books, inspiration, reading
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Under the tree

Christmas books

1. Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, Hermione Lee; 2. Sweet Peas for Summer: How to Create a Garden in a Year, Laetitia Maklouf; 3. Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City, Dan Pearson.

Well, okay, there are a few other things that I want for Christmas too. A few things that might have tumbled into my Amazon basket before I’d actually managed to buy anything for anyone else. What can I say? But I wasn’t as naughty as I could have been: they’re safely tucked away in a box at the bottom of the wardrobe, waiting for someone to wrap them & give them to me on Christmas day. Hmm. Thinking about all the other wrapping also waiting to be done, it might have to just be enough to open the box on the big day.

An abridged version of the Penelope Fitzgerald biography was beautifully read on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago by Penelope Wilton (already vanished from the iPlayer I’m afraid). Having read nearly all her books (just a couple tucked up my sleeve for a rainy day) & enjoyed her collected letters enormously, I’m really excited to start on this. The ever-reliable Dovegreyreader has only heightened my anticipation.

And then, since 2014 has been declared by my friend as ‘the year of the garden’, two gardening books. I’ve already got Laetitia Maklouf’s first book The Virgin Gardener. It’s like a gardening recipe book – each project eminently manageable & explained as clearly as could be. It’s great because it tempts me to actually *do* something rather than spend my time planning the dream (perfect) garden, that could never be. Sweet Peas for Summer was written when Laetitia got her first garden & I’m hoping that it’s going to inspire the next stage of mine. The Dan Pearson – with amazing photos by Howard Sooley – is the extra inspiration that I just couldn’t resist. I’ll be reporting back on how the year of the garden pans out. But to start with, I’m looking forward to a little armchair gardening.

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