Movable Type 3.2
July 31, 2008
Birthday Card! With Sheep!
My coworkers gave me this sort of knitting-related birthday card. And I pretty much think it is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Go read it. Really.
Booking Through Thursday: Endings
What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn't like but still remember simply because of the last line?
L.M. Montgomery is really good with endings. Here's Anne of Green Gables:
"'God's in his heaven, all's right with the world,'" whispered Anne softly.
And it's not necessarily the last sentence, but the last seven paragraphs of Anne of Avonlea give me chills every time I read them. Last sentence:
And over the river in purple durance the echoes bided their time.
And again, the last chapter of Anne of the Island. My favorite line isn't quite the last:
"I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU."
The only non-LMM that stands out in my mind (at the moment, at least) is A Tale of Two Cities:
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
They say it's your birthday...
I just had some fun with the July 31 page on Wikipedia, so now I can tell you that I share my birthday with...
1396 - Philip III, Duke of Burgundy
July 30, 2008
1. I kept thinking it was Wednesday all day yesterday. No. Now it is.
2. Tomorrow (July 31) is my birthday! Since I like a bit of a fuss to be made (although I do NOT like surprises), I figured I should actually, you know, tell people.
3. The Long Island bus and train maps are giving me a headache. Anyone have any experience with them? Basically, I'm trying to figure out the cheapest/best way to get from CT to Oakdale. I've figured out the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry, but then what?
4. What's wrong with just being nice? A coworker often talks about how she does things deliberately to annoy people or to be mean, and doesn't that just make her great? (Driving too aggressively and stealing/fighting over parking spaces were the topic today, but every time I talk to her she goes on about something in this vein. Unless she's not telling a story along the lines of "One time, I got so drunk that I did [xyz dumb thing] and doesn't that just make me the coolest person ever?" Anyway. Moving on.) I just... don't get it. I don't find these stories funny, and it really doesn't make me like her very much. I deliberately try NOT to annoy people (within reason, of course). I suppose that makes me horribly old-fashioned.
5. Remember how I've been reading Jane Eyre off and on for years? I'm finally almost done, and really really loving it, and oh MAN do I hate St. John Rivers right now! Just had to share.
6. The L.L. Bean fall home catalog came yesterday. Bliss! I'm very very ready for the weather to cool down.
7. I've been listening to a lot of medieval to baroque music recently, and I've discovered that I really really love Palestrina. And John Dunstaple. Who knew?
Daily Reading (7/30/08)
Cruise ship auctions: awfully shady. Um, never would have guessed!
A look at Obama as professor.
Controversy over New York's real birthdate.
Review: The Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani
The Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani
Priya, who grew up in India, agrees to an arranged marriage with an Indian-American named Sanjay. Soon she's living in LA with Sanjay and his parents - and her new mother-in-law makes her get a job, in addition to doing all the housework and cooking. As Priya advances in her career at an entertainment magazine (and tries to hide the true nature of her job from her family), she finds it harder to keep up with her two separate lives and eventually makes some changes. While I thought that several aspects of the plot were a bit too far-fetched, and while the ending seemed to wrap up too quickly and neatly, this was a good read and hard to put down - I read it in a day. It also provided an interesting look at Indian and Indian-American life.
Oooh, look at the fall Rowan!
Here's a preview of the fall Rowan magazine, which is the thirtieth anniversary issue and looks HUGE. And really really nice. As usual, I want to knit practically everything in it. (Thanks for the link, Chappysmom!)
July 29, 2008
Daily Reading (7/29/08)
Kafka's papers may finally be available to scholars.
A fascinating interactive Venn diagram of Bush administration criminals.
Vaughn Williams: A Composer Forever English
A profile of Kay Ryan, the new Poet Laureate.
The Booker Longlist is announced.
I sometimes reread the archives of favorite blogs - the way I'd reread a favorite book. Is this weird? Does anyone else do this?
