Slow Reading ~ The Gentle Art of Domesticity

As sometimes happens, I am walking along the bargain aisles at Barnes and Nobles hoping to catch that great homeschooling find when out of the corner of my eye I spy this cover.

I know you are not suppose to judge a book by it’s cover but I am a visual person by nature and, unfortunately, this is too often the case with me…at least with books! And this one didn’t disappoint! It’s all in the title: The Gentle Art of Domesticity {Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & The Comforts of Home} by Jane Brocket. What’s not to love? For $10 I found a homey book that I can curl up with at night or on the weekends and enjoy in my new home!

Sometimes in this bloggy world we adults develop a bad case of attention deficit disorder. We get so used to perusing and looking and envying that we never take the time to stop and read and do the things we are looking at. Or is that just me?  I often need to force myself out of this destructive pattern. This book is a breath of fresh air in that department. It’s like reading a blog (beautiful pictures married with wonderful content) but in long form. Instead of sneaking a 5 minute reading blog break, you can take an hour and read on the comfort of your couch.

This isn’t a how-to book so much as a how-I-got-here book. It is all those homey ideas I want to ruminate in for a while. And her take on our culture is spot on. Take this excerpt for example.

For the gentle arts are just that: gentle. They do not demand to be practiced. No one is obliged to pursue them. They have not been taken up by any government department and regulated and repackaged with health and safety messages and warnings. They are a matter of individual and personal choice. They can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest and the ability to thread a needle, break an egg, choose a color or wield a pair of scissors. They don’t require complicated skills, qualifications, training or equipment…What they do require, though, is a consicious choice to do something ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘quaint,’ to choose not to buy and consume endlessly, but to make and create for a change…It’s the awareness of the worth of the gentle arts that counts, the ability to see that the feminists of the 1970s were misguided when they thought that teaching young girls to devalue domesticity constituted progress.” {emphasis mine}

Wow! And this from an author who was, herself, a proclaimed feminist! It was her journey through that process of attaining a family and struggling with careers that landed her in this ever-so domestic world. I love this for two reasons. One, the book reads like a blog journal ~ interactive with you while at the same time maintaining that personal awareness and growth that only comes with writing things down. And two, you don’t have to be that traditional Martha Stewart-y crafty girl to enjoy this book. You can be that career momma or retired grandma with time on her hands or even the mom who longs to do crafts but is up to her elbows in a dirt-colored-snotty-nose season of life and still resonate with Jane’s writings on domesticity. It is that inherent domesticity in all of us women, designed by God himself, that connects us as a collective whole despite our individualistic bents.

I long to recapture my own domesticity amid the potty training, homeschooling, disciplining, and laundry pile ups.  I know this art will take intentional slowing down on my part, as well as intentional thought about how I want our home atmosphere to look and feel. It’s not about the keeping up with the Jone’s I’m interested in, it’s the comforting feeling of hospitality I long for my family and guests to feel when they step through my door. I’m excited to glean some valuable nuggets of truth in this area from Jane’s book. I hope this one stays on my shelf for years to come!

{Update :: The wonderful reason this book feels like a blog in print is because Jane actually has the most wonderful, beautiful blog right here in this cyber world. It is called yarnstorm and is just lovely. Please, go check it out!!! Plus, the book is turning out fabulous. The perfect read to take slowly in bits over sips of coffee during those rare free moments.}

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4 thoughts on “Slow Reading ~ The Gentle Art of Domesticity

  1. Sounds like a lovely book. It seems the gentle art of domesticity is completely undervalued by society, but what is really of more import than nurturing today’s young, tomorrow’s future? It is hard sometimes to really slow down with all of the outside voices that pressure us to run here and there, doing things that aren’t really important. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back to the things that are really important in life and let go of the things that aren’t. Thank you for sharing this today. 🙂

  2. Amy, it sounds like a book that my Mom (your Grandmother) could have written. I’ve never before or since seen a woman that could put 30 hours of washing, sewing, cooking, gardening, as well as canning and taking food to her elderly friends, into a 24 hour day. i look forward to see what happens after you have read the book. You remind me so much of my Mom. Love you, Girl.

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