Books for Fabric Lovers

Diane Helentjaris
5 min readDec 6, 2022

Eleven books to gift and to read this year

Photo compliments of Brenda Godinez on Unsplash

Iceland, a country of volcanoes and hot springs, short ponies, and wooly horned sheep, is also a land with a super-long and cold Christmas Eve. Sure, the dark skies often host theatrical colored light displays of aurora borealis, but still…by mid-December, daylight lasts a scant five hours. The sun rises around 11 am and sets between 3 and 4 pm.

Aurora borealis in Iceland. Photo compliments of v2osk on Unsplash.

Jolabokaflod, “Christmas book flood,” is Iceland’s charming way to deal with the holiday’s extra helping of darkness. On Christmas Eve, gifts of new books are unwrapped, and folks snuggle in for a night of reading. Hot chocolate is the drink of choice. Not surprisingly, Iceland sells the most books per person in the world.

To help fabric and textile lovers who’d like to indulge in their own cozy snuggled-in evening of reading and chocolate, consider these:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

This novel written in the Southern Ontario Gothic style is Atwood’s fictionalized rendering of the story of Grace Marks, a servant woman, who may (or may not) have been a cold-blooded murderess. Each chapter features a quilt block evocative of the events of Grace’s life. As always, Atwood weaves a compelling tale.

Diary of a Lacemaker by Sukey Hughes

A Dutch girl flees her abusive home in the 1700s and ends up working on a South African wine estate. Her secret passion for lacemaking is soon joined by another secret: her forbidden affair with a local man. An immersive story of a time and a place not typically featured in fiction.

Patch Work: A Life Amongst Clothes by Claire Wilcox

This fascinating memoire by the Senior Curator of Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum gives a look at life through eyes often filled by the sight of silk gowns, pearl buttons, Victorian nightdress, and whalebone. Wilcox writes with a deft touch.

The Dressmakers of Auschwitz by Lucy Adlington

Diane Helentjaris

Writer with a love of the overlooked. Author of the new historical fiction novel The Indenture of Ivy O’Neill,