Tag Archives: Books

Twilight

In between knitting socks, working and toddler time, in the last few weeks I read the Twilight series. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Host, also by Stephanie Meyer was a really good book – brilliant sci-fi and completely un-put-downable, but there had been so much hype about Twilight that I was sceptical about it.

It turns out that there was no need for scepticism. I loved reading them – I haven’t devoured a whole series like that since I found Trudi Canavan’s Magician trilogy. It is a pity that they are so well known, because I already went into them knowing the whole vampire/werewolf/human aspect (and now you do too – sorry). The suspense of the reveal of each of the characters would have been interestingĀ  without notice.

The thing that I found most interesting was the struggle for morality. What is good and evil? Who has a soul? How much danger can you put someone you love into? I liked that Meyer redefined her vampires and werewolves – they don’t follow all the classic rules, so you never quite know their limits. I’ve given the books back to the person from book group who I borrowed them from. If not, I think I might have to read them through again to see what I missed the first time.

Anyone else read them? What did you think?

Fickle, fickle, fickle

So my sister is not getting a pair of socks on her birthday. Thank you for your comments – some very good ideas. I have one complete sock and two inches of toe. This will blatantly not have transformed into a completed sock by morning, so I am going to keep them until I can give them to her in person (about 3 weeks time). Three weeks to complete the sock will still take some fairly serious concentration, so why do I feel the need to start a new scarf? I’ve spent the evening watching The Devil Wears Prada and knitting in a rather lacklustre fashion on the sock.

I have diagnosed the problem: a serious case of second sock syndrome. This is a well known knitting malaise, here combined with an oncoming attack of startitis. You see, I’m what the Yarn Harlot calls a process knitter. Knitting for me is all about learning new things, figuring out a new technique and mastering it. Why knit something twice? Am I going to learn more on the second sock? Perhaps – it has the slight interest of having a mirror-image of the spiralling pattern of the first sock, but I’m not sure that is enough. The finished object is rarely of great interest.

I have another single sock completed – this one being a complicated multi-cable-stitch pattern. I decided to postpone casting on the second one so I could meet the deadline of my sister’s birthday. Who was I kidding?

Fickle, that’s what I am when it comes to knitting. Can’t the world understand that the Moebius cast-on is much more exciting than plain knitting in the round with the odd increase here and there?

In other news, I am having a bit of a children’s literature theme. I’m loving reading Winnie the Pooh to Rusk and I’m also reading the Chronicles of Narnia ‘for work’.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new…

DECADE!

I often wondered how I would feel about turning 30 and now I know. Any possible distress at no longer being in my twenties has been assuaged by lots of goodies and a really nice day (so far).

Rusk gave me a new mascot, but seems a bit confused about who actually owns it. We may have to share. Still no name for it. I’m sure it will come. Rusk has been lobbying for it to be called ‘doggie’, but there are several items in his possession already called this so I’m holding out for something else.

knittedcharacter

There were lots of knitterly goodies:

newyarn

Including lots of reading material. I’ve already read most of Yarn Harlot, laughing out loud many times, but only being reduced to tears twice. You thought knitting was dull? Seriously, it is an emotional roller coaster at times.

newbooks

This evening I am off on a diocesan training course. A compulsory one. Don’t worry, that is not how I would choose to spend my birthday evening. I’m going to take my knitting. Cue – “It’s my birthday and I’ll knit if I want to”.

A Miscellany

First of all, thanks Ian for your comment on the previous post. I can’t really recommend a good place to start with Thomas Merton, since The Seven Storey Mountain is the first thing I have read by him. It is, my comments from the other day notwithstanding, very readable and interesting.

I’ve had a really busy couple of days in the parishes, so did not see twitter at all for 48 hours or so. Lots of interesting things to read. Here are a few of them.

It seems there was a Panorama programme about chocolate, more specifically about child labour within the cocoa trade. The fairtrade chocolate people have been responding (here and here and probably elsewhere as well), pointing out that the part of the programme showing a fairtrade producer was dealing with how the fairtrade organisation stops child labour when they find it happening. Good. I shall continue to eat Dark Divine.

An incredible knitting project has finished. Most people knit one sock at a time. Some knit two at a time on one long needle. This guy knitted 14 at a time on one humongous needle. One pair for each day of the week – makes sense when you think about it. His knitting bag is even bigger than mine.