New translation of Mass prayers
At Mass this morning, Father told us that new English translations of some of the prayers during Mass had been approved. They're closer to the Latin, which makes me happy. This article lists some of the changes and a little background. There's a Vatican radio program about it here. (I haven't had a chance to listen yet.) No word yet on when the changes will take effect, but I'm looking forward to it!
Recipe: Tofu Scramble Template
I read somewhere recently that scrambled is "the way tofu is meant to be," and I totally agree. It's so easy and yummy and versatile... I'm not even given you a real recipe here, because there are so many options. But here are the basic steps to follow:
1. Drain and press a block of firm tofu. Let it sit on paper towels for a little while to get as much water out as possible.
2. Heat up oil (olive, peanut, whatever) in a big skillet. Add garlic and/or onion if desired and cook.
3. Add 2-3 cups of vegetables, cut to be bite-sized. (Above, I've used broccoli, garlic scapes, and a variety of mini summer squash.) Cook them, stirring so they don't stick or burn, until they are a few minutes from ready. If you're using some particularly slow- or quick-cooking vegetables, add them in order of how long they take to cook so they're all ready at once.
4. Crumble in the tofu. Don't worry too much about the size of the pieces - I usually just crumble it in with my hands and use a wooden spoon to break up any too-large pieces. Add spices of your choice. (Above, I've used coriander, curry powder, and ginger... you could use basil and oregano if you have Italian-type vegetables, etc.) Stir it in and cook. Tofu doesn't really change appearance - you just need to make sure it's hot.
5. Remove from heat and toss in some cheese - again, whatever goes with your veggies and spices. (Above, I have crumbled goat cheese.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with rice, potatoes, other grains, pasta... Enjoy!
July 28, 2008
Help! Must Have Cardigan yardage?
Does anyone have the Must Have Cardigan pattern handy? I want to order the yarn but I forgot to bring the pattern with me. I'd like to know the yardage required for sizes from, say, 36" to 40 or 42". (Or the number of skeins of the called-for yarn, if that's easier.) Thanks!
Update: Got an answer on Ravelry. Yay!
Random Target Tip - Burt's Bees
I love Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion. Yeah, it says it's for babies, but I have sensitive skin and it works wonderfully. I go through a lot of it, so when I went to buy a new bottle of it at Target the other day, I was disappointed that the only ones in the general Burt's Bees section were quite small. I knew I'd gotten larger bottles there in the past, so I asked a Target employee. She suggested that I try the baby section - and there they were! Nice big bottles. Just a tip for anyone else who might be looking for this lotion.
What should I read about Ireland?
My aunt and I are planning a trip to Ireland in fall 2009, and I'm beyond excited. I'll be asking for actual travel suggestions soon enough, but my first question, of course, is about books. Since I have over a year to prepare for this trip, I'd like to do a bunch of reading to steep myself in the history, culture, and atmosphere. Help me compile my reading list! I'm open to pretty much anything - new or old; travel narratives, histories, theology, fiction, memoirs, poetry... whatever, as long as Ireland is somehow involved. What are your favorites?
July 27, 2008
Commitment to Loveliness, July 27
Joining the fun at Charming the Birds from the Trees...
1. Actually iron my clothes for the week.
July 26, 2008
Grocery Store - 7/23/08
Nasoya firm tofu
Yeah, that's all... not very interesting.
July 25, 2008
Daily Reading (7/25/08)
Remember how I was upset about the disappearance of slips? I'm not making it up. I still like them!
Profile of McCain strategist Steve Schmidt. Fun fact learned therein: Schmidt and David Plouffe dropped out of the same college.
Farm Stand - 7/23/08
(Sorry for the messy kitchen in the background!)
