Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated...

Yes, I am still alive. No, I have not fallen down a well or been kidnapped by aliens.

It's just that in order to write a post I really need to have something to write about and just going to work and then coming home and collapsing in an exhausted heap doesn't make for a very exciting blog post.

Recently though it has occurred to me that it's Christmas next week (EEEK!) so I really ought to get my ass in gear and get organised. I think I might be leaving things a little late. As I write this there are 11 days to go until THE BIG DAY and I have a total of 3 of those when I don't have to go to work. One of those days is already allotted to family obligations, leaving me 2 whole days to do my Christmas stuff. I think I may be kidding myself that the cards will get written, the cake iced (I did bake it, so that's one thing off my list), the knitting finished ( I have frogged the cowl I was knitting twice now, the last in a fit of temper when I couldn't fix the glaring error I had made - Frost Flowers Cowl 1 - Knitter 0). I still have two articles to write, all the presents to wrap, some last minute shopping to do, Christmas cupcakes to bake and I really ought to do some housework at some point. My email is looking scary, I have over 350 unread posts on my RSS feed and I lost track of twitter and facebook about a week ago.

Oh well, if it gets done, it gets done. The real point of this post is to highlight a few books you might not have noticed which would be great gifts this Christmas.

Charts for Color Knitting by Alice Starmore is a reprint of one of her earlier books which I have been lusting after since I saw a copy in Birmingham Central Library. It used to cost over £100 secondhand so I am delighted that it's been reprinted and this edition has been revised and expanded too. It's an absolute treasure trove of information for the knitter who likes Fair Isle. So if the knitter in your life likes to knit with lots of colours then this is the book for them.

Booze for Free by Andy Hamilton is a great little book filled to the brim with all manner of recipes for homemade beers, wines, liqueurs, teas etc. If you like to make sloe gin or hedgerow wine or nettle beer then this is the book for you. In a side note we did manage to bottle our own sloe, damson and ginger gin last weekend so you can imagine that we will be having a very Merry Christmas indeed. Anyway this is a great gift for those who like a bit of foraging (and who doesn't, after all when David Cameron's finished with us, it's all we'll have left!)

MetaMAUS by Art Speigelman is published for the 25th anniversary of his classic graphic novel Maus, one of the most brilliant graphic novels ever published and one read by more than just geeks. This is the story of how he came to write the book and it contains background info, interviews with his father who's story Maus was based on, fabulous artwork and a whole ton more fascinating stuff. If there's a graphic novel fan in your house then this is for them.

OK, that'll do for now. All these books are available now in your local Waterstones, and probably in your local independent bookshop too if you still have one. Either way, don't forget to support your local bookshop this Christmas. And come back in the New Year to spend all the lovely book tokens you get for Christmas.

Have a great time and I'll see you on the other side!