Sunday, February 13, 2011

One Day...Eight Days...Something Like That

So...books. I've read a few really good ones this year, so far. Though, of the 25 books I've read, I've only given stars to three.

Incendiary by Chris Cleaves
The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

I think I mentioned the first two here when I read them so I won't synopsize them all over again. Mockingbird is told from the point of view of an eleven-year-old, Caitlin, who has lost her older brother, Devon. Her mother died some years earlier so now it's just Caitlin and her grieving father...and her school counselor. Caitlin has Asperger's and her brother was the person who helped explain the world to her. Over the course of the book, Caitlin begins to understand her father's grief, finds her own way to cope with Devon's absence, and makes the first steps to making friends. It's a very moving story and Caitlin's voice rings clear and true. (With the caveat that no, I don't know exactly how someone with Asperger's might think.)

What all three of these books have in common is the ability to put you inside someone else's head. The main characters in these books are all strong women, though in some distress, with vivid voices.

So there they are...the best books so far this year. But I have to mention some mysteries, too. I've discovered the Norwegian mysteries of Jo Nesbo (that "o" should have a line through it). Last year I read The Redbreast and just this past month I've read both Nemesis and The Devil's Star. All of them great, suspenseful mysteries. And, unlike a lot of the Scandavian mysteries, there's some humor in some of these. Not that they are laugh out loud funny, but some of Inspector Harry Hole's observations are amusing. And there's a new one out in May that's supposed to be the best can bet I'll be waiting for it.

Another mystery I read quickly (it's a novella, so short) is the new Laura Lippman, The Girl in the Green Raincoat. It's a Tess Monaghan mystery...Tess is heavily pregnant and confined to bed, but still manages to get caught up in a local mystery. And what's that Chechov quote? -- "If in the first act you have a dog peeing in a chamber pot, then in the following one it should be hurled. Otherwise don't put it there." Yeah.

Read a Stuart McBride mystery, set in Aberdeen, Scotland, called Flesh House. Not for the squeamish but fast-moving (I read it in a day) and exciting.

Also, in the past month I've read Sapphique, the sequel to Incarceron. Not, I thought, as good as the first, but not terrible. I'd probably buy a third one if there was one.

Also read Kate Morton's The Distant Hours. It follows the blueprint that Kate Morton seems to use each time. Mysterious house, secrets in the past being uncovered in the present....and so on. But she does it well and it was a captivating read.

As well as some books, I finished another knitting project...another hat for my cousin's wife.

After I took this picture, I added a green tassel on a cord. She can pop it out if she doesn't want the whimsey.

Oh, and I got this:

I already own his first book. I love Stephen West's designs...they are clean and simple (yet not mind-numbing dull to knit) and so attractive. For instance, this hat, with which I fell in love.

This hat, called Bandwidth, has a cool brim, constructed sideways, and an interesting texture in the top along with one neat cable. Nice! The book has (including Bandwidth) three hats, five scarf/cowl/shawl thingies, a gorgeous blanket, and two mittens/mitt patterns. All of them crying out for me to knit them. The book also includes a gallery of finished objects (I'm thinking taken from Ravelry...though I'm not sure) which includes one item, Loxley, a hooded scarf, in Noro yarn, that is so beautiful!! Another nice feature is a brief write-up for each of his test knitters. It's a well designed book and I look forward to adding to my Stephen West library.

That's all for now!

1 comment:

MaureenL said...

Looks like a cool book!
I'll have to come over and peruse it.