The last day of February and I can safely say that I have failed. I did not adequately fast from books. I was very bad. There were special extenuating circumstances. One, the company work for (Borders) has recently gone into Voluntary Administration. That is depressing. It requires books to ease the pain. I know, I know - I am a sad person. Do I look like I care? I do not care.
The second important circumstance was that Annie Proulx released a new book, Bird Cloud. The third important factor in my demise? Amazon UK is doing a free-shipping thing to Australia at the moment. And I was unable to resist. I am part of the problem. But that's why I bought Bird Cloud from my local independent book retailer. So you see, it all has a perfectly reasonable explanation. But I still failed. Oh well.
I have learned to be more thrifty and I do intend to be more careful with my finances and will not be adding books at too crazy a rate to my scary, scary pile. Which is good because of my potentially unstable employment situation.
On to the reviewing. I am only half-way through Bird Cloud, but it is so far very much like an extended episode of Grand Designs. If Grand Designs were written by a prize-winning author who is able to subtly evoke the beauty in her geographical surroundings. Bird Cloud is a memoir about Proulx's connection to place and her search for a home that truly represents her. She talks a little about childhood homes and former dwellings that had too many flaws to be livable in the long term. The familiar Grand Designs staples are there though. The house she dreams about for the Bird Cloud property is complex, with found metals, an unconventional shape and an isolated location. Problems arise early, with builders almost impossible to source. The architect lives nowhere near her and she herself lives a distance from the property, while also having to travel out of the country frequently. This isn't a fast-paced, tell-all memoir. It is a wonderfully meandering book that shows you all the small things in her rural surroundings that Proulx draws from for her creativity. It is, in short, a chance to follow her thoughts and see into the mind of a fascinating writer.