Month: May 2007

Do you read e-Books? – Not really. I have a few on the computer, and I’m a big proponent of Gutenberg, Google and books digitization. I even wrote a paper about it, but I don’t generally read them.

If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA? – When I do, it’s on my laptop computer.

Or are you a paper purist? Why? – I love the feel of a good book between my hands. Nothing like a crisp, fairly unread new book smell and curling up with it. Also, even though I’m on the computer a lot reading for everything else. I feel most of my real reading should be offline.



 On your left, is the two balls of Wendy Merino DK that I bought an hour ago, and on your right is The Bane of My Existence: a tangled mess of the Misti Alpaca Lace that I posted about buying in this post. I starting putting it in a centre pull ball using the toilet paper roll method, but let’s be honest, I have never had to use a reshape a hank of yarn, and something went awry. It just got steadily worse. I believe I am a patient person, but I don’t think I can untangle all this yarn; there’s 400m in a hank and I doubt I’ve gotten far at all. I think I’m going to give up and just shell out for another hank, probably in another colour because I feel the pink was bad luck. I’m going to buy it this weekend with the needles, and roll it in the store under the supervision of knitters far advanced than me.

The Wendy Merino is for a project I am going to cast on fairly soon, this weekend probably. I’ll post more about it when I do. I also bought US3/3.0mm 16″ circs and DPNS today for other projects. I know, I’ve basically planned out five (almost six) projects until the winter! Well, at least none of them are scarves.

Dewey has a fun blogroll game going on.

Here is my reading list for the Summer Reading Challenge (June 1- August 1). Almost all of it is young adult or children’s lit which is funny and also will give me a slightly high chance of actually finishing the challenge.

  1. The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman
  2. The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  4. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  5. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  6. Rereading: Harry Potter Books 1-6 by J. K. Rowling for the HP Read Along
  7. Rereading: Twelth Night by William Shakespeare

In other book news, I have read little because I have been distracted by dreaming about future knitting patterns. I will read today. Yes, I shall.

New stash

Here I am spending money again on yarn. One of my LYSs is having a clearance sale on Meilweneit Cotton sock yarn (45% cotton, 42% wool, 13% nylon) at 50% off so I bought a skein of the Spirit (knits wide stripes) yesterday. Who doesn’t like good, discounted sock yarn on sale? As for the Misti Alpaca Lace (100% baby alpaca), I bought that today because I was  inspired this morning to start Swallowtail Shawl, I even joined the knitalong! The fact that it only requires one hank (must do centre-pull ball soon) and is affordable yet luxurious yarn sealed the deal. I got it in pink because I wanted a shawl on the pastel side and my wardrobe lacks the colour. I don’t know if it’ll be the best colour on me, but the woman at the LYS did say I could make just make another one. Will get the #4/3.5mm for it soon at the other LYS, but probably won’t start project for awhile. It’ll probably take some time to do since it’ll be my first lace shawl.

The socks are going very slowly as they should, but I had to recast on them a couple times. I’m very glad I got bamboo needles for them because they would have been slipping so much.

I actually have a lot of things to do offline and online this week which I’m not really looking forward to.

River Boating on flickr

My trip from the wilderness (cottage country) allocated me some wonderful souvenirs: big, itchy bug bites! I always seem particularly susceptible, and I don’t own bug spray since I don’t go to the country too much.  I’m one of those people that bugs seem to be love to consume because even with a few people around me, I am the one that receives the most ugly of bites. I’m treating them with aloe vera and Asian Tiger balm. Other than the bites, we had a nice lazy day in which my friend and I planned to read, but ended up wading in water and watching My Best Friend’s Wedding very briefly.

My plans to knit and read these last couple of days have been thwarted. I haven’t exercised either. It’s been particular hot and humid. Tomorrow, I’m getting up bright and early for an annual garage sale to catch some deals.  I’ll cast on Monkey socks tonight. I am pretty sure I can do everything; the only thing I am worried about is the gusset.

Here’s a book meme that I found from Dewey:

“You simply have to grab the book nearest to you (no cheating here), turn to page 161, and post the text of the fifth full sentence on the page along with the body of the instruction on your blog. Then you tag 3 people.”

I haven’t started this book, but I will soon because it’s due next Friday. From Death by Black Hole by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

Glowing objects, like stars, come in three basic colors: red, white, and blue–a cosmic fact that would have pleased the founding fathers.

