I’ve posted several times about furoshikis, the Japanese squares of fabric that can be transformed into carrying bags and wraps of all kinds. A little while back I noted that there was a book, and promised a follow-up if I could get my hands on it.

I found it. Gift Wrapping With Textiles by Chizuko Morita was, unbelievably, in the Bangor Borders. Now that I’ve had it for a few months, I feel qualified to comment.

The truth is, almost all the really useful wraps are demo’ed on YouTube or diagrammed on the Japanese Ministry of the Environment furoshiki. There are a few good additions in this book, notably a large folio carry (think framed art), the long tube wrap (think rolled posters), the kimono wine wrap (not as useful as the ordinary bottle wrap, but prettier), and the backpack (uses two furoshikis, and really only good in a pinch). Everything else is either a reapplication of a basic concept or cute/pretty but not useful as such (and here my New England pragmatism peeks through). The instructions are generally good, especially the section in the beginning about the different sorts of knots and how to tie them. there are a few places where the wording is a little tricky, but nothing insurmountable.

If you’re planning to convert your life to a furoshiki-only existence, get this book. If you want a lot of instructions about decorative wraps (the title is, after all, about gift wrapping) with flowers or rabbits or kittens worked into the tying, get this book. Otherwise, see if you can get it at the library.

I bought this book because I heard Kelly Bryson interviewed and thought he had a lot of good and useful insights. Unfortunately, his writing style in this book is grumpier than his interviewing style, and I had a much harder time absorbing his wisdom. I’m not sure I’d recommend the book, but I’d definitely recommend his mentor’s book, Nonviolent Communication first (see below).

I also just finished reading the book, based on the blog by the same name, written by Rev. Gordon Atkinson. It’s incredible. Most of his writing is. It’s raw and honest and real and true and funny. If you’re clergy you’ll like it especially, as long as you don’t mind irreverent religious leaders. Highly recommended. Only available directly from Gordon at his website,

Just finished Nonviolent Communication: a language of life by Marshall Rosenberg. Follow the link for a preview.

It’s a good book. Like everything, there are times when it’s not useful and times when it is, but this method (learn more at the Center for NonViolent Communication website) has a lot of potential for personal as well as community transformation. I especially appreciate the fact that it can be practiced solo–others don’t need to know the system for it to be effective.