Online Daily Devotion and Prayer Links
I always think that it would be nice to read from a devotional each morning, but I never seem to manage to fit it properly into my morning schedule - I'm always too distracted, and NPR is on, and I'm trying to make lunch, etc. So this morning I thought I'd look for some online versions that could be read in a few minutes before starting the work day. I thought I'd share the ones I liked, in case they could be of use to anyone else. (Note: Most of these are from Catholic sites, and might or might not be of interest to non-Catholics.)
Daily Mass Readings (from the US Council of Catholic Bishops)
July 24, 2008
Daily Reading (7/24/08)
The Times has an interesting look at the generational shift going on among college professors.
New Zealand court blocks bad names. Good for them!
Sullivan has the full text of Obama's Berlin speech, if you're curious.
Apparently it's a new trend for brides to "treat" the wedding party to various cosmetic procedures to make them look better in wedding pictures. Um, ew. Tacky.
Booking Through Thursday: Beginnings
What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?
Well, of course, there's the classic from Pride and Prejudice:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
And I've always adored the (very long) first sentence of Anne of Green Gables:
Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies' eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde's Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde's door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.
Farmer's Market and Farm Stand - 07/18/08
Fall Previews - Interweave and Vogue Knitting
Yay, it's a sign that summer must end sometime - the fall knitting magazine previews are here!
Here's Interweave. On first glance, my favorites are the Dumpling Bags, Knotty or Knice Socks, Fresco Fair Isle Mitts, Sidelines Top, Estes Vest, Neapolitan Cardigan, Whisper Stripe Pullover, Abigail Tee, Winter Twilight Mitts, and... well, I really like pretty much everything. But those are the ones that particularly jumped out at me. Wheee! I love Interweave, and it looks like this issue will not disappoint. I'm looking forward to the Kate Gilbert feature too.
And here's Vogue Knitting. Wow, it's looking surprisingly wearable this season. I find Vogue to be sort of hit or miss in the "high fashion vs. things I'd actually want to knit and wear" department, but this issue looks great. Unfortunately, they don't give names for all the designs, so it's harder to point out my favorites. Let's see... the ones I want to knit NOW are:
Almost time to start haunting the bookstores to find all these nice fall issues...
Knitty Summer Extras!
Yay, they're up!
July 23, 2008
Look, I crocheted something!
I recently decided that I had to learn to crochet. Well, I knew the basic crochet stitches, so what I guess I had to learn was how to read crochet patterns. Anyway, here's my first attempt:
Isn't it cute? I'm very proud of myself. It will be flying off to a friend's new baby.
Farmer's Market - 7/17/08
Defining My Terms
As part of my new experiment in eating locally, I am planning to post pictures of my groceries as I buy them, sort of inspired by Hungry Planet, which has fascinating photo essays of families from around the world and their food for a typical week. With each picture, I will list the foods, in the following categories. (And the order given here is roughly my order of preference when shopping.)
Local: Main ingredients are grown within about 100 miles of me. I'm not going to go crazy worrying about where minor ingredients (like the salt in butter, say, or the packaging materials) are from.
Almost Local: Like local, but from a larger area - all of New England, and maybe some of the closer parts of New York state.
Semi-Local: Packaged and distributed by a local company, but the ingredients aren't necessarily local. (For example, Will 'n Rose's is a local company that sells great grains, but their grains aren't actually grown here. Because no grain is grown here.) I figure this is still better than non-local, because there's less movement of the food, and it supports local businesses.
Organic: Things that are labeled that way, more or less.
Natural: Again, things that are labeled that way.
Unprocessed: Not necessarily organic or natural, but at least a "whole" food - most produce would fall into this category.
Processed: Pretty much everything else. :)
And again, these are just the categories in my head. I am by no means saying that anyone else should use them, or that anyone else should prioritize the way I do.
July 22, 2008
Daily Reading (7/22/08)
Times Magazine preview: a slideshow of young women in the FLDS
The percentage of farmers who are female is increasing. Here are some profiles.
The Eat Local Challenge
This week, I am participating in the Eat Local Challenge over at The Mighty Appetite. The goal for this week is to eat at least 10 foods from within 100 miles of home. This is the perfect time of year to start something like this, of course, since there are plenty of farm stands and farmer's markets selling all sorts of produce. I am hoping to continue trying to eat as locally as possible even after the challenge ends, but I know it will be a lot harder in the winter, because nothing grows in New Hampshire in the winter. I'm hoping to preserve some things to last me into the cold weather, but we'll see how it goes.
The other hard part: there doesn't seem to be any local grain. I can find dairy and fruit and veggies with no problem, but no grains. Not even cornmeal, which seems odd given the large amount of local corn. So if anyone has any leads on anyone selling grain grown in New England, please let me know. For now, I'm going with "semi-local" - grains distributed by companies based locally, but not actually grown here. I figure it's better than nothing.
Review: Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
As I mentioned in my recent review of Bones to Ashes, I decided to go back to the beginning and read this series in order. Since I had read the first one last year, I started with this, the second. It was a great read. As usual, Temperance Brennan investigates several murder cases, and some of them are connected but some aren't - a feature I enjoy, because everything can't be connected all the time. This one was mostly set in North Carolina, but there were some nice Canadian winter scenes. The main mystery revolves around murders connected to a new religious movement, and there's some interesting stuff about cults, etc. There's also some nice supporting material about Brennan's daughter and Brennan's long, drawn-out semi-relationship with Detective Andrew Ryan, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that develops over the course of the series. My one main problem with the book was that it seems unlikely that there are so many cases that have ties to both of Brennan's homes (Montreal and North Carolina), so I'm hoping that later books in the series focus on one or the other.
July 21, 2008
Daily Reading (7/21/08)
Skyy comes out with red and blue cocktails named after the candidates. Hey, I guess that would make it easier to figure out who you want to talk to at the martini bar...
Here's the full list of Starbucks that are closing. Only one in NH, and it's not one of the ones I frequent. Yay!
The Post has a very interesting series going about the Chandra Levy investigation.
I love the rain.
People tend not to believe me when I say this, but I really hate hot weather, and I'm not always so big on the sun, either. Well, I guess I like the sun when it's cool out. Anyway. During the summer, I really prefer rain much of the time. Sure, it can be annoying to get all wet and such, but summer rain is so pretty and refreshing. And the sound of rain is one of the most wonderful sounds on earth. One of the few great points of my cubicle is that it's near a skylight, and I can hear the rain drumming on it right now. Aaaah.
(Yes, I have already started checking weather.com's 10-Day Forecast just in case it shows "when it will start cooling off." You know, for the fall. Yes, it's July. Even in New Hampshire, it doesn't get cool that early in the year. I'm pathetic.)
Recipe: Simple Panzanella for One
I'd heard about panzanella - bread and tomato salad - from friends, but never tried it before. And then one evening I found myself with some old bread, tomatoes that were almost past ripe, and no time to cook. I looked up a bunch of recipes, but they all wanted me to do weird, time-consuming things like soak the break in ice water (um, ew?) or strain the tomatoes or... etc. So I just gleaned the basic idea and made a really quick version, and it was delicious! And if you have a toaster oven, you don't even need to turn on the real oven - always a plus in the summer.
2 slices Italian (or other) bread - stale is fine
1. Toast bread, then spread each slice with minced garlic and toast again. Let cool.
July 20, 2008
Remember a while ago when I was trying to figure out where my camera battery charger could have gone? Well, now, unpacking from another weekend trip, I found it in my laptop case! Yay! With it was another power cord that I recognize but can't quite place... hmm. So next time I'm looking for the power cord for something, tell me to look in my laptop case. :)
July 17, 2008
Daily Reading (7/17/08)
In the "things that make perfect sense but had never really occurred to me" category: bad US economy -> less new construction -> less money sent to Mexico -> bad effects on Mexican economy.
Is Google making us stupid? (Personally, I don't think so, although I do think that the Internet is encouraging different methods and types of thought, and that if we want to keep up, say, the ability to read long books, we need to make a practice of reading long books.)
Booking Through Thursday: Vacation Spots
Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?
Yes! Of course I do. (I try not to buy too many books on vacation, because they are rather heavy in the suitcase.) I especially like to shop at used bookstores while away, because there are better odds there of finding something new and different - rather than a new bookstore with the same books as my local chains.
That said, my favorite vacation bookstore is the Borders near my grandparents' house in Florida. My dad and I have been going there each time we visit them for years. It's sort of our thing now. My other favorite is Half Price Books in Texas, when I visit Aishy. It's a magical, magical place, and I really want them to open one near me. And, of course, I have many fond memories of used bookstores in all sorts of places, including Lake George, NY, Williamsburg, VA, London, Ferrara...
Yummy Sandwich from Aspirations
On Wednesdays, the women in my department go out to lunch together. Yesterday, we went to one of my favorite local places, Aspirations Bistro. Why is it my favorite? Just take a look at this sandwich:
YUM. Tomato, fresh mozzarella, tons of basil, oil and vinegar, all on a multigrain asiago roll, with a pickle on the side. It's like everything I like in the world, all on one plate.
July 16, 2008
Daily Reading (7/16/08)
Long profile of Mark Salter, McCain's speechwriter
Have you ever wondered whether harvesting corks for wine bottles is bad for the environment? Maybe it's the other way around.
I am all astonishment.*
Given the sheer quantity and variety of tea that I have both at work and at home, I am completely amazed by how frequently I simply don't have the tea that I want. Either I don't have it at all, or it's at home and I'm at work, or vice versa. This morning, the issue is decaf black tea, either plain or Earl Grey. Apparently I have no such thing at work, and I'm kind of stunned, because I have about fourteen types of tea in my cubicle. I wound up with decaf Constant Comment, even though I don't really even like Constant Comment that much anymore. I think it's time for an Adagio order...
* Bonus points to whomever gets the quote!
July 15, 2008
I've finally gone ahead and made the big switch from Bloglines to Google Reader as my RSS reader of choice. So far, I'm seeing a few definite advantages that Google has: It doesn't stop aggregating after 200 unread posts in a given feed, which was my main problem with Bloglines. And it lets you mark posts as read manually, rather than marking all posts from a given feed as read when you open the feed. So there's no more having to decide whether you have time to read all 175 things Andrew Sullivan has posted in the last day - you can read a few posts from anyone, and then move on to someone else, and the rest are still there nicely marked as unread when you go back. I realize that these things might not bother the less obsessive and methodical among you, but believe me, not being able to easily keep track of what I've read and not read DRIVES ME CRAZY.
I'm finding the interface to be a little clunkier than that of Bloglines, but I hope I'll get used to it soon. And the above good qualities more than make up for a clumsy interface, I think. So. Any of you use Google Reader? Have any good tips or tricks to share?
July 14, 2008
Socks for Seeley, done!
On the show Bones, David Boreanaz's character Seeley Booth is known for wearing interesting socks. So it was only logical that a group of us over on the Bones discussion board on Ravelry decided that he needed some hand knits. One person contacted his agent and arranged for us to send him a box of socks. We're hoping that some of them end up on the show! I really like the way these came out, but they took forever because they are so much bigger than the socks I usually knit (for myself, mostly). I kept thinking I was almost done, and then they kept going on and on. I'm so glad that they are done and I can work on some other things now!
July 13, 2008
Faux-Recipe: Mini Corn Chocolate Chip Muffins
Question: What do you do when someone invites you to their house for breakfast, but you get the invitation at 1 am and have to leave for breakfast at 8? Additional complications: you don't know how many people will be there, and you're not in your own kitchen.
Answer: Make mini muffins, of course!
I just found a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix in my mom's pantry and prepared the batter according to the instructions on the box. Instead of making six regular-sized muffins, I make 24 mini muffins, which took care of the "don't know how many people are there" issues. Plus, anything "mini" is automatically cuter and more impressive. Before I put them in the oven, I placed about three chocolate chips on the top of each one, and then baked them at 400 until they were golden brown. Put them in a basket with a brightly colored cloth, and voila! A perfectly respectable breakfast contribution.
July 11, 2008
Daily Reading (7/11/08)
You've probably noticed that I've mostly stopped with the daily politics links, mostly because the primaries are over and there's not all that much going on right now. So I think I'm going to transition that into a "Daily Reading" post, with suggested links on politics as well as whatever other subjects have caught my interest that day. I think it's a nice way of sharing a bunch of links without tons of one-line posts. Yes? No? Let me know.
A list of the Top 10 Flawed Romantic Heroines. Now I want to read most of those. And reread Possession. Mmm. What a great book.
A fantasy all-media administration. Hee.
A nice mosaic of lots and lots of Obama magazine covers.
Wait. Did John McCain really just realize how Social Security works?
The Times goes on a quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. It's making me hungry.
Free Slurpee Day!
It's 7/11 today, which means... Free Slurpee Day! Yay!
Recipe: Not-Spicy Fruit Salsa
Last weekend, I decided to bring tortilla chips and a few dips to a friend's house. A few of the people present really don't like spicy things, so my challenge was to make a salsa that was flavorful but not at all spicy. Here's what I ended up with...
Not-Spicy Fruit Salsa
(Adapted from the Peach Melon Tomato Salsa recipe in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food - which is, by the way, an amazing cookbook.)
1. Chop peach, canteloupe, tomato, and pepper into very small, approximately uniform pieces. Dump them all in a mixing bowl and stir.
2. Add lime juice and oil oil, and stir so that all the fruit and veggies are coated.
3. Chop the dill, and add it and the mint. Stir well.
4. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Enjoy!
* This would also probably be great with fresh mint, but my grocery store was all out.
July 10, 2008
Booking Through Thursday: Doomsday
What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?
My main book source is my public library, and honestly, yeah, I'd just go to the library in the next town instead. Since I've been to my new town's library all of twice so far (third visit planned for tonight), it really wouldn't be very traumatic. The more traumatic thing would be if all the public libraries closed. That would be awful. I guess what I'd do in that case would be to either try to organize a lending library with my friends, or to start some sort of subscription library that I ran basically like a public library, but people paid a small fee to participate.
Why can't the whole summer be like this?
I hate hot weather. Hate hate hate. Well, okay, I might like a few really hot days in the course of the summer, if I could pick which days they would be, and schedule them for a beach trip or something. But in general... blech. I'm so much more of a fall/winter person, and I'd be happy if the temperature never got above eighty. This summer, though, has seemed particularly hot, so I've been miserable.
But we finally got some decent storms last night, and the heat broke, and this morning it was in the 70s and sunny, but not humid. Crisp, almost. Breezy. I drove to work with the windows open, with a big mug of Irish Breakfast tea and some nice Debussy on the radio. Heaven.
(How long until fall?)
July 09, 2008
Random Poetry Interlude
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
(From "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". Yes, I just ate a peach for my afternoon snack; I think of this poem every time I eat one.)
July 08, 2008
Review: Karen Stern Original Wristlet
I love love love my GoKnit pouch, and I carry it around pretty much all the time. Soon after getting it, I realized that what would really make it perfect would be a smaller zippered pouch to carry within it, for small notions and accessories. Soon after, I found this adorable wristlet from Karen Stern Original at a craft fair, and it fit the bill perfectly. (Disclaimer: Karen is a friend of my cousin, and I've met her a few times, so I'm not a totally unbiased stranger.)
Isn't it cute? She had a whole bunch of great fabrics, so it was very hard to choose, but this was the most unusual one, and I'm very happy with it.
With Dewey, for scale:
And here it is open, so you can see all the pockets and how much it fits:
Mine is currently holding, in the four interior pockets:
A plastic packet of stitch holders
And in the main section:
Two index cards of pattern notes
And it's not by any means full - it holds a lot in a very compact way. I love it!
July 03, 2008
I grabbed this from Rachel. And with some of them, I couldn't really see how the search result had anything to do with what I entered, but I picked my favorite picture anyway.
How it's done:
* Answer each of the questions below.
Here are the questions:
1. What is your first name?
1. Katherine Cove
July 02, 2008
Review: The Sewing Machine Guide by John Giordano
The Sewing Machine Guide by John Giordano
I am thinking about buying a sewing machine (advice welcome!), so this book's subtitle of "Tips on Choosing, Buying, and Refurbishing" made me very hopeful that it would be a good resource to help me through the process. It wasn't. Somewhat inexplicably, I thought, the book was written only for people who already had at least one sewing machine and were considering buying a new one. I guess that's a pretty big market, but it seemed weird that first-time buyers were not even mentioned. Giordano assumes that his readers know a lot about sewing machines and nothing about computers, so much of the book is devoted to explaining this newfangled computerized stuff that machines have these days. But my problem is the opposite - I know a fair amount about computers, but next to nothing about sewing machines. So I guess what I'm saying is that this book isn't necessarily bad, but I was not its proper audience, and I didn't think the target audience was properly telegraphed by the title/cover/etc. There were also a few general life philosophy-type statements that the author assumed all his readers agreed with that bothered me, but of course at the moment I can't remember any examples. Something about his attitude toward the use of leisure time and/or money. Yeah, I know, that's very specific and helpful of me. Oh, and he also pretty much said that if you don't have $1000 to spend on a machine, just don't bother, so that was disheartening (and, I'm hoping, not quite true?), since I can't spend that much right now.
Review: Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
Kathy Reichs is the inspiration for (and one of the producers of) the show Bones, about a forensic anthropologist who works with the FBI solving crimes. Since I love the show, I picked up the first in the book series last year. It was fine, but I wasn't thrilled with it - possibly just because it was so different from the show. But a few days ago, I was at an airport shop looking for something to read, and the most recent Kathy Reichs seemed like the best among the (very limited) options. And I'm so glad I picked it up, because I loved this one! I liked the main character, Temperance Brennan, much better in this installment, although that is probably partially because I had had some time to get over the fact that the character in the book is completely different from the character on the show. Brennan is working with the police department in Montreal when an officer brings her bones that just might belong to her childhood friend who went missing forty or so years before. At the same time, her sometime lover Ryan (also a detective) enlists her help with a string of murders of teenage girls. A few other cases are involved as well, and there are various subplots involving Brennan's friends and family. The book also provide an interesting glimpse into traditional Acadian culture. The plot is quite complex, and it's definitely a page-turner. I thought the major flaw in the book was that one of the big twists at the end seemed pretty obvious way before the characters realized it, and I got frustrated that they were being so dense. Other than that, though, I loved it, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
As you can see from my rating, I love love loved this book. I am a Sarah Dessen fan in general, but I think this was one of her best. It's the story of Annabel, who finds her life falling apart after a traumatic incident that she finds she can't talk about. She tries to hold herself and her family together by denying her feelings and acting as though everything is fine. But then she meets Owen, a well-known "bad boy" who always tells the truth, and finds that she can't keep all her secrets any longer. As with most of Dessen's novels, Annabel's story combines personal growth, family issues, and a great love story. Owen is passionate about music, and his attempts to widen Annabel's musical horizons provide an interesting element to the story. Dessen writes great complex male leads, and Owen is no exception. The secondary characters are unusually well-drawn in this one, too, and Dessen has several characters and locations from her previous novel make cameos in this one. My only issue with the book was that I thought Annabel's big secret was a little too obvious from the beginning. But all in all, it was a great read.
July 01, 2008
What's on Obama's iPod?