Yarn, Yorkshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Posts tagged ‘Books’

Books – July 2017

I have recently begun a short online course run by Edinburgh University through Future Learn. You can do this course for free but I am giving serious consideration to paying over hard cash for an upgrade to give me unlimited access to the material, as I have enjoyed the first week so much. It’s called “How to Read a Novel”. Which you might think was self-evident , but I have realised that by rushing from story to story I am missing out in so much more. The last book I read this month was the Joanne Harris, I list them in the order that I read them, I just feel now that I want to re read this book, to see how she managed to send me off in the wrong direction. Anyway there is still time to sign up for this course, as it is only 4 weeks long,  the second week only just started, and you can still access week one. Here’s the link. Future Learn, How to Read a Novel

John Updike- The Afterlife- A collection of short stories and a book from the heap. An author one is supposed to like, but to whom I did not warm. The writing is good, and I had a sense of place which to me is important, but not a sense of love for place. The stories all concern the end of things, life and relationships between lovers, married couples, parents and children. The stories were all too realistic of the futility of us all, and so I found it rather depressing . The only one I really enjoyed was called A Sandstone Farmhouse, which had some warmth in it.I would love to know what others think of this author. I have another in the heap by the bed of his called The Farm, which concerns the same farmhouse and people so that is a relief! I think it will be a while before I get round to reading it though.

I am nearly coming to the end of my heap challenge and I figure if I read 1.25 books from the heap I will have finished it, as long as I don’t add to it in the meantime. Just why am I compelled to buy more books when I have a very good library to go too?

The rest are Library books.

Susan Hill-  A Kind Man- a short novel, beautifully crafted as ever. Similar setting to other books she has written, just wonderful. Themes again are life, love, birth, death, illness etc. Superb, just try one of her books for me.

Linwood Barclay- Broken Promise- big thanks to the blogger(s) who recommended this author to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first in a trilogy. Basically a returning to his home town journalist investigates the mystery of the angel who gave his cousin a baby.

Robert Harris- Conclave- An interesting and enjoyable read, as the Cardinals are locked in Conclave for 72 hours whilst they elect the next Pope. A disappointing end, which I won’t give away here, but if you want to know more, please look in my Page above on Books. Be interested to know if anyone else has read this one, and for their thoughts.

Joanne Harris- Different Class. Two narrators, one a former pupil and one a teacher ,relate a past event through the changes a new Head is making to an old style Grammar School. Described as a masterpiece of misdirection by Val McDermid, I can only agree.

So have you read any good books recently. I keep a note of recommendations for my trips to the Library, so look forward to reading your comments.

Books- May 2017

None of my books this month have come from the heap by the bed. I have had some good reads too, and many thanks to all who recommended the works of Nikki French and Deborah Crombie, they are as good as you said.

M C Beaton-Death of a Policeman– having enjoyed the Hamish Macbeth TV programme I looked forward to reading a novel. The writing and plotting is weak. I won’t read another

Ann Cleeves- A Lesson in Dying- an early novel from this author, well plotted and written. A good solid detective story.

Nikki French- Friday on my Mind-a good detective story but I should have started with Blue Monday and worked my way through the series.

Deborah Crombie- To Dwell in Darkness. A solid London-based crime novel. The Americanisms grated a bit as all the characters are British. A good read, but as with the previous book there are earlier novels featuring the main character which I should have started with.

But this is my favourite. Now I don’t who mentioned it, but someone did and a great Big Thank You to you. I had never heard of this one and it is an utterly charming picture book and I can’t wait to give it to Little Miss F and I am sure her brother Master T will love it too. That’s if I can bear to part with it.

In the meantime I should start to read from the heap again but am rather thinking I would like to read some books to do with nature as I embark on 30 days wild.

Love to hear any recommendations from your recent reading or on the subject of nature.

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.

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