Tension, by E.M. Delafield
A couple of weeks ago I listened to one of the most frustrating books I came across in a long time – Tension, by E.M. Delafield. The characters in this book are all constructed in such a way that you can’t entirely like any one of them, I think. Delafield had a brilliant way of making them real human beings with faults and flaws.
That being said, of course, I actually enjoyed the book a lot, it kept me engaged and entertained and until the end, I was curious to learn how all the Tension would be released. I recommend the LibriVox audiobook by Helen Taylor, which is free to listen to on Youtube (part one & part two) since the book is in the public domain.
My hard copy of The Diary of a Provincial Lady
The author might be better known for her Provincial Lady series. I listened to the first two volumes a couple of years ago and they remain some of my most funny listens to date. I actually stumbled upon Tension trying to find The Provincial Lady goes to America (with no success, sadly).
Read more about E. M. Delafield and see a full list of her books here. I need to add some more of these to my own library!
Audie Awards 2021
I’ve only started listening to audiobooks two-three years ago, but I don’t know how I never heard of the Audie Awards, the annual awards given by the American Audio Publishers Association for audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. Awards are given in about thirty categories, some relating to types of writing, including abridged and unabridged fiction and nonfiction, and genres, like romance, fantasy and mystery; other awards recognize excellence in different styles of narration and production, such as multi-voiced performance and production values.
As far as I could find, it’s the main recognition an audiobook can receive and because these have been around since 1996, the lists of winners are bound to provide endless inspiration for my next listens. The 2021 winners were announced in May and I’ve already shortlisted the three titles above from both winners and nominees.
All That Glitters
Even though I don’t have a TV subscription and I haven’t really watched TV in 6-7 years now, I try to follow what’s new in case there is something that I might enjoy on-demand. When I read about All That Glitters – the BBC show aiming to find Britain’s next jewellery star, I thought it would be worth checking on iPlayer. I don’t know much about jewellery or jewellery making and it sounded like a good opportunity to learn more, with an entertainment spin.
All That Glitters’s judge Shaun Leane
I was not mistaken. You could reduce the episodes to one line of text describing the challenges and images of each contestant’s creations, but while watching it you hear all sorts of interesting bits about this art and industry. For example, I didn’t know what a cocktail ring is, what the difference is between a neck chain and a necklace, or that the massive statement necklaces covering one’s chest are also called bib necklaces. But there is so much more to learn about different metals and materials, techniques, the creative process or the commercial aspect.
Bonus exquisite find for major jewellery inspiration is this book on Russia’s Treasure of Diamonds and Precious Stones. I think it would be a brilliant read, but with only a digital version I’ll stick to admiring the images. And if you feel like splurging after browsing it, this is apparently the Vestiaire of vintage jewellery.
Cultivating The Art of Noticing
A title bound to stop me in my scrolling, and that’s exactly what the article is about – how to slow down and be intentional about the content we consume or our surroundings, noticing and drawing inspiration through observation.
This should help us find motivation for our creative art, and I agree. Although I don’t pretend to make art, my pleasure in writing this letter every week stems from the fact that it truly channels my spare time into doing something I enjoy – reading, researching or just browsing topics and things that I am truly interested in or passionate about. Without this motivation, I would find myself at the end of a long day aimlessly scrolling or watching things I didn’t consciously choose, and I would go to bed feeling demotivated. Luckily, that is not the case, and cultivating the art of noticing is definitely playing a big part in my feeling of contentment!
Matthew Simmonds’ Architecture Sculptures
I spotted Mathew Simmonds’ work on This is Colossal and I thought it is simply beautiful. Miniatures of beautiful medieval architectural structures and details exquisitely carved into precious yet raw heavy pieces of marble… There’s something about this contrast.
His creations vary in size from 20-30 centimeters in height to over two meters. One of the smaller ones would look brilliant I think among books in a beautiful floor-to-ceiling bookshelf or among plants, don’t you think?
Cotton Candy Roses
How gorgeous are these flowers, called, among others, Cotton Candy Roses or Prairie Smoke? Actually named Geum Triflorum, these are a species of perennials specific mainly to North America. I’ve found seeds to buy on Etsy and I am actually considering ordering some! More than cotton candy, they remind me of ice cream, but in any case, something delicious that I’d love to indulge in.
Speaking of flowers, I spotted this Zara flower bag on the SheerLuxe newsletter and, of course, because it’s an object one can absolutely live without or use instead something more versatile (like a normal bag), an object which serves no other purpose than its very specific intended one – to carry flowers, I fell for it! It’s similar to a bookmark – you can use pretty much anything instead and you can’t use it for anything else really, but I have dozens.
I buy flowers as often as I go grocery shopping and I used to always ask for a flower bag when going into Waitrose, but they don’t seem to have them around all the time anymore. I explored a bit further and I found a few other lovely flower bags, including a few simple DIY options, like turning a normal tote bag into a flower bag.
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.