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Inspiration

Book club: books for favourite pursuits

Book club: books for favourite pursuits

Reading up on your favourite hobby has to be almost as enjoyable as actually getting stuck into it. So here, to add to your bookshelf, we’ve gathered together a handful of our favourite books – some old(ish), some newer and some yet to be released – for all sorts of creative pursuits and engaging pastimes.

For the gardener

In Your Garden by Vita Sackville-West, 1951 – a collection of poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West’s gardening columns written for the Observer between 1946 and 1950. Delightful writing and (still relevant) advice from the creator of the famous gardens at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

For the collector

The Pebbles on the Beach by Clarence Ellis, 1954 – half the pleasure of collecting is in the thrill of the chase, which Clarence Ellis knows all too well and guides you through in this book. The new edition from Faber & Faber published in 2018 also has a fold-out jacket with a beautifully illustrated guide to pebble types.

For the cook

Around the Kitchen Table by Sophie Hansen and Annie Herron, May 2022 – a unique meeting of cooking (from Sophie) and art (from Annie), this is a book to inspire creativity in all forms. Set to be a truly joyful read with equally uplifting photography.

For the crafter

Stitch in Bloom by Lora Avedian, 2021 – textile artist Lora Avedian takes the traditional embroidery technique of ‘couching’ and reinvents it in a contemporary way with simple, stylised florals and a handful of projects for wardrobe and home, including a rudbeckia-adorned linen curtain, a foxglove wall hanging and a tulip beret.

For the florist

The Land Gardeners: Cut Flowers by Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld, 2019 – Bridget and Henrietta, aka The Land Gardeners, tell the story of how they came to rejuvenate the cutting garden at Wardington Manor in Oxfordshire, as well as sharing their advice on cut flower varieties and how to get the most out of them. All mixed in amongst gloriously romantic photography to inspire your arrangements.

For the historian

The Barn by Sally Coulthard, 2021 – author and smallholder Sally Coulthard tracks the history of the ancient stone barn that stands across from her Yorkshire farmhouse and, in turn, the history of the farm, those that have tended it and the country at large across two and a half centuries.

For the decorator

A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of a Misspent Life by Mary Randolph Carter, 2010 – if you’ve ever looked at the houses pictured in magazines and interiors coffee table books and bemoaned the lack of ‘stuff’, this book is for you. A masterclass in how to live with all the imperfect clutter of life, but how to do so stylishly.

For the artist

The Home of the Surrealists by Antony Penrose, 2019 – if you’ve read Charleston: a Bloomsbury House & Garden then this is where we’d suggest heading next. It chronicles the lives of 20th-century surrealist artists Lee Miller and Roland Penrose at their home in Sussex, Farleys House (incidentally not far from Charleston), while taking in the colourful, creative interiors along the way.

You might have spotted that we often share books via Bookshop.org. It’s one of our favourite places to shop for new books online because, when you do, you’re helping support independent bookshops. You can even choose a particular bookshop to support – be it your local or a favourite that you’ve visited.

Tags: Features