The Year in Books – March 2015


The year in books

I’ve gone and got really organised for my The Year in Books, and made some bookmarks.  Just simple ones that were easy to do – I printed some sketches I made of my geese onto thick card and then cut to shape.  I think the tassels make them look rather smart – these were made by winding some silk thread round card (an off-cut from the bookmark shaping), making a few loops and tying some knots, and then a bit of trimming.

Book Mark

I’ve begun to really look forward to my reading – a little each night.  Do you have a favourite reading time and place?  I tend to read in bed.  It has taken a little adjusting to get the right set-up of pillows and postures – to begin with my arms were aching (and got cold) and I found if I ‘dropped off’ whilst reading, the book fell on my face!  All these things I’m fine-tuning for optimum comfort and I now quickly get settled.


In February I read We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.  Actually I struggled throughout the first half of the book, not sure why really, it just seemed rather lumpy and I kept having to go back and re-read sentences to check I’d made sense of things.  Some of the ‘Americanisms’ and references to things I know nothing about, added to the lumps.  However, it seemed to smooth out and I began to really enjoy it.  I might not have persisted had it not been for watching a film some while ago, about Project Nim, which affected and traumatised me for some time after.

This book too has plenty despair.  It is an incredible story, about a very interesting subject and I’m glad I read it.  Also, I have to admit  to feeling moments of recognition in terms of family dynamics, how behavours are interpreted and managed and how we navigate truths told, or untold.

Fox by Jim Crumley

I also read Fox by Jim Crumley, part of his Encounters in the Wild series.  I ordered this book straight after reading his Barn Owl – Encounters in the Wild last month and loving it.  I like these little hardback books, they’re nicely bound and the page layout is lovely.  These things give such a special feel to a book I think.  It was a real surprise when the publisher Saraband tweeted about my blog post last month, and I was especially touched when Jim Crumley himself emailed me to say how glad he was I’d enjoyed his book.  He was just disappearing off to a book fair – so I hope it went well Jim!

So, about the Fox – each chapter clearly recounts the time and experience of meeting a fox.  I am grateful for the descriptions of the whole scene, all of the nature into which the fox makes an appearance and trots out of.  It makes the book valuable for getting to know and understand this animal.  I learned new words – thole, glaur, whins, denouement.  I learned lots.  It made me feel as if I were there seeing too, I wanted to turn to Jim and ask questions, but knew I needed to be still and quiet and hoped my inexperience didn’t disturb and mess up the watch.

I will ask though, as the book does, why we continue to persecute rather than protect the fox?


My book for March is Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel.





The Year in Books is an ongoing project started by Circle of Pine Trees which is open to everyone.  The aim of the project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2015. You can join in at any time, full details here.



  1. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    Getting ready to publish my reading list/reviews for the last quarter. I used to read in bed but ‘they’ say that doing things in bed other than sleep can interfere with sleeping well, that your body thinks bed is also the place for doing things awake, and at this point in my life I usually suffer some awake hours at night every week. btw, when did this post in January you asked me what I liked to read and I wrote a long response that, for some reason, did not publish.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Yes, I’ve heard something similar – and I’m sure I have all sorts of habits that are said to be bad for me – I suppose you find your own routines and ways that work. Ellen, you said about your reading likes before, and I’m at a loss as to where your comment went. I’m wondering if you posted on Laura’s blog (Circle of Pines) – I’ll wander over and see. Anyway, look forward to your quarterly.

  2. Comment by Amanda:

    Your book marks are lovely, the books you are reading would interest me too, but at the moment I find it hard to commit the time, always in a rush from one thing to another, it dose not stop me buying nice books to read though. When the time is right I will read them..
    Amanda xx

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Oh thankyou Amanda. I’m loving my decision to read more, (actually read at all) and finding the time has always been a stumbling block for me too, but I’m determined to make space, even if it is only minutes, each day. I have always done just the same, buy a book I think looks wonderful, and then it gets put aside – so this is all helping me catch up with myself. What was the last book you bought?

  3. Comment by Annie:

    Gorgeous book marks! I have silk thread I’ve dyed that would make lovely tassels, you’ve inspired me.

    I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with Meadowlands, it’s on my list of books to read this year.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thanks again Annie – actually I ordered the thread, thinking it was embroidery silk (didn’t realise that there are so many different codes for thickness and twist of yarn!) and was a bit shocked when it arrived – but in the end it worked out rather well. Just into Meadowlands now, and yes, will let you know at the end of March.

  4. Comment by sustainablemum:

    Thank you for introducing me to the books of Jim Crumley they sound like the sort of books we would enjoy reading here. I will be interested to hear what you think of Meadowlands it is a book at I keep picking up in my local bookshop, but not walking out with………

    I too read at bedtime, in bed. I find that I sleep much better if I do, we all have to find what works for us.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      I’m sure you would enjoy them – I keep going back to them and re-reading passages I found particularly beautiful – little treasures they are. I’ll be writing about Meadowlands of course at the end of the month, it is interesting to read other views – your write-ups are so well detailed and useful, I will try to get better at that. Do you too switch out the light after reading with the fullest intention of thinking about and working through the words just taken in, and then find it is morning!? Happens to me, but perhaps it is all done while I’m asleep!

  5. Comment by Ailsa:

    What a lovely post Jennifer – and gorgeous bookmarks. I’ve read a few things about Meadowlands; I’ll look forward to reading what you think. And I absolutely agree with you on the fox question…

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Ailsa and thankyou – I hadn’t heard anything about Meadowlands, actually it was the cover which drew me in initially – you’ll have to let me know what you heard. Hope Spring does bring you some clarity and vigour – it always does of course – its just that February, particularly, can feel like a long trudge.

  6. Comment by Abi | These Four Walls blog:

    I love your bookmarks! And what a beautiful selection of books you’ve been reading too – I’m going to check out the Jim Crumley books as I hadn’t heard of them. Just like you I always read just before I go to bed – it helps me unwind and get rid of any stresses from the day. It also stops me from looking at a screen just before bed, which I’m sure disrupts my sleep.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Oh thanks Abi – I’m loving using them. I hope you’ll adore Jim Crumley’s books too – they are perfect reading for me as I do love my wildlife. I was beginning to think I was the only one reading before sleep, and you’re right it does just dissolve the day’s tensions (know what you mean about the screen too).

  7. Comment by Mitzi:

    I have Completely Beside Ourselves but it’s not got to the top of the pile for reading yet. I have seen Meadowland on the bookshelf and it’s very tempting so look forward to seeing what you make of it.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      My pile keeps growing, and I do shuffle it sometimes, depends on mood a bit doesn’t it? The cover of Meadowlands is so beautiful, it was what attracted me to it, and I’m about half way through now and look forward to letting you know how I got on. I’m loving all the recommendations and reviews from everyone, it has really made my resolution to read more very exciting.

  8. Comment by Mitzi:

    I love your book marks by the way. A very clever idea.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Thankyou – before I made them I was using anything to hand, and even used a biscuit wrapper (some midnight-feast behaviour is creeping in to my reading time) which seemed quite wrong. I notice yours have a tassel too!

  9. Comment by Caroljs:

    Your bookmarks are lovely.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Hello Carol – lovely to meet you – I’m glad you like the bookmarks – what a fascinating array of books everyone’s reading, I’ve been introduced to so many new titles to add to my list.

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