I don’t often blog about maths but, given I studied it first time round at uni, I feel the need to reassure Joe Taxpayer that their contributions were not in vain and I am still interested in the subject. A famous mathematician (yes, there are others) has apparently refused or is about to refuse another big prize for his work solving the Poincare Conjecture. He is Russian, and some Russian charities are asking him not to refuse the prize, but to accept it and donate the cash to good causes in Russia. Interesting. Should charities hold people to ransom like this? I don’t think so. Should people turn down legitimately earned money because they have enough? Maybe if the money would then automatically go to support another mathematician and further the course of human knowledge. Maybe not, if they can see a better use for it that they can influence. I’m in danger of siding with the charities here, and I’ve not even started in on the relative merits of academic work and child poverty.

Finally, I’m very excited about this software. Openshot: A non-linear video editor for Linux. I’ve looked at video editing stuff for the Mac and rather liked the look of it – this seems to be a start for Linux. I’ll install it after my next Ubuntu upgrade. Why do I always seem to have a hankering for upgrading a month before the next release? The end of March/beginning of April seems to send me into software envy every year. It is worse this time – I didn’t upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 since I was too busy when it came out. I’ve since tried it on a live cd and found that the touchscreen on my laptop works! I cannot overstate how cool I find this to be. My laptop has a turny-roundy screen that folds down so you can use it like a piece of paper. I’ve never actually used it because it only worked in Windows up to now and I only use windows once in a blue moon and have no data on that partition at all.

In other news, I’ve nearly finished the book my book group started reading in December. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I read it 10 years ago and loved it, but could remember nothing about it. Loving it even more this time. I suggested a Jasper Fforde book for this month, on the grounds that I have read it and so get a month off! I hear it is being quite well-received.

http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/news_and_events/news/panorama_response

Academic Writing

I’m sitting in my office/spare room, surrounded by piles of books. The dissertation is nearly at an end, but the final few days are proving to be hard going.

Since I can think of nothing else to write about that won’t take up valuable thinking space, here are the books that have reached the top of various piles of stuff on my desk:

  • Deadly Innocence: Feminism and the Mythology of Sin – Angela West
  • Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives – Phyllis Trible
  • Birth Traditions & Modern Pregnancy Care – Jacqueline Vincent Priya
  • The Book of Common Prayer
  • Families in BritainĀ  – Ed. R.N. Rapoport et al

A question: Can you guess the topic of my dissertation?

Just saying

There is some irony in having spent an afternoon this week in a ‘caring for self’ session and then having a preliminary to-do list of 10 items that absolutely must be done today before it turns into the study day it is meant to be. This is of course because the time I would normally do a good many of these things was the afternoon I spent in that session. Ah well. It was a good session and I was reminded of much interesting and useful information (such as the benefits of setting aside time to study). Still a little frustrating.

In case you were wondering, blogging is not on the list of 10 things. I am doing that as a nice extra, since 5 of the 10 things are done or delegated.

Today would also be the day that my copy of the new Diana Gabaldon book, An Echo in the Bone, arrived. Despite not being published here until January, there was a deal with the UK publishers that if you pre-ordered a copy from Amazon or similarĀ  and sent them your receipt, they would send an export copy at the same time that it was published in the US. There is absolutely no chance of getting to read it today (well maybe if I write 500 words of dissertation this afternoon I might read a chapter or two… or three).

So knitting – Daisy asked for a picture of the hat. This will be forthcoming in due course, as will a work in progress picture of my Strictly socks. Not socks to be worn while watching Strictly Come Dancing, but socks to be knit in the bits where you don’t actually need to watch it. With half an hour of Strictly It Takes Two to watch every weekday, as well as the weekend shows, these are growing nicely and the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is doing something very pretty and spirally with the colour variations.

While on the subject of Strictly, my favourite Strictly results site has moved to here: http://bit.ly/VhoCR. Why not go and have a look?

Update on No-Cake Month. One cake of pastoral necessity eaten and three biscuits (including one malted milk that I was tricked into eating). I think I might make it – only 4 days to go.

OK back to sorting out things for Church tomorrow. I have just ordered a book of intercessions that has emergency intercessions written for each Sunday, all tying into the lectionary Gospel reading. This will make last minute changes of plan and personnel easier to cope with, but will not help with the intercessions for Sunday evening since a) there are no more postal deliveries before then and b) I am not using the lectionary reading. Lord, in your mercy…

Book looting

Some time ago, an item appeared on the local news. The lease on a warehouse full of books had expired and the company had disappeared, leaving it full of books. The landlords were inviting the locals to come and remove any they pleased.