Heh. I’d be more amused if I was American, and it was weird for me to write the “color” because I am a staunch Queen’s English speller of “colour”. That’s for another post about my language idiosyncrasies.

Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them? – BTT

Personally, I own one or two French books from my Immersion days. I do read at least one French book a year in an effort to not lose my comprehension. When I read in French, I always feel like I’m going through some sort of dream because sometimes I get don’t understand what’s going all the time, or maybe it’s the book. The last French book I read was L’identité (Identity) by Milan Kundera and a couple weeks ago, I took out his Le livre du rire et de l’oubli (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting). Kundera is particularly surreal in his narrative I think. I try to read some novels that are originally in French in that language, but it depends on the author. Next time I read Dumas, it’s probably going to be English.

I have to leave for a friend’s cottage in less than half an hour. She called me half an hour ago spontaneously to invite me. It’s the hottest day of the year yet at 31’C. I’m bringing a couple of books to read by a lake. No knitting today as I wanted to. Be back in the evening.

Sock me tools

Socks: essential and addictive to some knitters, a road to be crossed for others. I decided to try my hand at this last winter. These socks will be my first, and I’ll be making them for myself. I have been sort of putting this off since I finished the clapotis. First, I got the Regia yarn from a closing yarn store. It was only off by a mere dollar or so compared to the others. Sock yarn is not cheap I must say so even if I do get addicted, I’m not sure I can afford to make so many pairs. Yesterday, I finally went to my LYS and bought a set of five 2.5mm bamboo dpns. They’re like toothpicks. I tried doing a gauge swatch today, but I gave up. That may bite me in the bottom later, but I’m trying to decide which pattern to use. Should I just use a really basic pattern that shows pictures or try myself at some lace while at it so I can go head on in? I’m leaning toward the latter as the lace may help make them stretchier. I have many browser tabs open at the moment with pictures of turning heels and decreasing gussets as support. This seems very daunting, but I must be brave and plunge head on I guess.

I’ve been attracting some literary links while surfing lately.

TwitterLit – Updated twice a day on the various Twitter accounts with the first line of books. A very good way to get book recommendations if you’re a Twitter addict as I’ve recently become. Can be also used via email or a RSS reader. – Buy a friend a book for four designated weeks a year, or just give them a book to share the literary karma. It’s like Bookcrossing (which I seemed to have given up on years ago), but more direct.

What is Stephen Harper Reading? – Canadians may only get the humor in this. Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi has decided to send a book to the Prime Ministre a book every two weeks with a letter on the choice. The image of PM Harper reading The Death of Ivan Ilych almost discombobulates me. Image does not process.

Publisher makes lite work of classics – An article from The Times Online about a publisher that is making shortened versions of classics for “convenience”:

Tolstoy, Dickens and Thackeray would not have agreed with the view that 40 per cent of Anna Karenina, David Copperfield and Vanity Fair are mere “padding”, but Orion Books believes that modern readers will welcome the shorter versions.

Padding, right. This is not a new concept, and it could be helpful if you’re doing a book report about a book you don’t want to read. Goodness knows I didn’t enjoy every single moment of Vanity Fair. Though, if you want to know what happens or some literary insight, there’s Cliff Notes, Spark Notes, Wikipedia, and a lot of other choices. Someone in the article is quoted as saying that they hadn’t read Anna Karenina because it is long and finds these light versions “a breath of fresh air”.

I guess this is alright if you just want the plot, but reading has always been more than that for me. Altering or changing the books by 40% is sort of alarming. Sometimes, long books reveal a lot more than “padding”. I also think it’s completely subjective of what should or shouldn’t be taken out from a book based on some unnamed criteria they have. Do I think some of the classic authors padded? By the Dickens, yes. That does not mean it ruins my experience; sometimes there’s a lot of literary brilliance in the padding… if you like that sort of fun wordplay.

The thing is, no one is forcing you to read these classics. If you don’t like DC, AK, VF, or even Jane Eyre (which they are also book dieting), don’t read. Most of my friends are not bibliophiles, and I know lots of people who don’t like classics. Read what you like. Nick Hornby writes in one of his criticisms that we should all just read what we like and shouldn’t be forced or pressured into liking what we read. All because a book is a classic, a Pulitzer prize winner, or on the New York Times Bestseller’s list does not make it good, fun or even worth your time. Life is too short to read to books you don’t like. I just like spending my ethereal existence with long classics.

