Life and Thyme!

Posts tagged ‘Books’

My A-Z Reading Challenge.

In July last year I set myself the challenge of reading through the alphabet. Starting with a book by an author whose surname began with an A, then moving onto b, then c and so on, and in the correct order, and only going to the library for my books I read my way through the alphabet. There is no book in our library with an author whose name begins with an X, but other than that I have managed to read 25 books, from A-Z.

I wanted to do this to find new authors, rediscover favourite ones and to read outside my normal genres. In that I have been successful. Starting with the bad bits first, Henry James is never going to be an author I shall read again. It was the only book I abandoned. Chick lit and me are never going to get along either. Gruesome tales even by favourite authors such as Kate Mosse are not for me either. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguru was the biggest disappointment. I just didn’t get it and found the book boring.

Harlan Coben was a new author for me and I shall definitely be reading his books again.

The five best books I read were in reverse order:-

John Boyne- The Boy in the Striped pyjamas. A very moving story about a concentration camp, also a film

4 David Ebershoff- The Danish Girl- another moving story and I am sure one everyone has heard of, also a film

3 Sue Monk Kidd- The Secret Life of Bees– growing up with secrets is not a good idea- also a film

2 John Steinbeck- To a God Unknown– probably my favourite author, so maybe I surprise myself putting this book at number 2. A love of the land shines out from this book. It was a beautiful read. Not a book I had heard of before.

1 Lalin Paull- The Bees. I really loved this book. I mean really loved this book. A very interesting way to explore environmental issues through the eyes of a bee.

4 of these authors were new to me and one an old favourite.

Was the challenge worthwhile for me? Oh yes.

And my next challenge. To read through a heap of books I have acquired over the years and not read yet. At least 15 of them as part of my 17 for 2017 list.

Wish me luck.

Love to hear of your reading goals for this year.

Oh and Spring is on its way. The first snowdrops are coming out in the garden.

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Yarn Along!

I have my first piece of knitting for 2017 completed.

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A jumper and matching hat for my grandson. Knitted in a yarn called Party Time by James Brett. It’s chunky and oh so quick to knit up. Very satisfying. The buttons came from my button box.

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and there was enough yarn to make a hat which I adapted from another chunky pattern. Think it will be ok. The jumper is on the big size so I am knitting another one in the next size down, different colour, same yarn and pattern. Meantime, I have now reached the second sleeve on that white cable cardigan.

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Carrying on with my read through the alphabet I have reached W- Vita Sackville West, All Passion Spent. An 88-year-old finally gets to do what she wants on the death of her husband. And the first of my non fiction reads for the year is a diary written by John Steinbeck as he wrote his masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath. A fascinating insight into the mind of my favourite author.

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along

 

 

Yarn Along!

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So T is for Anne Tyler. Just when I thought I had read the best book for this year ( John Steinbeck To a God Unknown) I start this one. And I love it. Such resonance with where I am in my life right now, ie getting older with grown up children and grandchildren, facing the trials and tribulations of life. Fantastic. Probably my second favourite book this year.

And who is that peeping out, at least it’s not tinsel yarn! From the 20 Twenty to make series, Mini Christmas knits. Should be 4ply but I don’t have any so it’s DK and bigger needles. he looks a fine snowman to me. Now where is he destined for I wonder?

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

 

Yarn Along!

The car needed a service and MOT last week. This meant that I had hours to while away in York, so I just had to go shopping. After all there were Christmas presents to buy and Secret Santa gifts to sort out. Which of course meant fabric and yarn shopping. I went to one of my favourite shops, Duttons for Buttons in York, and sure enough I found a cross stitch kit of a horse suitable for an 8 year old. By now I had done lots of walking and felt a sit down would be in order. I knew that on the top floor there was a chair for people to browse knitting patterns. Now , I so didn’t need a knitting pattern…. (can you see where this might be going?) I have tinsel yarn for owls and hedgehogs, a sheep kit from Dartmoor Yarns to make, a nearly 3/4 complete white cable cardigan, yes that one, wool for a mermaid’s tail, did you forget that somewhere I have yarn for a Bagpuss. I had until I found it earlier in the month. So I really have quite enough on the go.

But I was sitting there and wondering if they had CCTV on the top floor, the staff were all two floors below. Maybe I should pretend to be looking at patterns, and oh look isn’t that yarn pretty. No I don’t need yarn, I will just pretend to look at the pattern book.

Well you know what happened next. I really don’t need to say anymore.

