Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Extraordinary Canadians Lucy Maud Montgomery by Jane Urquhart 2009. Thoughtful book - well written. Interesting discussion of women writers, how they were dismissed as not real writers. Makes you want to go back and read all the books again.

Midnight Fugue by Reginald Hill, 2009. First books I've read by him, the TV series is certainly true to the books. It was good.

Listening to Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery in the car, by Spencer Quinn 2009 although that is a pseudonym. Very funny mystery, the dog is the narrator and he is a pretty goofy dog.

Started Beijing Coma by Ma Jian, 2009. Serious book. Well written, but may be too bleak to finish.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Blue Shawl is done

My first, and maybe last?, attempt at a shawl.

click on image to see larger view

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason, 2009. Good mystery. Indridason is an Icelandic writer of crime fiction, this is book number 6 of a series with Erlendur – the detective.

The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin, 2009. Very interesting book, well written, he tells the story of the six suites composed for cello by J.S. Bach in the early 1700s. It's part history, part investigation, all music.

Just started Margaret Drabble's interesting book, The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History with Jigsaws 2009. I like it so far.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a book thief, some spies, and a piano teacher

The man who loved books too much : the true story of a thief, a detective, and a world of literary obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett, 2009. Very interesting - the story of a book thief who has absolutely no conscience and cons hard working book sellers out of expensive books.

Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz, 2008. A 14 year old, Alex Ryder, who keeps getting hired by MI 6 and plunged into extraordinary situations. Entertaining. Horowitz wrote Collision, recently on Masterpiece Mystery, and Foyle's War. Interesting combination of things to have written.

The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee, 2009. Set in Hong Kong during and after WW II, alternates between the two time periods. Good story, interesting to read about era.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The boy in the moon : a father's search for his disabled son by Ian Brown, 2009. An excellent book, very well written. A page turner really as he looks at ethics and money and humanity and through it all, how much he loves his boy.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 2007. Listening to this in the car. It's good, but he wears thin sometimes. He explores his Indianness, set near Spokane. Partly autobiographical.

Goldengrove, by Francine Prose, 2008. Good book, main character Niko surviving the death of her sister Margaret. Beautiful poem unlies the plot.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) from Spring and Fall
to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


The Kindness of Women, 1993, by J.G. Ballard. Interesting, semi-autobiographical, about his life in England post-war. A good writer. Starts with him still in the POW camp outside Shanghai and ends with the making of the movie about that time, Empire of the Sun.

Justin Cartright's To Heaven by Water, 2009. Half way through and I think I like it. Finished it and liked it a lot. I like his writing, like the words he uses. Liked the characters too.

Am enjoying Mark Billingham's latest Thorne mystery; Blood Line, 2009.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Exit Orange and Red by Martyn Bedford, a novel about the steel manufacturing process in the UK, a huge mall, unions, journalism. Pretty good. 1997. I bought this second hand from the UK, must have been one of Nick Hornby's recommendations.

Listened to A Big Little Life: A Memoir Of A Joyful Dog by Dean Koontz in the car. A golden retriever, a CCI dog, she sounds like a very well behaved creature and much loved dog. She had a bath once a week! Rebus gets a bath twice a year. Oh well.

The Anthologist continues to be really good. And I started The Kindness of Women, 1993, by J.G Ballard and it is very good. It is the sequel to his autobiographical Empire of the Sun.

Friday, October 2, 2009

September knitting

my favourite sock pattern so far. Green socks.

Some colourful socks

The blue blob gets slowly bigger..

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Your Sad Eyes And Unforgettable Mouth by Edeet Ravel, 2008. It's good, but not as good as the Tel Aviv Trilogy she wrote; 1. Ten Thousand Lovers (2003), 2. Look for Me (2004) 3. A Wall of Light. They were really good.

I've started 2666 by Roberto Bolano, 2008 for the second time. This time it is the huge CD version. I keep thinking about giving up but it is a good book.

Listened to Open Arms by Marina Endicott and it felt incomplete - unfinished and with things missing.

just started The Anthologist: A Novel by Nicholson Baker 2009 and I really like it.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Finally got back to The Likeness by Tana French and thought it was a good engrossing mystery. Perfect escape book. Now in the middle of The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Too bad he died, but sure glad he left the three books he wrote. This one is helping to keep the looming school year out of my head.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Knitting - socks and mitts

New mitts for Mum. Beautiful wool bought at Cumberland yarn store.

Blue socks finished. Mocha likes them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I am enjoying Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris, a literary mystery set in Saudi Arabia. Palestinian Nayir al-Sharqi investigates the death of Nouf with the help of Katya who works in the women's section of the state medical examiner's office. Interesting to read about women who are so restricted and controlled by a male religious state.

Also really like Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. I have put off reading this because I liked Three Day Road so much, but this book is also very good.

Gave up on a couple of audio books. One was boring - a mystery - and the other (Kyra) I could not stand the reader.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
She captures high school well, telling the tale of a shooting spree that took 19 minutes. Very sad but worth reading.

Dirt Music by Tim Winton written in 2002 is another good book. He writes well about people and Australia.

and a mystery, Redbrest by Jo Nesbo, Norwegian writer. It's pretty good, but not great.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New sock, a shawl and some spinning

Blue socks - with sock yarn that I dyed.

The beginning of a shawl, which will one day hopefully look like this

The first balls of wool. Progress is still slow, but the wheel is good.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

excellent book

Breath, by Tim Winton, an Aussie writer. Very good writer, why have I not read him before? Breath is not a long book but it is a great novel.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The new spinning wheel and latest socks

bought at Birkeland Wool, an Ashford Kiwi - Single Drive - Natural. Progress is slow.

the latest pair of socks. That same wonderful wool/alpaca/nylon from KnitPicks

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good book

Murder In Amsterdam by Ian Buruma, 2007 is an excellent book, very well written. He takes a comprehensive look at what was going on around Theo van Gogh in 2004 (shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street by a young Moroccan radical)

Buruma returned to the Netherlands to write this book, after 30 years of working away. His parents were English (German/Jewish) and Dutch. His perspective is interesting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill, 2009 Memoir of an old woman, 89. Interesting, she was an editor until she was 75. She likes dogs too.

Skim Mariko Tamaki, 2009, novel, Canadian, graphic novel, about a 16 year old girl. Pretty good. Not wild about graphic novels but this one is well done.

In the car, Nineteen Minutes. Many CDs, not sure I'm going to make it all the way through. On CD # 6 now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sweater finished

odd sweater, but maybe odd enough to be o.k.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Really enjoyed Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder, an Australian journalist.

in the middle of A Thousand years of good prayers : stories by Yiyun Li and am liking it.

also in the middle of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

and one of Henning Mankell's Walander mysteries, The White Lioness

summer 09 knitting

I finished my first pair of toe up socks. Loved the wool, bought at KnitPicks

I am running out of wool for my hand dyed sweater :-(

Thursday, June 18, 2009

sweater, a sock and some mitts

Back of hand-dyed wool sweater

mitts for Robin

first toe up sock, for practice

Saturday, May 30, 2009


What's on the needles now:

Vest using KnitPicks pattern

my mitts made of purple wool.

Robin's mitts made from recycled wool from her sweater

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What I am reading now

Four or five books at a time, as usual;

Archimedes Codex by Reviel Netz and William Noel. Wikipedia entry on the Archimedes Palimpsest

The Dead Hour by Denise Mina

Shakespeare wrote for money by Nick Hornby

Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance by Ian Burumba

The thing about life is that one day you'll be dead by David Shields

and in the car, on the CD player:

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Berlin Noir trilogy by Philip Kerr - his earlier trilogy about Bernhard Gunther

* March Violets. London: Viking, 1989. ISBN 0-670-82431-3
* The Pale Criminal. London: Viking, 1990. ISBN 0-670-82433-X
* A German Requiem. London: Viking, 1991. ISBN 0-670-83516-1