bookstore that inspires you with confidence in the power of reading. Highly recommended!
Catharine Arnold, Underworld London: Crime and Punishment in the Capital City
Nick plucked this one from the shelf before I’d even spotted it, and I was transfixed. It’s best read in small snatches (for me, at least), as I find the gleeful descriptions of gore and human perfidy a bit too much after a few minutes. It’s a popular history and thus only lightly endnoted, and if I were using any of this as source material I’d double-check it all. However, it’s a pretty delicious snack of a book.
Lorraine Harrison, Latin for Gardeners: Over 3000 Plant Names Explained and Explored
Is this a retired person’s book or what? As we lurch gracelessly towards middle age, Nick and I find ourselves reading more and more non-fiction, and developing a taste for botanical illustrations. (Actually, that’s untrue: I’ve always be transfixed by delicate botanical illustrations.) But we have been gardening more, and this seemed rather inevitable.
Bill Peet, The Caboose Who Got Loose
Our five-year-old chose this because it’s about a train, and I really like the illustrations. I’m ambivalent about the seemingly endless doggerel rhyme, but I do love the subversive ending. If this were a book in the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise, Katy Caboose would learn about Duty and Being Useful, and end up knowing her place in the English class system. I love that in this new world train story, Katy actually escapes.
Emily Gravett, Matilda’s Cat
And this one’s for our two-year-old. We love Emily Gravett’s artwork and her wry way with narrative. It’s really quite perfect.
So that’s what we’ve been reading for the past few days. What have you been reading?