When was the last time you not only stopped and smelled the roses, but pruned them too? When did you last host a dinner party for friends you might eagerly text or follow on FaceBook but haven’t seen for months or years? When did you last listen to a vinyl record with all its scritches, scratches and layers of sound? When did you last bake a cake, bread or dog treats? Play a board game with your kids, partner or friends? Hand write a letter or card instead of tying it or emailing?
If you answered, “I don’t remember” or “never” to any of these questions, then do yourself a favour and read this marvellous, gem of a book with a gorgeous cover. Written by well-known writer, Sally Wise, and award-winning, international playwright, ABC radio senior producer, and first time author (and a friend of mine – I declare it now), Paul McIntyre, The Little Book of Slow is packed full of not only ideas about favourite past-times, but also how to pass the time in meaningful, mindful and often relaxing ways, and really appreciate this in a world where we so often cry we’re time-poor.
Whether it’s op-shopping, keeping a dream diary, or cultivating good manners and being civil or making your own curry pastes and powders, pickling veges and planning a picnic, this “little” book is big on caring about ourselves, the planet and each other. Reminding us to live mindfully and meaningfully, the prose is sweet and gentle but the messages are so important, especially in a world of cyber and other distractions that mean we too often disconnect – not only from others, but from ourselves.
As I read this book (and I did cover to cover, though it’s designed to dip in and out of with ease) I found myself reflecting on how and why I have forgotten or not allowed myself the time to enjoy the simple things, and put the stresses of a beeping, whirring phone, blaring TV or computer aside for a few hours if not days.
Great as a gift, or to lose yourself in while luxuriating in a hot bath, trying out one of the many delicious recipes, or curled up in armchair under a lamp with the TV off and the music on, this book is timely and simply lovely. Furthermore, both Sally and Paul practice what they don’t preach – they live life in the slow and rewarding lane, reminding us we can too and be all the richer for it.