The Shadow in the North My original plan after reading The Ruby in the Smoke was to write a big review of the whole Sally Lockhart quartet because I wrongly assumed the other three books would be as short as that first book. I should have foreseen this as it happened with the His Dark Materials too. Unlike HDM, these books can stand alone, but that doesn’t mean there is not a not a hook to connect these Victorian mystery thrillers. They are definitely page turners, and while I have little experience in adult mysteries or thrillers, I’ve enjoyed the young adult ones I have read. Pullman is not a writer who writes specifically for an age group, and I’ve always been in the belief that adults should read good books no matter the intended age group, just as young adults should read adult books if they are mature enough readers for it. He has admitted on his website that he wrote them with melodramatic undertones, but resolves them in his realistic style and detail (he calls fantasy classified HDM “dark realism”). One of the highlights in this series is the ensemble cast of characters; I thoroughly enjoyed them in the first book and found it almost comforting to see how much has happened since tRiS (six years between the two books). I did not understand how engaging the book was until I found myself shocked at the climax. Well played, Mr Pullman. As much as I want to read the next book, it looks particularly intense that I’m going to hold it off for a nonfiction or two. These books require one or two sittings to finish off before bed.

The full title of this book is Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford. Without previous experience in the food business, Buford enters first the food and restaurant business in New York City by working at Mario Batali’s Babbo, and secondly a less capitalist view of food in Italy in the second half as the apprentice butcher. The book is funny, light and interesting. There are a lot of distinct characters in this book. The first half of the book draws similarities to Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain as it shows you the harshness that is the restaurant business. For my love of food, I have never wanted to be a professional chef or cook. My dad is a cook, and it was not a profession he chose for himself at first. He’s been doing it for thirty years, and he is very ready for semi-retirement. Knowing this, I became invested in Buford and felt good when he felt accomplished.

The book takes a different and dare I say, more introspective turn in the second half with the apprenticeship in Italy. Maybe it’s because I love travel books as much as food books or travel in general forces different perspectives for the writer, but there are even more unique characters and stories from Tuscany. The second half reads more like a Bill Bryson travelogue. I did enjoy Buford’s style, and the ending hints at a sequel in France. While Batali and a number of personalities in the book are anti-French, I’m a francophile so I very much excited at the prospect of reading Buford again en France.

Appetizer – List 3 emotions you experienced this week.

Futility. Frustration. Fatigue.

Soup – Name a car you’d love to have.

I’m a bad driver, but I do know cars even if I don’t want to own one: a Mini Cooper. I like Citroens too even though they aren’t sold in North America. I actually like the Toyoto Prius as it is a hybrid.

Salad – Describe your typical morning routine.

I’m a pretty simple girl: I get up, get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth, moisturize, eat brunch/breakfast. Check my email. Yeah, not exactly worlds shattering.

Main Course – Have you ever emailed someone famous?  If so, who, and what did you say to them?  Did they reply?

No, I have not emailed anyone famous. I’m pretty shy about these things, and there are few famous I need to email frankly.

Dessert – Do you listen to podcasts?  If so, which ones?

Yes, I listen to Savage Love, Grammar Girl, Mr Manners, video podcasts during the fashion weeks, Doctor Who Season 3 when they are interesting (pretty rare this season), and when I remember, BBC World News and Radio France Internationale. I use to listen to the Word of the Day, but not so much.

Off to bed now. Hmm, Grey’s Anatomy sucks now. I’ll write my book review after I wake up. Library trip today, and more reading.

It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again? – BTT

Well, “there’s nothing in the house” does not apply to me because I always have at least a 20 books from the library that I sometimes never get around to reading and just keep renewing if no one has requested them. I actually weeded a couple library books last week; I’m trying harder. I also tend to have books that I bought and own, but have not read yet. As for the mood thing, I like to think that I keep an assortment of books around me, but if I really have nothing. I fall back on my other hobbies: movies, knitting, and I read fanfiction when the mood strikes. Hee. Usually, I get back to reading fairly quickly because I have such a broad range of interests. I’m usually kept from reading rather than not wanting to read.

Currently, I’m reading Heat by Bill Buford. I’ll probably be done it for today which means book review this weekend. I’ll also be finishing up the Sally Lockhart series in the next week or so. Yay for young adult historical fiction.