One of the most wonderful, magical things about books is how they have a way of finding you. A good case in point is The Gentle Art of Domesticity written by Jane Brocket. I first saw this book at the grocery store, of all places, in a big clearance bin. I looked through it, felt that it was promising & vowed to check it out at the library. But when I checked, the library didn't own a copy. Then I saw it mentioned on Stefanie Japel's blog & it came to the forefront of my thoughts again. Last time we were at the library, we happened to be in the cooking/pets aisle & I happened to spot the book. It found me at last!
The Gentle Art of Domesticity (sorry my usual link is not working today) is just a pure pleasure to read. It's really different from what my first impression was when I perused through it in the clearance bin at the grocery store. I thought it was another picture-heavy coffee table book with recipes, patterns and household tips. It's actually much more philosophical. On each page, Brocket discusses, muses, and provides spot-on insight about all sorts of issues related to domesticity (which, by the way, is not to be confused with the domestic. I love the distinction and I find that I spend my days in the company of the former much more than the latter, which you would understand instantly if you saw my kitchen). She talks about choc-lit (how certain classics pair nicely with a fine bittersweet) on page 186. Her discussion on project gestation is so funny (page 94) - comparing a project's start-to-finish time with various animal gestation times. I love her thoughts about life skills on page 116 when she states "embedded in the gentle arts is a sly subversive streak that encourages free thought, individuality, creative self-expression, imaginative thought processes and not a little self-determinism."
Not only are her observations astute, but her wit and sense of humor are wonderful. I love her recipe for making hand-made bread (page 128): "preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the phone off the hook." She shares on page 24 that "gingerbread houses are one of those little secrets no one ever tells you about until it's too late, like the pain of childbirth or the whole dinner-party thing." On page 149 she reveals that she "even joined the Victorian Society......so that I could stay at the cutting edge of fogeyism."
The author shares her insights on knitting, quilting, baking, gardening, books, movies (she loves Amelie! I do, too!), color & fine art, to name a few. But there are also some quirkier "entries" (and I say entries because in a way, each page feels like reading a new blog post - Brocket writes a blog called yarnstorm, which is just as much fun to read as her book). Anyway, back to the quirkier entries: many musings on Cary Grant, a long discussion on various food colorings and thoughts on kitsch.
Brocket comes across as incredibly personable and charming. Her words inspire me to focus on wonderfully creative domesticity and (as much as possible) leave the mundane domestic behind. I'm so happy this book found its way to me!
ETA: here's the official link: