Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Finished Michael Ondajte's The Cat's Table and liked it. Good thing I started again from the beginning.

Ian Rankin's latest book about the Complaint's department, The Impossible Dead, 2011 was good too. He writes good mysteries with interesting characters and good plots.

Really liked the booker prize book by Julian Barnes, 2011, a first - I usually hate the Booker books.... The Sense of an Ending, 2011. It gets better and better as you read and by the end the characters are stuck in your head and you are wondering about them. How fallible we are.

Half way through a mystery by Laura Lippman, Baltimore Blues, The First Tess Monaghan Novel. I like that she talks about libraries and book stores.

Just started a really good book, main character has Alzheimer and her best friend was killed. Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, 2011. Really interesting to read.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good book

Anne Patchett's latest book, State of Wonder, 2011 is good. It was rough going for awhile as the characters were unappealing but by the end she's got you totally involved in all of them. The Amazon sounds overwhelming and too wet and hot and dangerous! It's a good story; the ethics of pharmacology, fertility, malaria, exploitation of people and places.

A fast but interesting read is the book written by a doctor, recommended by Abraham Verghese; Anatomy of a Kidnapping: A Doctor's Story by Steven Berk, 2011. He was taken at gunpoint from his home, and survived to tell the tale. It's well written - a good read.

and knitting, a present made:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

finishing things

Books and knitting...
finished reading the last Troy book, John Lawton's series following Frederick Troy. Sad to not have any more to read, I do like his writing. The last book was A Little White Death, written in 1998. It's set in the early 60's in London mostly. Troy seems to have survived TB, only barely. The plot meanders about, but he pulls it all together in the end and the characters are interesting.

Finished Graham Hurley's book about Joe Faraday's latest case: Borrowed Light, 2011. Set in Portsmouth UK, always interesting because his characters are flawed and believable. The plot doesn't really matter much, just a good mystery. He has a knack for ending his books as cliff hangers, good thing the next one is already in print.

Mitts finished


Also finished Charlotte Gray, 1999 by Sebastion Faulks and started his newer book, A Week in Decemberr, 2010. I do like the way he writes. Good storyteller; always my favourite. I'm glad I started reading his books.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

blanket and mitts

Kay Gardiner's Mitered Crosses Blanket so far. Love the pattern. I'm using left over and thrift shop sweater undone finds. Sock yarn doubled for a few squares.

and Kate Davies, mittens only I am making them fingerless


Stephen West scarf

Backlogged because I have not got the camera out to take pictures.
The baby sweater and booties were knit in September. I am working on 4 other things. Fingerless mitts, mitered square log cabin blanket almost finished. The bottom shawl is supposed to be Catkin but I am modifying it - did not like the way it was turning out. I do like the Stephen West scarf, Spectra - it just keeps getting left behind by other knitting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

unneverving book

Zoe Heller, What Was She Thinking; Notes on a Scandal, 2003. Narrated by a dreadful controlling woman who is telling the story of a total flake of another woman, there are no redeeming qualities in either of them and yet the book is compulsive reading. Or listening. It certainly is perceptive and well written but it's not a pleasant experience.

Bought this book yesterday, Spinning Wool, beyond the basics by Anne Field, 2010. It's a beautiful book that I've had from the library, hope it will help me learn to spin.

I did enjoy listening to Michael Robotham's first mystery, The Suspect, 2005. A detective, Joe O'Loughlin, really a London psychologist, loves his job and loves his family but he's got troubles; Parkinson's and someone trying to destroy his life. Good plot, good characters.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Good book, not-so-good book

The Sister Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, 2011, may be up for many awards but I sure didn't like it. Listened to most of it and finally gave up because I didn't find it interesting in any way. I don't get it.

But I listened to Trustee from the Toolroom, Nevil Shute's last book written in 1960 and loved it. Read it over 40 years ago so I knew the story but what a welcome relief after that other book.

Finished Old Flames so I started my last Frederick Troy book, A Little White Death, by John Lawton. Who knows when he wrote it. Early 2000s I think. The poor guy has TB now and is going crazy in a sanatorium in the early 60s. I like the way the plots meander around and you get this story, that story and finally things come together.

Also started Michael Ondaajte's latest book, The Cat's Table, 2011 and I like it so far.

And then the library book I loved, I thought it was a book for adults but it's not, it's for kids. Beautiful photos and a great story, in which the black Labrador's true worth is revealed. What's not to like? Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz, 2011.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Finally tripped on the summer book that I listened to and forgot, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson, 2011. With a title like that, no wonder I forgot. It was pretty good, if a bit long to listen to. An American ambassador in Berlin during Hitler's rise. Interested to read about Berlin as beautiful.

Listened to the first of Tess Geritsen's myteries this week, The Surgeon, because I've been watching the TV show. Book is too bloody and gruesome for me, I skipped over all the guts and blood parts. Don't think I'll read any more of her books. It's a good enough mystery, just too gory for me.

Just started The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, 2011. Not sure about it, but it seems alright so far. Set in 1851 right in the middle of the California gold rush, the story of two infamous brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters who set out on a mission by the commodore from Oregon City to apprehend and kill Hermann Kermit Warm.

Just about finished John Lawton's book, Old Flames, and it's very good. I do like his writing very much.

Just started a good memoir by Gail Caldwell, Let's Take the Long Way Home, 2011. She is writing about her friendship with Caroline Knapp - who wrote A Pack of Two - a book I bought a long time ago, because she was a drinker and a dog lover. This is a very good book.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Listened to Sing You Home, 2011, by Jodi Picoult and it was good. Long but entertaining but I hated the music tracks - it's offensive to have someone chose music for you. Infertility issues and who has rites to the embryos and gay and Christian rites all come into this book. I almost stopped because the born again stuff but persevered through it and it was worth it.

A New Culture of Learning, 2011, by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas is good. I'm reading it for work but by choice. Interesting stuff.

Robert Goddard writes great stories, his latest, Blood Count, 2011 has got a hold of me.

The Blue Light Project by Timothy Taylor, 2011 was good. Not as good as Stanley Park was, but still, pretty good. Interesting to read about city art and those people who use the city as trapeze props. Three main characters; Eve, a former Olympian, Rabbit, a street artist and Thom Pegg, a disgraced former investigative journalist are all interesting and believable. The hostage taking part is there for some reason but was not that interesting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


2 Kate Davies items:
Hat for Mum and sweater for me

Some books

Finished James Fitzgerald's book, What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest to Redeem the Past, 2010 and it was good. A bit long and very sad but interesting. He writes well about his grandfather, famous but forgotten because of his suicide and mental health problems.

Just listened to Sebatian Faulk's Birdsong, something I've been meaning to read for years. It is a very good book, what hell those trenches were in WWI. Good writer, good story. He starts it off so innocently in 1910, with English Stephen Wraysford living in France, entangling himself with the wife of his host. Then bam, into the trenches you go.

Started another John Lawton book and really like it. Old Flames, written in 1997. Troy gets to hang out with Nikita Khrushchev in 1956. Should be interesting.

The latest Kurt Wallander book, The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell was odd. Don't know if it's the translation or the book - but the characters seemed flat, especially Kurt and his daughter. It's good there will be no more.

Monday, August 1, 2011

good mystery

The Janus Stone: A Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths, 2010, second book of Norfolk set mysteries. Very likeable characters, Ruth puts up with no nonsense and gets into all kinds of trouble. The plot is a bit bizarre but the people are great.

Listened to another book en route to Victoria and back but cannot remember what it was!

read "There Are Things I Want You to Know" about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Barbrielsson, 2011. Not a great book, but interesting to read about their political life and life in Sweden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

sweetgeorgia socks and scarf progress

Scarf is nearly done:

Yarn from SweetGeorgia in Vancouver BC, for these socks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

good book, awful book

Start with the good book, The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell, 2011. Two stories that eventually come together set in London in the 50s and now. Good writer, realistic depictions of people and babies. Liked this book.

Listened to 9/10 of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and do not understand why anyone would like it. I kept hoping it would get better but have finally given up. Characters I don't care about, plot that does not engage, I don't care about the manipulations of time. Glad to have left it.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Atlantic and a mystery

Finished listening to Simon Winchester's Atlantic, 2011, read by Simon himself. Good to listen to, very interesting book but I needed the visual supports - the maps, the photos - of the places he was talking about. What an interesting life he has been having.

New-to-me mystery writer whose protagonist is named Ruth, so of course I like her. Elly Griffith is her pseudonym (her grandmother's name) and I did like the book: The Crossing Places: A Ruth Galloway Mystery, 2010. Archeology features in the wild saltmarshes of Norfolk’s north coast

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Two mysteries

The latest Jacqueline Winspear is good, A Lesson in Secrets, 2011. Like comfort food, good to return to familiar characters performing up to speed. Maisie Dobbs solves the problems as usual.

Listened to my first Craig Russell, Blood Eagle, 2005. Pretty grizzly, but a good mystery. I'll probably listen to more by him.

Just started listening to Atlantic by Simon Winchester, 2010. Interesting book. He's a good writer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

mediocre book, good book, new square

Night Work by Steve Hamilton, 2006, was very mediocre. Don't know whether it was because I hated the reader or if it was the book. More the reader I think. It read like a ho-hum cop show, barely kept my interest. Thank god it was short.

The good book is by Diane Ackerman, One Hundred Names for Love, 2011. A non-fiction book about her husband's, Paul West, stroke. He loses all language, and she is going to help to bring that back but I have not got that far. Interesting book.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A good book and a not-so-good book

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, 2011 is a very good book. It feels like you are inside the head of someone with left neglect. She writes well, researches well. A memorable book with a realisitic plot and good characters.

I gave up on Irma Voth - read 2/3 of it. Written by Miriam Toews in 2011, it just did not hold my interest. I liked her first two books; A Boy of Good Breeding and Summer of my Amazing Luck a lot, but didn't think much of the one that got all the attention; A Complicated Kindness. I really liked the book she wrote about her father, Swing Low. Irma Voth is just not engaging.

first square

Monday, May 23, 2011

a hat and some books

Hat designed by Kate Davies, of Needled. Love the pattern.

The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History by Jonathan Franzen, 2005, was interesting if a bit uneven. Beginning and ending are most interesting, middle a bit dull. He writes well. Interesting to read about his mother.

Finished listening to Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom, 2007. Sure wish that man used a more ruthless editor. It's a good mystery but too long, way too long. Set in London, Matthew Shardlake, the hunchbacked 16th-century attorney, returns in book 2 of a series. I'll probably read more, but read not listen so that I can skip bits.

Enjoyed Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, 2010. Easy to read, believable characters and a realistic ending.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friendly, Jerome, Rusty

ah, my childhood favs

It was posted on facebook, I had to copy it.

Just finished listening to John Lee reading John Banville's The Sea, 2006. My goodness, that man can write. Beautiful language. Not a happy-go-lucky writer though, it's pretty heavy going but it is a very good book. I may have to read it in print. Great reader but it goes by too fast.

finished Jane Urquhart's book too, Sanctuary Line, also a very good book. Very effective, the way she weaves memory, family, geography with the here and now.

And I'm almost finished another John Lawton book, Black Out. I do like this writer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poems as novel

Fishtailing by Wendy Philips, 2010 is a novel written in poems. The author is an English teacher in Richmond. Each character writes poems to create a sad but good story. She captures high school accurately. Very good book that stays with you.

Listened to Ian Rankin's The Complaints in my car even though I read it last year when it came out. I think I liked it better as an audiobook, or maybe it's just that enough time has gone by to separate more from Rebus and accept these new characters.

In the car right now is another mystery, translated from Swedish, Gallow's Bird by Camilla Lackberg, 2011. A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It's the first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede for detective Patrik Hedstrom and his colleagues. It's a good mystery, likable characters, entertaining plot with lots of twists.

Jane Urquhart's Sancutary Line is good so far. As Amazon says ""...The cultivated landscape of this farm has decayed so completely now, it is difficult to believe that the fields and orchards ever existed outside my own memories, my own imagination... ". With these opening lines Liz Crane, forty-year old entomologist and the central voice in Jane Urquhart's new, engrossing and most personal novel invites us into her world and into her mind. Having recently returned to the old Butler homestead and studying monarch butterfly behaviour at the nearby Sanctuary Research Centre, Liz feels she needs to reconnect with all that is familiar from the past."

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Valliant, 2010, is an excellent book. Well researched, interesting wanderings off on different topics but the main story is always there and keeps you reading. It's a story about an Amur tiger in the far east region of Russia, and how endagered they are. Very good book.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Video of John talking about the book

Listening to The King's Speech by Mark Logue, 2010, Lionel's grandson. Very interesting book, Lionel must have been quite a man, as was the king.

Just started and like The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu 2008. Main character runs a shop Washington, D.C. He's an Ethiopian immigran,t Stepha Stephanos regularly meets with fellow African immigrants Ken the Kenyan and Joe from the Congo. Their favorite game is matching African nations to coups and dictators, as they consider how their new immigrant expectations measure up to the reality of life in America after 17 years. It's going to be sad, I know, but it's well written..

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

not a good book

The Ape House by Sara Gruen, 2010, was a disappointment. Nothing much to like about it, the plot is far fetched, the characters a pain. I liked the apes. Hard to believe she wrote Water for Elephants, a book I liked very much. I would not recommend the Ape House to anyone. Her first book was dribble though so maybe she's a very inconsitent writer.

I am really enjoying This Book is Overdue though. Written by Marilyn Johnson, 2010, it's a non-fiction book about libraries and librarians as they have changed moving into the digital age. Brings out my wish-I-was-a-librarian urges again.

And I've started another John Lawton book. I do like this man - or likes the way her writes at any rate. Bluffing Mr. Churchill it's titled in the UK, not here. Riptide here, I think. The best part of his books is it doesn't matter what order you read them in. I like that.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Socks and mysteries

freeform cables

Favorite pattern

Just finished Michael Robotham's Bleed for Me, 2010. It was pretty good, but I didn't like his dog getting tortored and killed. Skipped through part of it, didn't hold my interest enough to read completely once the dog was knocked off.

But, I am really enjoying John Layton's Troy mysteries. Listened to Second Violin 2009, and am now reading the first in the series, Black Out, 1995. He jumps all over in time, so it does not matter where you start. I read his latest book first, A Lily of the Field. Like his sense of humour, his reference to growing leeks and potatoes, the music and musicians and his odd detective.
This site (his blog) lists the whole series.
Wikipedia gives an outline too
* Black Out (1995), ISBN 978-0670857678

The story begins during the last stages of the London Blitz in 1944. Troy is assigned to find out who's murdering German scientists who've been secretly smuggled out of Germany and into Britain. Later, Troy tracks his suspect to Berlin in 1948, during the Berlin Blockade. Along the way, he tangles with British and American spy agencies, a Russian spy and a British femme fatale.

* Old Flames (1996), ISBN 978-0871138644

Troy, because he speaks Russian, is assigned to guard Russian Secretary-General Krushchev, during his 1956 visit to Britain. Along with these duties, Troy investigates the death of an ex-navy diver during a curiously botched spy mission.

* A Little White Death (1998), ISBN 978-0753822616

The third Troy novel uses the historical events of the Profumo Affair and the Kim Philby spy scandal of the early 1960s as a jumping-off point for a fictionalized version in which Troy, now risen to Commander in Scotland Yard, discovers that an apparent suicide (of the fictional Stephen Ward-analog character) was really a murder. A second apparent suicide thickens the plot. Most of the historical characters get fictional equivalents, a few appear as themselves, and Christine Keeler becomes a pair of sisters. In the closing Historical Note, however, Lawton explains his historical inspirations and cautions that "This is not a roman à clef." Concurrent with the scandal/spy/murder plot, Lawton interleaves some cultural history on the beginnings of 'swinging London'. The novel's title is a double entendre, referring both to the pills used in the second suspicious suicide and to Troy's life-and-career-threatening battle against tuberculosis.

* Riptide (2001), ISBN 978-0297643456 (Published in the United States (2004) as Bluffing Mr. Churchill)

Lawton backtracks chronologically to the early days of World War II, before Black Out.

* Blue Rondo (2005) (Published in the United States as Flesh Wounds, ISBN 978-0871136985)

Set in the late 1950s.

* Second Violin (2007)[3], ISBN 978-0297851967

Another "prequel" to Black Out, this time back to 1938. The main protagonist this time is Frederick Troy's older brother Rod, working as a reporter for his father's newspaper. Rod travels to Vienna, just in time to witness Kristallnacht. Returning to Britain, he is sent to an internment camp on the Isle of Man because of his Austrian birth and failure to pursue naturalization. During the Battle of Britain, he is freed to become a fighter pilot. Meanwhile, brother Fred investigates the murders of several East End rabbis. The parallel stories eventually converge at the final denouement.

* A Lily of the Field (2010), ISBN 978-0802119568

This novel tells two linked stories, differing in tone and structure, but heading to the same conclusion. The first part, "Audacity", is set in the years 1934-46 in Europe, and has only the briefest mention of Frederick Troy. It is, essentially, the back-story to all that follows. The second part, "Austerity", set in London in 1948, is a more familiar Inspector Troy murder investigation, that, almost inevitably, spills over into Cold War espionage.[4]

Monday, January 31, 2011

John Lawton

Read A Lily in the Field by John Lawton, 2010, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Started reading it in paper from the library and then bought the Kindle version to finish it. Reading etext is becoming comfortable. I am now listening to Blue Rhondo in my car and like that format as well. Enjoyable books. I've ordered the first few of his books from ABE Books. They were cheap but the postage was not! I like this writer's sense of humour, mix of characters, the era he is writing about - WWII and the 50's leading into the 60's.

I'm nearly finished Annabel by Kathleen Winter, 2010. It's good. Hard to read about a character that nobody will tell the truth to, but it's a good book. What a nightmare it would be to be born a hermaphrodite.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finished listening to Ireland: a Novel by Frank Delaney, 2008. A very long book but easy to attend to, many different stories woven into a sort of main story line. He's a bit full of himself, this author, but he does write well and read well.

Enjoyed reading Dog Tags, by the dog-loving author David Rosenfelt, 2010. Entertaining mystery, not very deep but the dogs are good and the characters are likable enough.

In the middle of Matter with Morris, by David Bergen, 2010 and am not sure what I think of it. I'll finish it but it isn't great. Good writing but the main character is a pain so his reflections on life after the death of his son are not that interesting.

Monday, January 3, 2011


How could I have forgotten to post Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin, 2010? It's a good book. About a great dog. Well written.

from Amazon.ca
"In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ireland and mysteries

Finished Started Early, Took my Dog, Kate Atkinson's latest, and liked it very much. The mystery is really in the background, the characters make the book. She ends with my favorite Dickinson poem, Hope. The title is from another of her poems.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Read Mark Bilingham's latest as well, and liked it. From the Dead, 2010. Glad I read most of these before the TV series because my Thorne and TV's Thorne are not the same. It's a good mystery.

In the car, listening to Frank Delaney, 20087, Ireland: a novel, a rambling book of stories told by a story teller. It's good though, and the author is reading it and reading it well. This book is better listened to I think.

I am mostly finished and very much liking Ryan Knighton's latest book, C'mon Papa: Dispatches from a Dad in the Dark, 2010. He writes well, about becoming a new father as a blind person. It's a page turner - a good continuation of Cockyed. I hope he keeps writing.