Month: September 2013

Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday! It’s been a few weeks since my last Salon. Actually, I’ve become quite busy lately. I am too tired and fatigued to read on the weekdays, and I must run errands or have social engagements on the weekends. I have managed to read at least one book per week, but just barely.

Today, I am reading Marsha Altman’s P&P sequel The Darcys & the Bingleys. I really should be reading my Classics Spin book Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I will start that, but I must consider the over two dozen books from the library. I bought a couple of cookbooks and a calligraphy book the other week too. I still have at least 30 books unsorted in the house that I got this summer.

Books are my addiction!

In fitness news, I ran a 4KM colour run two weeks ago and no running since. Once again, no time, but it was good. I hope to run more as the weather gets chillier. I am biking about 4 days of the week now. I don’t know if my endurance or legs muscles are better, I am definitely faster and more confident on the road. I’m surprisingly enjoying myself. I even bought some lights for my wheels so I can bike in the dusk.

In knitting news, there is no knitting news. Sigh.

Food news, I started my sourdough starter yesterday! I hope to make sourdough in a couple weeks time. Exciting.

What have you been doing this weekend?

Are “best” and “favorite” the same thing? If someone asked you “What’s the best book you ever read?” would the answer be the same as for “What’s your favorite?” – BTT

I try to tailor my recommendations to whomever is asking. Bests and Favourites are very subjective. If someone asks me the best book on travelling to certain places, I may offer a travel guide, but my favourite would probably be a memoirs of the same place.

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked what’s the best book I’ve ever read. There are times when I like a book a lot for being well written and beautiful, but it’s not necesarily a favourite. For me, a favourite is a book I really wish to own or reread. For authors, I could say War and Peace and The Death of Ivan Illych are the best of Leo Tolstoy’s work, but Anna Karenina will be my favourite from his works for sentimental and nostalgic reasons.

How about you?

Well, this was a bit of an annoying read. I started this novel a awhile ago, but then it languished. I always have a problem finishing a book if I don’t consistently work on it in a couple of sittings.

In a rare Heyer situation, I did not like the female protagonist of this novel and I grew to dislike the hero too.I found her impertinent, proud, and arrogant. Even when she was shown a softer side, the first impression the reader gets of her is a beautiful tease. She even takes it to the next level by manipulating more than one man in this novel. I did not understand her plan to revenge herself on Ravenscar. It just seemed way over the top even for Heyer.

I did not like the pairing. Deborah and Ravenscar hate each other at the beginning and they play a dangerous game with each other. I know this is a romance novel and all’s well that ends well, but it’s a bit uncomfortable to read how much they treat each other in the beginning. They keep proclaiming how much they hate each other; it’s not really enjoyable watching them avenge themselves.

It is often fun in romances when there tension and two different (or similar rather) people meet and dislike each other. These two just play one game too many. I don’t find such duplicity romantic especially when they are playing with someone else’s affection.

All in all, one of my least favourite Heyer novels even though I think the supporting characters are mildly amusing. Now I need to read another book quickly to get over it.

Read September 12-21 2013.

Connected to last week’s—it’s one of the ways writing has changed. Books from a century or two ago spent huge swaths of text describing locations and character traits, but modern writing does all of this in shorthand. You might know a character is short with blond hair and blue eyes, but the author leaves the rest for you to figure out on your own. The writer might tell you the story takes place at a beachside town, but leaves the details to your imagination. Why do you suppose this is? Is it that we have shorter attention spans these days? That, bombarded with video and photos as we are, we don’t NEED every detail of an unknown scene described, because we have a stock of images already in our heads? – BTT

Writings styles have changed in the last one hundred years. Writers use to be written by word, and books did use to be one of the most popular sources of entertainment for those who could read. I also think there is some value in less descriptions in certain ways. There’s a change in how stories are told as well. The physical appearance of the characters are not necessarily as important as who they are and their journeys in the stories. Stream of counciousness or magical realism novels do not offer a lot in the way of physical images either, but perhaps they offer more emotional and intellectual imagery.

It’s not always the details we should worry about, and I can fill in the blank if the writer offers more important things to the story. I like character development, interactions, and plot points more than how the sun shines on the sand. Of course, it is lovely, but not always necessary.

Barn Raising Quilt squaresJust an update on one of the two leftover sock yarn blankets I’ve been working on. I’ve been working on this current square on and off the last week as I’ve been too busy to knit much.

I started working on this quilt from the book Knitalong in January 2010 with the thought of doing 72 squares which would cover a twin bed. This my 49th square and this month, I’ve decided to stop at 56 squares or 8×7 square quilt.
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Filofax A5 Malden OchreIt’s finally here. This was a first for me in many ways. My first A5, my first unboxing post, and the most expensive thing I’ve ordered from the internet yet.

