Posts Tagged ‘reading’


Monday, 12 July 2010

My lovely DH has apparently got bored of waiting for me to start posting here again, and has decided to go into book-blogging for himself. He’s crafting his first (introductory) post as I type, but I suspect he’ll be interesting. He’s planning on discussing classic literature (in the original languages, where that’s relevant, although he’ll be blogging in English) and Golden Age science fiction.

I’ll let you know when we post about the same books, and hopefully this’ll inspire me to get back to discussing my own reading and crafting. After all, so far dating, engagement, marriage and now pregnancy (did I just admit that?! 😉 ) have been a major distraction from blogging and reading (and even from crafting, although somewhat less so, so it’s about time they started going the other way! Of course, the 2010 booklist is going to be (like last year) less populated than it should be, as I have lost track of some of the books I have read, but we’ll do what we can.

There is a backlog of crafty stuff to let you know about too – mostly crochet (of course!), but also a bit of patchwork/quilting. I’m actually thinking of getting a sewing machine and learning to use it…


Books unfinished

Friday, 30 October 2009

White tapestry crocheted bookmark holder, with a few bookmarks visible at the top.

I have to admit, the number of books I have listed as read, but haven’t yet reviewed here is a bit daunting, so I thought I’d make things a little less so by discussing some of the books I haven’t finished. Hopefully most of them will get added to the list and mentioned again reasonably soon…

This post will mention some crochet, though, since the bookmark holder I made yesterday would seem rather relevant! I’ve been playing around with Tapestry Crochet, with the leftover yarn from the sheep’s head I made for Rosh Hashana, since that is the only set of matching yarns with different colourways I have at the moment. I’ve been using the white as background and the variegated browns for the pattern, which works fine when the actual browns show. The ecru, though, is rather too similar to the white for full impact. The first thing I made so is a present, for someone who does read this blog occasionally, so I won’t show the pictures, but Ravelers can see it here.

What I made yesterday was for my DH, however, and he received it when he arrived home (about five minutes after I finished it), so I can show you that. I used a cross stitch writing tool from Stitchpoint, which I’ve mentioned on this blog before, but shouldn’t have chosen an italic font, since tapestry crochet adds to the slant, meaning that a non-italic font would have looked somewhat italic, and been far more legible. That and the clumps of ecru mean that my DH can’t actually read the text (having it all around the container doesn’t help either, but it was going to be far too tall done sideways), but he appreciates the item and its immediate value to us (he’s a bookworm too), so that’s okay!

I’ve never blocked acrylic (I’ve barely blocked anything), but if anyone has good ideas for how to make it stand straight I’d appreciate hearing them!

And now to the unfinished books (I would say the ones still with bookmarks in them, but I have the habit of leaving bookmarks in after I finish the book, so that would not be the correct category).

Jewishly, I’m reading Praying with Joy by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis, as well as Anshei Hayil: Volume 1 by Rabbi Haim Levy, both of which will hopefully help me improve my tefilla. I’m enjoying both in small sections at a time.

In print non-fiction, I’m reading The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, which I heard about when it came out, I think, but have never found before. Thankfully my lovely MIL gave it to my DH several years ago, so I get to read it now. It’s about the creating of the OED and two of the major players involved in the project. They were very different Victorian gentlemen, and it’s intriguing and apparently well-researched so far.

My DH and I are both reading a book my father gave him, What Did You Do Today, Professor?, edited by Eoin P. O’Neill, which is a collection of essays by TCD scientists about their research and what led them to this point, often with a particular emphasis on how mathematics is important to all the other sciences. It’s really interesting. I like learning about current research, and while this is written to be accessible to non-specialists, it isn’t dumbed down in the way some popular science is. I have to say I’m finding the Irish/Dublin/TCD references much easier than my DH, of course, but they aren’t stopping him enjoying the book.

The fiction is mostly audio at the moment, but I am occasionally dipping into Harry Potter agus on Órchloch (yes, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in Irish, by J. K. Rowling, of course) just to see if I can… I amn’t getting through it very fast, but then I think I know the original well enough that it’s not very fun to read slowly.

From Librivox I’m most of the way through Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë. I haven’t read this before, and am enjoying it. The protagonist seems very self aware, and though some of the other characters are somewhat one-dimensional, most of these are being pointed out as what happens when children are thoroughly spoilt. There are multiple readers, so far all (I think) women I’ve heard on other Librivox recordings, so obviously quality and pronunciations vary, but they’re mostly pretty good, and none had me wanting to turn the thing off.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the new recording of Dubliners by James Joyce. Part of the problem is just that I am a Dubliner, so it jars when placenames, intonations and phrasing are completely wrong in a series of short stories so specifically written to show the city and its people. I’ll admit I only listened to the first one-and-a-half stories, each read by a different (American) man, so the later readers might be better, but at the moment I’m severely tempted to just read the whole book myself for Librivox. Not that I could do all the accents for the different groups of Dubliners in the book, but at least I would know what the references were too. Perhaps I could do that in time for 2012, when the book will be out of copyright in the EU… (And no, I wasn’t in the EU when I downloaded or listened to this, and amn’t now. Copyright is important.)

Okay, I admit it, I’m a snob. It doesn’t bother me for very English or American fiction to be read by voices from all over the world, but it does when the voice should be a Dublin one, and isn’t. Still, it does help for any reader to check unfamiliar words for their pronunciation.

So that’s what I’m reading (or amn’t, but chose not to finish).

Subsuming the Centre

Sunday, 16 March 2008

I’m still trying to get my scanner do a camera’s job, and so this picture shows the new stitches around the edge of my game piece well enough, while scrunching the middle rather badly.

As you can see, I haven’t really learnt to do bullion stitches well. I need to practise those to get them even.

72. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

Wow. This did not turn out quite as I had come to expect it to, from osmosis of the story through the general culture, or even from the earlier chapters. The Creature is both greyer and more black and white morally than I had anticipated, and while Victor Frankenstein remains emotionally immature he does display slight glimmerings of empathy near the end. Unfortunately far too late, when harsher emotions have taken sway of him, but they are there.

I’ll admit to not anticipating that Mary Wollstonecraft‘s daughter would write all her female protagonists as sacrificial angels, but then she was a very young writer of her time.

I’ve been listening to this on Craftlit for the last few months, and I’m really pleased to have ‘read’ it this way, as I might not have got to it in print for another few years. In fact I’m reasonably likely to so far sooner now than I would have been otherwise. I don’t want to get into the arguments over whether listening to a book is the same as physically reading it. Suffice it to say that I believe this rather depends on the concentration one puts in. It is harder, but quite possible, to read a book without taking it in, just as one can allow an audiobook to just wash over one’s head. In any case, Heather’s commentary and extra information really helps my concentration on the audio files she plays.

If you haven’t come across Craftlit before, I heartily recommend it. Now is a good time to start, as having just finished Frankenstein, she is about to begin Little Women, although the older files are all available, and it is well worth finding the time to go back and listen to Pride and Prejudice, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Turn of the Screw, A Tale of Two Cities, Tristan and Isolde and the various shorter stories and pieces she podcasts between the longer novels. The audio files actually come from Librivox, so you can get them alone directly, but Heather‘s introductions and discussions really help me get more out of the experience (she was obviously a brilliant English Literature teacher), and her craft talk is interesting too. She also rerecords the occasional chapter that got through Librivox’ quality control undeservedly.