This sounded like something not to be missed. I have never looted before, although this was sanctioned looting so not quite the same thing. It was a depressing sight. I went on the second day. On the first day people had taken most of the shelves, discarding piles and piles of books into mountains on the floor.

Interesting dilemma: Can I tread on books? Even to get to other, better books? I overcame my scruples and did some scrambling to get a couple of gems I spotted.

I was hampered by a couple of things from making the most of this opportunity. First, I had Rusk in his pushchair with me. In order to make this less of a problem, I had brought two bookloving friends with me who had promised to take it in turns with me to mind him while the other two of us scavenged. This meant, however, that there were 3 people plus Rusk & pushchair to fit in the (quite compact) car before we even started to fit books in.

Nonetheless, the loot was worth it. I ended up with I think about 16 books. Some (Penmarric by Susan Howatch) I had been looking for, some I had wondered about and decided not to spend money on (Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab, The Rotter’s Club by Jonathan Coe) and some completely new to me.

It was a bizarre environment. It was quiet, like a public library. People were concentrating hard. One guy (a book dealer?) had driven his transit van in and was stuffing it full. Others had brought suitcases. There were quite a few mums with pushchairs. Some were carrying the baby, while the pushchair was stuffed with books.

All in all a very weird day. Thinking back (this was now a few months ago), I still don’t feel quite right about the whole thing – not sure why. Nearly all the looted books that I have read have gone back into the system now via local charity shops.

In brief

I am going out to a book group tonight.

Mr Farli is coming too.

Hurrah!

No time to blog at length, but thought I would check in for a minute.

Thank you for reading.

Exciting book link

In my meanderings around this evening, I came across a link from Rhys’s blog to an article all about various ways of organising and classifying books, particularly using the colour (or rather, color) of the spine/cover. I know that book classification is a subject very dear to the heart of at least one of my readers, as well as being something I can get ridiculously excited about, so I thought I would pass it on. I will read the article in more detail and follow the links when I have time.

One of the joys of moving house was working out how all my books fitted in. (Easy answer – they don’t). I’m still not completely happy about their arrangement, but the broad strokes of the classification is there. I think that once I get them all onto Library Thing, I will be able to use tags more effectively. It is like a great big n-dimensional Venn Diagram. Mmmmmm maths and books, two of my favourite things.

Would I ever arrange my books by colour? I don’t think so. However, our DVDs end up being somewhat arranged by colour since colour often indicates genre: generally, romcom = white, action/thriller = black. A friend who has a large collection of videos arranged by colour first pointed this out to me some years ago and it still holds true in the most part.

Lectures today were very exciting, challenging and stretching. Learning is fun!

And that is all for now since I set myself a limit of 11pm for coming off the internet. Ooops, just overun. Sshhh, dont mention it, I might not have realised.

Just some quick thoughts on some books

I bought some books at Greenbelt.

Chasing the Dragon – Jackie Pullinger
I saw Jackie twice: at Last Orders on the Friday, and at the CMS worship on Saturday morning. So inspiring.
The book was an amazing testimony to part of an amazing journey. I would recommend it to everyone. I always find it easier to read biography than general information about something. I guess it is because, at a fundamental level, humans share so many experiences that when someone lives such a radically different life, it has more impact.

Jackie’s heartfelt call at Greenbelt was for the ‘normal’ Christians, to make the effort to go and help those working with people on the edge. How can people recover from problems like addiction without positive role models to help them?

A Universal Heart, The Life and Vision of Brother Roger of Taize – Kathryn Spink, updated edition.
Taize has been important to me for so long. I grew up in an ecumenical church and to see ecumenism happening in Taize on such a large scale was a real blessing. The music has also inspired me. One of my other memories of Greenbelt this year is sitting in front of the big screen, singing and praying with hundreds of people. It was beautiful.

The book is a biography, detailing much of the early life of the community and recounting some of the ecumenical journey they made, with a particular focus on Brother Roger’s role. Very easy to read and well worth it.

Still to read:
God’s Politics – can’t remember the author
Compassionate Community Work, Dave Andrews

If I stare at the screen any longer, my contact lenses will dry out completely.