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Go on seriously could you have resisted this self striping yarn? I knitted the front to the neck-band in just two nights. It’s CHUNKY wool. It’s scarcely going to impact on all the other knitting is it? The yarn is by James Brett and called Party Time Chunky. And Master T could really do with a new jumper, couldn’t he?

YES. Well done the correct answer.

Meantime I am onto S in my read through the alphabet at the library ridiculous personal challenge. I think John Steinbeck may well be my all time favourite author, he is certainly in the top 5, so when I found two books by him that I hadn’t read well I just had to read them both. I finished The Long Valley, a volume of his early short stories, Not his best but good anyway.

MMMM there are some very nice girly patterns and pinkish Party Time Chunky yarns, I wonder would Miss F like a new jumper?

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

 

 

Yarn Along!

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Knitting the first sleeve of the cable cardigan. I will get this done, I Will get this done, I WILL get this done , I so WILL get this done. This year I aimed to improve my knitting skills. To challenge myself. Well this cable cardigan has done just this. I can’t lose concentration for a second. If I do it is absolutely guaranteed to go Wrong immediately!

Knitting I found is something I usually do as a kind of meditation. I go into a trance. My mind wanders. I may even do some thinking. With cables I just can’t do this.  Which is why I have had two projects on the go since the summer, one to improve skills and one for fun. First the knitted village and now tinsel creatures. Yes that is another tinsel owl. Like to see where the last one has gone. She has made some good friends, let me tell you. Apparently she is a bit of a flirt. Click here to visit the one and only Wild Daffodil and the seahorses.

Meantime I had the most incredible surprise. One of my all time favourite knitting bloggers gave me a mention in her blog. Oh WOW!

The Twisted Yarn included me in her post about the best knitting bloggers. Oh Gosh! I love her blog. Not only can Phil do amazing knitting she can do it whilst walking or jogging or drinking wine. The Stoic Spouse and the twinnage make a regular appearance too. So not only is the knitting and crochet fantastic she is very , very funny too, and guaranteed to cheer you up. But don’t take my word for it, go visit… here

Reading has now moved onto the letter R. Finding a book to read by an author which surname began with an R was so hard. I choose this in the end because of the cover. Turns out that I choose a lot of books because of the cover. Anyway, think Dan Brown conspiracy novel meets would be spiritual cult book. I gather there was quite a spin off from this book. Hopefully I will find out why.

Joining with Ginny at Small Things for another good yarn.

Yarn Along!

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I am just about to start the sleeve decreases on the left front of the cable cardigan. Oh so slow!

Meantime I have reached P in my Read through the Alphabet. And P is for Laline Paull and The Bees. Oh My is this a good read. The bee version of Watership Down or Duncton Wood. I am loving it.

I have crocheted together the second of the three blankets made from the Blocks crocheted by Rachel and given to me as she had moved onto other projects without joining these blocks.

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What no Tinsel Yarn? Course there is. The obsession continues.

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Only he’s Mine All MINE! My little House Elf! He said he is Dobie , but I am not sure that’s his real name.

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along

Yarn Along and a winner!

The winner of the Owl

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is Sharon at Creativity and Family. Please email me you address and I will make sure he is flying your way!

The tinsel yarn obsession knitting continues with some Halloween fun.

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One spider and a pumpkin. This yarn (King Cole Chunky Tinsel) has really put the fun back into knitting! And it’s not over yet, oh no… more later. Meantime I have made some slight progress with the cable cardigan. The front is proving much easier to manage , less repeats so less chance of my loosing concentration.

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I finished the Taxidermist’s daughter by Kate Mosse and it did get rather gruesome, not for the faint hearted. So on my Read through the alphabet challenge I reached N. There is a distinct paucity of authors whose surname begins with an N. In the library a mere one shelf, compared to authors beginning with C who have six shelves. I had never heard of any of the N writers available in the library, and so choose this book, because a, it wasn’t too long if I didn’t like it, b, I liked the cover, c, it is a volume of short stories so surely I would like some of them, d, the blurb on the back looked promising and finally , e, I didn’t like the look of any of the others.

The reason I started this challenge was to remind myself of authors I loved but had forgotten and more importantly to find new authors. Stuart Nadler  really ticks this box for me. The book is called The Book of Life. The stories concern ordinary people dealing with ordinary life events, love, death, marriage, children, empty nest syndrome etc and each one has moved me. I love it. This one book has made this rather ridiculous challenge of mine absolutely worth while!

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along

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