I’ve wanted to buy an A5 for awhile now and have been checking the Filofax USA website every few days for a good one. I’ve been happy with my Personal Malden so far even though I’m not completely in love with the colour. I wanted a Personal Ochre, Aqua, Purple or Crimson. I’ve been converted to the Malden cause. Most of the A5’s are not cheap. I just did not like the Original’s elastic pen loops so I thought I may as well go all out with something I knew.

Note: This is an image heavy post.
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I prefer listening to Sedaris, but I could not track down the audiobook for this at the library. Now that I’ve read most of his collected works, I do think I prefer the later ones. This one was still good and it made me fascinated again with the character of Sedaris’s mother Sharon.

A lot of Sedaris’s stories are really strange, but I feel they are stranger than fiction. It’s hard to make some of this up, and I can see some weird and nasty side of people when reading these stories.

I would not recommend Sedaris for everyone. Actually, I am becoming less snarky as I get older it seems. I am still amused by his way of looking at the world and in the later stories, he is quite genial and mellow compared to the younger version of himself.

Still think he is a unique humorist and a good reader to boot.

Read September 8-9th 2013.

How much do you visualize when you read? Do you imagine faces for the characters? Can you see the locations in your mind’s eye? Or do you just plunge ahead with the story, letting the imagery fall to the wayside? – BTT

I don’t know how one let’s imagery fall at the wayside. Isn’t it natural to be immersed in the world of the books especially when it is fiction? Imagining these things is my default. I do find it harder to get visuals on the faces of the characters. Unlike some others, none of the characters look like anyone else I know or celebrities. I often do not have ‘picks’ on who I would like to be in the role. Much like my dreams where there are more strangers than people with familiar faces!

When reading a good book, it should play as a movie in your head and a good writing will grab you so you can plunge into the deep end.

How about your reading visuals?

I enjoyed Rubin’s first book The Happiness Project. I’ve taken this book out more than a couple of times this year, but have been able to find time to read it before it’s due by at the library. Finally, I sat down to read it this past weekend and nicely, I find out she started her new project in September.

Rubin uses a lot of quotations in her writing which I like:

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

She and I are quite similar in some ways and I like how personal her writing is. She is a researcher by nature like myself and she likes using various books and methods to learn about human nature. Like her, I believe that there is no definitive way to be happy. I see happiness as broad concept myself and as a way to make my life better for myself and those around me. I really think her tips, experiences, and recommendations inspire me to think about it more.

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing. “- William Butler Yeats

Rubin is an introspective writer which is why I enjoy the work. It’s a not self-help book, and in some ways, her books are memoirs like. I use the various ideas she puts forward. Her blog is also very engaging.

I would reread these books as a way to help with my own “happiness projects” or just prompts and things to consider for the future and personal development and growth.

Read July 7-8 2013.

It took me a long time to finish this mainly because I got distracted by real life. This is another of Heyer’s novels which less romance and more historical mystery and characters. The romance is established early on, and in a rare bit, I was satisfied with it that I didn’t care to know more. The tone of the book is interesting, and none of the characters are particularly wealthy. They are all interesting though. Not one of my favourites, but not bad.

Read on the Kindle August 25th – September 7th 2013.

Sunday Salon

This weekend, I finished reading Georgette Heyer’s The Toll-Gate and am now going through Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home.

Sadly, I have a cold. I’ve been fighting to get one for the last couple of weeks now, and it finally landed with a strong cough, sore throat and sneezing. It’s only gotten worse with the weekend so I’ve been cooped up at home with the books.

I also watched Star Trek: Into the Darkness. It was alright, but I think I liked the first movie more. I am watching less and less movies and full wrong TV shows these days as work, real life, books and blogging take precedent.

Reading during the week is now more difficult because I am working again. I was only able to read more this weekend because I’ve been ill. I have been missing it lately, and it’s doubtful I’ll find more time to read since I like to take advantage of the autumn weekends.

The weather is cooler and this week, I rearranged my wardrobe and took some of my handknits out. Autumn is my favourite season in Canada so I am excited that is here finally, but of course, a bit sad to see summer go.

How is your September coming along?

Rereading a favourite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you? CC

Hmm, I’ve only recently started rereading things. When I was younger, I never reread books, but now I’ve hit my mid to late twenties, I’ve begun to rewatch my favourite childhood TV shows. I’ve reread the Harry Potter and the His Dark Materials books a couple of times, but not the classics yet. I plan on my rereading one of my favourite classics Anna Karenina maybe in another 5-10 years. I reread some of Austen’s works every few years too. I don’t know if they tell a story. I definitely appreciate it more and perhaps in different ways.

I like to space the classic rereads out partly out of time, but also it is true that you need to read them at different ages in your life.

If I were to delve into reading fantasy books, I like escapism, other worlds and nostalgia. I am also a romantic really.

How about you?