new work meet the maker

From Casting to Shanking: Books I’m Reading. Or Not.

Sometimes, books with titles like “Making the Most of Your Flex-shaft” are just what I’m in the mood for (Um, a flex-shaft is a jeweler’s tool. Get your mind out of the gutter). Often they aren’t. So when the likes of “Practical Casting,” and “Chasing and Repoussé” aren’t quite doing it for me, I refer to my handy, non-jewelry-related to-read list.

Here’s a sampling of books from that list. Some I have read, others I haven’t gotten to yet, and one, well, I’ll either have to win the lottery or go to prison before I can get my hands on it.

A few years ago I went on a classics kick, but it had been a while since I’d picked up a proven title, so I read The Call of the Wild last month. Now I feel like I really do understand my cat’s needs whenever he insists on staying out all night. It’s just the (suburban) wild, calling him from deep within. Calling him to literally “kill the wabbit” and then to leave it, dismembered, in my front porch. I get it–it’s innate. But it’s also very yucky, kitty.

Before that, I read The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. Now that’s a title. It’s a great book, and it totally lit a fire in me that, frankly, has since gone out. (Until I come up with an idea — that one thing. Muah ha ha! Then I’ll read it again and actually do what the book motivates it’s readers to do.)

Also on the list are: The Exquisite Risk , and Fed Up with Frenzy, which both seem to implore a deliberate, slow lifestyle, which I am all for. The only thing is, we have that whole soccer thing going on, and I might feel a little bit like a poser reading those right now. I think I’ll just finish Living the Good Life, which I am currently reading, and continue fantasizing about a simple, farmy life in the woods.

I’m curious about The Book Thief, because it seems like everyone is reading it, but I wonder if it’s too similar in topic to Sarah’s Key, which I recently cruised through and would highly recommend. If I do continue to read more on the same subject (Jewish persecution during WWII. Never fun, often inspiring in surprising ways), then In the Garden of Beasts will be in my lap soon, too.

I’d like to read through The Backyard Naturalist,  and turn my backyard into a bird and butterfly haven. But I just know that the squirrels will infiltrate any special accommodations I make for the sweet birdies, and ruin all the fun. Maybe I need to get Put Em Up, Take Em Out!: Knife Fighting Techniques From Folsom Prison, and use my new skills to shank those greedy rodents. (That is an actual book, that came up randomly in an Amazon search. Apparently, it’s rare, and goes for $100-$200, which makes me really, really want it now.)

What are you reading or planning to read? I think I need to add a few more to the list, just in case “The Complete Metalsmith” isn’t cutting it.

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12 responses to “From Casting to Shanking: Books I’m Reading. Or Not.”

  1. Angela

    I love the titles of those books! Flex-shaft-bwahaha! I don’t think you are a poser at all. Now I am going to run and put the books you mentioned on my ever-growing list!

    1. AG Ambroult

      I always get great book recs from you, Angela!

  2. Heather Thyne

    Well the Diana Gabaldon time-travel books are long and interesting. And quite detailed sometimes squeamishly so! There’s an entire series, starting with “Outlander” that was published probably 20 years ago. The premise is a 20th century former WWII nurse, on holiday in Scotland, just after the war, gets time-transported back 200 yrs to the time just before the uprising was quashed at Culloden. The books are fascinating. But LOONG!!! Then there’s another time travel bookseries by Randall Ingermason, called the City of God series, set in Jerusalem, where some of the characters time travel from the 21st century to the time of the birth of the Church. There’s a couple of scenes in those (“Transgression” and “Premonition”) which made me weep! So powerful!

    1. AG Ambroult

      I was just reading about the Outlander series — fascinating that the author wrote the first one just as a practice novel that she thought nobody would ever read!

  3. Nicola

    I am pathetically just catching up with you, Amy. You have been on my mind, even if my finger tips haven’t been visiting lately, leaving messages sharing said thoughts!
    Great post! I dream about family life in the woods…the reality is it would be hard. I am realistically dreaming of a half-way version. Sarah’s Key…great to read your mini review. One of my best friend’s gave it to me and I still haven’t read it, a bit daunted by the setting, but she had the same reaction you had, so it will be coming soon for me. I tend to flop between parenting/education books, crafting books, and what I call slush reading. Within each of those, my current reads are Rhythms of Learning, Kids Knitting, and O is for (whatever O is for…Sue Grafton).

    1. AG Ambroult

      you’ll really enjoy Sarah’s Key — if I can even use the word “enjoy” to describe a setting like that.
      You’re so right, that a life in the woods means a whole lotta work. We can dream of one thing, while living a moderate version of that. Just like you’re doing. Something a little more possible, given our limitations with land, right?

  4. Concetta @ Glittering Shards

    hilarious and inspiring. I read books about concrete if it makes you feel better 😉 xx

    1. AG Ambroult

      oooh! Concrete! Must be riveting.

  5. Francesca

    on the subject of jewelry-related stuff (I know, I know), have you seen her boards ( on Pinterest?

    1. AG Ambroult

      oh! lovely boards. Thanks for the link!

  6. anne

    I love talking books!! Cracked me up with the flex shaft… I’m taking a metalsmithing class right now, so my mind didn’t go directly to the gutter. 😉

    I’m on a bit of a Barbara Kingsolver kick right now. I read and loved The Lacuna and then, since although I’ve read a bunch of her books I’d never read The Poisonwood Bible, started that one, too (almost done with it). I’m determined to learn how to knit this fall/winter and so I bought The Stitch ‘n Bitch Knitter’s Handbook (loved her book on crochet back when I was teaching myself that). I want to get my hands on Making an Impression by Geninne Zlatkis because it looks like such fun. And I’m impatiently waiting for Anna Maria Horner’s new needlework book to arrive.

  7. Eun

    Thanks for the list- always interested in what you are interested in! I am reading the Tin Drum, by Gunter Grass, which is set in Nazi-era Germany (since March-oy.). Fascinating culturally, rich writing but not exactly a quick read, esp. for a slow reader. When I finish, I will be plowing through my fluff lit list. Bring on fairies, vampires and maybe even Christian Grey.

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