Amy Artisan

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Summer Reading

Some Summer Reading

A new poll released this week indicates that 1 in 4 adults in the US did not read “a single” book last year. When I saw that headline on a news website this morning my immediate thought was “I can’t imagine not reading books!” In previous posts I’ve mentioned how much I have always enjoyed reading – from the days of Ramona Quimby & Nancy Drew as a school girl. These days my reading list seems to include a little bit of everything.

It is hard for me to go into a book store (or even Costco) without picking up a book or two to add to my overflowing library. Christmas gifts in the Artisan family always include a slew of books – one of our traditions on Christmas afternoon is to see all of us in the living room with our noses in new books that have just been unwrapped.

Rebecca on Christmas Day

In the last couple of months I have made my way through quite an assortment of books.

In May I read an advanced copy of Peony in Love by Lisa See. Similar to Snowflower and the Secret Fan, this novel provided me with more education about Chinese culture and ritual. For me, this was a fast read.

Also in May, we discussed The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez as our bookclub read. This book sparked a lot of interesting conversations among our group – from the writing style, to the focus of the book, etc. This was a very quick read – my initial reaction was that the book seemed better suited to be a paperback rather than the hardcover that I picked up.

Another preview book I recently read was The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard. The tone of this story of “small town suspense” reminded me a bit of the stories of Jodi Picoult or Midwives.

This summer I thoroughly enjoyed reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. This week my bookclub will be discussing this read – I look forward to the discussion!

I have always been drawn to narrative non-fiction books and find that more and more of them appear in my reading lists. While at home in GA last month I picked up The United States of Arugula by David Kamp and quickly devoured it – it was a fun walk through the history of our foodiness.

I also have several of “these type” books in the current rotation: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin; Tulipomania by Mike Dash; Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay

The books in the picture above are in the “just barely started” category: Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert; The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan; A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. And of course that are more “to read” books around the house that didn’t make it into the photo.

I’m lucky to have family and friends that are avid readers – we always have a rotating library of books on loan among us. In fact, many of these reads will be enroute to Maya in Texas soon.

Just as many knitters experience “Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy” I’m sure that many ravenous readers have “Booklist Beyond Life Expectancy.” What about you…what good books have you read recently? How long is your booklist?


  1. My book stash also rivals my yarn stash.

  2. A girl after my own heart! 🙂 I definitely don’t read as many books as I did in my pre-knitting days, but I definitely read more than one book a year! I just finished a great little book of contemplative essays called _Caught in the Act_ and I finished another last night, called _The Mindful Traveler_. I have many of the books that you mentioned on my list too. We just had a book exchange at work, and I picked up some other goodies. Next up is my book club read for next month: _Saturday_ by Ian McEwan, and a audio book, _The Hungry Tide_ by Amitav Ghosh.

    If you get the chance, could you email me? I would love to make plans for next week!!

  3. I would not know where to start! Stacks in my stash…silly, really. Everything from Anita Shreve, Ross King, Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes to Candace Bushnell (I know – I should be embarrassed!) That is, I THINK those are some of the ones represented. Frankly, I’m not even positive.

    Just finished the delightful, autographed copy of The Friday Night Knitting Club Amy Artisan was kind enough to give me. Headed Home on the Range tomorrow (fellow Kansas girl!) and not sure what – besides a pile of magazines and a knitting project – I’ll take with me on my journey. I should do something clever, like reread – for the umpteenth time – one of my Laura Ingalls Wilder tomes.

  4. I have been a voracious reader most of my life but that has slowed WAY down in the last 3 years since knitting came into my life. In the last month though, I have read 3 books and am getting my reading mojo back (I was even going to blog about it). I missed reading so much.

  5. How long is my booklist? ENDLESS!!!

    Eat, Pray, Love is on my TBR stack…have you read the “other” Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell? Amazing book. He’s a wonderful writer. As is David Maine–I have his latest coming up on deck next.

  6. My reading has slowed down a lot since knitting came along too. I mostly read nonfiction, but I love Picoult. Right now I’m reading The Defining Moment about FDR and a book of essays by children of Holocaust survivors and perpetrators. I’m learning to appreciate audiobooks. I just downloaded Picoult’s latest and a book about the Six Day War.

  7. I had the same reaction: how could anyone NOT read? I have been an avid reader my whole life and probably love reading more than knitting. I just finished Water for Elephants and loved it! (I ordered one of her other novels yesterday.) I picked up Peony in Love at Costco over the weekend. Another amazing book that I read this summer was Marie Antoinette by Naslund. I can’t wait to read more novels by her. And I loved Thousand Splendid Suns.

  8. I loved Peony in Love, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I listen to most of my books while knitting with my membership. Now I am listening to The Red Tent, and Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I will check out the other books you mentioned!

    Isn’t that statistic about 1 in 4 adults not reading any books at all truly frightening?

  9. Lots of Bill Bryson. I can’t seem to get enough.
    Just finished my first Jodi Picoult.
    Harry Potter, of course

  10. My family has always said that books are our downfall. We can’t pass a bookstore without going in and looking. I have to have a book by my beside. Hubby states that he thinks that my yarn stash and book collection are on par with each other.
    There is a wonderful little bookstore in Winnetka–The Book Stall– if you get a chance to go in. (I have nothing to do with them I just am a pretty good customer there).

  11. I can’t imagine not reading books…. I have always one or two to read!

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