Sunday, November 28, 2021

Weekend Review: An Anti "Black Friday" Book List!

I just read an intriguing article over at Book Riot, all about setting yourself your own Mini Reading Intensive. Basically creating a self-made syllabus on a subject you're intensely interested in. Author Laura Sackton had some good tips, like making sure the authors you are reading have varied perspectives, and reading across genres, from non-fiction to memoir/biography to fiction, poetry, and articles. Also, she suggests not overdoing it and expecting yourself to read multiple books a month, rather to set a reasonable goal and spread it out. I like this concept -- and we all know that textiles are a subject that I, and probably most of you reading this, are especially concerned with.

So no specific book to review today -- in dubious honour of it being the Black Friday weekend, I thought instead I'd share a book list or two with you instead. The terrible rate of fast fashion increases over this weekend, causing more and more waste than ever. I follow Fashion Revolution, and they have a special focus on the effects of Black Friday on their blog & socials. They shared a great list of books to read if you want to find out more about how fast fashion affects us all. This is a great resource if the fashion industry is an area you'd like to set a Mini Reading Intensive for. 

I've read and reviewed just a few of these titles so far -- Loved Clothes Last, The Conscious Closet, and Wardrobe Crisis. Now many of these others are in my sights. I've also read a couple of others that would fit into this theme, like Dress With Sense (a really good one!) 

If you are thinking about sustainability more in the area of home sewing and your own practices, there are some great titles out there on mending, refashioning, upcycling and so on, that can inspire. Here are a few I've reviewed in the past: 

The Refashion Handbook by Beth Huntington

Mend by Kate Sekules

Wear, Repair, Repurpose by Lucy Fulop

Joyful Mending by Noriko Misumi

Generation T by Megan Nicolay

Mend It, Wear It, Love It by Zoe Edwards 

Visible Mending by Jenny Wilding Cardon

Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh

Or you might want to approach something like this by choosing an area of sewing to focus on, like doing a deep dive into the history of textiles and techniques (Threads of Life, The Subversive Stitch) or investigating a particular natural fabric - history of, how to sew it, best projects for it, where to source it sustainably etc. 

Is this kind of Mini Reading Intensive something you do naturally? I like to read by mood and interest, so do kind of follow this type of thematic reading, but I like the idea of setting a syllabus so that the perspectives I'm reading are varied and cover a lot of ground. Sounds like a great plan for 2022! I might be pondering something now...


  1. Oh Melanie, I just LOVE this post!! It is fascinating, and I feel that it is almost speaking to me. I was hooked with a sentence in the first paragraph of Laura Sackton's article .... " Happily, since I’m completely in charge of my own lifelong continuing education, I don’t have to rely on institutions or professors to create syllabi for subjects I’m interested in. I can make my own."

    I do like themed reading, but do it in a very mish mash type of way. I have never included fiction in my selection of themed reading, it is non fiction. I am a absolute believer in lifelong education, but the depth and techniques of Laura's self learning is a game changer.

    For example, I am so interested in sustainable sewing on many levels, and have read quite a few of the books you mentioned. I nearly always read the ones you have reviewed and posted about in regard to this topic. But I think, Clare Press was a turning point for me.
    I am really going to give this a try - and my interest is zero waste sewing, not just the design side, but looking at it from many angles. Are there any fiction books which touch on this? That will be a challenge for me to find. I have read so many non-fiction, and often donate them to the library afterwards if I have purchased them (usually second hand), but generally not if they have practical ideas such as patterns, related sewing techniques etc.

    Thank you for such a thought provoking post!

  2. Thank you, Melanie, for this post, and for all your book reviews! I love your librarian's eye for what readers may or may not be interested in. I want you to know that I have ordered several of these books to use as Christmas gifts for my daughter and sister. I would have never run across these delightful books without your blog! Thank you so much!

    1. I'm so glad you are enjoying them! And I certainly hope that the Christmas gifts are well received :)

  3. It was such a great article that made me think about my reading plans! I am working on a 'syllabus' for myself for next year and hoping to organize myself a bit. Looking for more fiction/poetry etc. on these topics, and of course I'll share if I find any! Glad you found this intriguing as well.


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!