11, 12-2007

Mar. 7th, 2007 03:17 pm
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I read two knitting books:


Domiknitrix and Stitch-N-Bitch




For the beginner, which I am, Stitch-N-Bitch is far far superior. Domiknitrix is more advanced and while I like her style, she didn’t have a lot of projects I could or would actually do. I will return to the Domiknitrix for my first big sweater project when I am ready for that. She has a very cute Little Red Riding Hoodie which I have every intention of wearing next winter.


Feb. 14th, 2007 05:38 pm
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Summerland: A Novel by Michael Chabon

In his debut novel for young readers, Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) hits a high-flying home run, creating a vivid fantasy where baseball is king. Following the death of his mother, 11-year-old Ethan Feld and his father, a designer of lighter-than-air-dirigibles move to Clam Island, Wash. The island is known for its almost constant rain, save for an area on its westernmost tip called Summerland by the locals which "knew a June, July and August that were perfectly dry and sunshiny." In Summerland, Ethan struggles to play baseball for the Ruth's Fluff and Fold Roosters, with dismal results. But here, too, a mystical baseball scout recruits Ethan and escorts him through a gateway to a series of interconnected worlds that are home to magical creatures called ferishers and an evil, shape-changing overlord called Coyote. Ethan and two of his fellow teammates soon accept a mission to save these other worlds (plus the one they live in) from ultimate destruction at Coyote's hand. When his father's well-being is also threatened, Ethan's quest becomes all the more urgent. To succeed, Ethan and his friends must find a way to beat giants, ferishers and others in a series of games where striking out truly has apocalyptic implications. Chabon unspools an elaborate yarn in a style that frequently crackles with color and surprise. He occasionally addresses readers directly, imbuing his tale with the aura of something that has been passed down through the ages. Impressively, the author takes a contemporary smalltown setting and weaves in baseball history, folklore and environmental themes, to both challenge and entertain readers. Images of the icy Winterlands and beasts like the werefox and Taffy the motherly Sasquatch recall C.S. Lewis's Narnia and some of Philip Pullman's creations in His Dark Materials. Devotees of the genre and of America's pastime will find much to cheer here. All ages.
This is just a darling book! I really recommend it especially for younger (or desperately immature) readers! I've been wanting to try a book by my favorite Ayelet Waldman and Kavalier and Klay just didn't do it for me.


Feb. 14th, 2007 05:35 pm
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Sarum: The Novel of England (Mass Market Paperback)
by Edward Rutherfurd

A first novel, Rutherfurd's sweeping saga of the area surrounding Stonehenge and Salisbury, England, covers 10,000 years and includes many generations of five families. Each family has one or more characteristic types who appear in successive centuries: the round-headed balding man who is good with his hands; the blue-eyed blonde woman who insists on having her independence; the dark, narrow-faced fisher of river waters and secrets. Their fortunes rise and fall both economically and politically, but the land triumphs over the passage of time and the ravages of humans. Rutherfurd has told the story of the land he was born in and has told it well. The verbosity of a Michener is missing, but all the other elements are present, from geology and archaeology to a rich story of human life.
Maybe I’ll finish this book at some point, but it didn’t really hold my interest very well.


Jan. 31st, 2007 11:13 am
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Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood of Traveling Pants)
by Ann Brashares

According to the publisher, this title marks "one last, glorious summer" for the traveling pants, and it's a time of changing identities and growing independence for the Sisterhood. As they discover new talents after their first year of college, the girls face increasingly grown-up dilemmas: an unwanted-pregnancy scare, crushes on married men, malicious co-workers, and questions about how to know if a love is lasting. By summer's end, each realizes that, with or without the pants, she is confident, talented, and lucky to share in such a nurturing lifelong friendship. A strong, satisfying conclusion that won't disappoint fans. 

What a great series! I had such close intense friendships when I was growing up, and Ann Brashares captures that to perfection. The last book follows the Sisterhood up to the end of summer post-freshman year. she really gets it right - that's exactly how it was. I recommend this series wholeheartedly.


Jan. 18th, 2007 11:18 am
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The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
Alison Hopkins is devastated when her live-in boyfriend, Tom, walks out of their dinner party and back into the arms of his ex-girlfriend, Kate. Tom is only 33-year-old Alison's second lover, and she wonders if she wouldn't be better off if she had slept with more men. So when Henry, her handsome new boss at the free daily Philadelphia paper for which she writes a relationship column, seems interested in her, Alison seizes the opportunity. However, being a carefree girl-about-town isn't as easy as Alison thought, and she soon finds herself in Henry's office asking him about the state of their relationship. Alison's friend Nina promises Tom will come crawling back to her, but is that really what she wants? Musing on everything from her evangelical Christian upbringing to men behaving badly (and just how long this stage lasts), Alison's engaging voice carries this thoughtful, introspective, smart novel along and raises it far above the average novel about a young woman looking for love in the big city.
This book was very well-written. It’s funny, the characters are well-drawn, and I liked the premise and the most of the execution. There are some things she didn’t do very well – pacing, plot, introducing a nemesis in the middle of the book etc. I wanted it to be a better book than it was, but for a debut novel – not too shabby. Let’s see what else she has before we judge.
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Messenger of Truth by Jaqueline Winspear

In Winspear's winning fourth historical to star British psychologist and PI Maisie Dobbs (after 2005's Pardonable Lies), Georgiana Bassington-Hope, a pioneering female war reporter who was a classmate of Maisie's at Girton College (Cambridge), asks Maisie to investigate the death of her twin brother, Nicholas Bassington-Hope, a WWI veteran and artist. The police have ruled Nick's fall from a scaffold at a Mayfair gallery before his masterpiece could be unveiled an accident, but Georgiana suspects foul play. As Maisie delves into the art world and the dead man's unusual family, the author provides an insightful look at class divisions and dangerous political undercurrents of homegrown fascism in early 1930s Britain. Some might wish that the whodunit side of the story was more developed, but fans of quality period fiction will be well satisfied. (Aug.)
tarheel-born turned me on to these and they are SO GOOD! I still have your book 1 at home, Melissa, along with the entire Firefly season which should really go to MD, don’t you think?
4, 5, 6-2007
An Assembly Such as This: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
Duty and Desire
These Three Remain
by Pamela Aidan
I’m not even posting a plot description. It’s Pride and Prejudice fanfic basically. But I have been really enjoying it!
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The second book of 2007 is…..

King Dork by Frank Portman (audio)

Tom Henderson (a.k.a. King Dork, Chi-mo, Hender-fag, and Sheepie) is a typical American high school loser until he discovers the book, The Catcher in the Rye, that will change the world as he knows it. When Tom discovers his deceased father’s copy of the Salinger classic, he finds himself in the middle of several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll. And it all looks like it’s just the tip of a very odd iceberg of clues that may very well unravel the puzzle of his father’s death and–oddly–reveal the secret to attracting semihot girls.
Being in a band could possibly be the secret to the girl thing–but good luck finding a drummer who can count to four.

This book was great – one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s a play on Catcher in the Rye with a wonderfully authentic teenage voice. The author is one of Pita’s favorite musicians, the front man for Mr. T Experience and a local group he used to go hear at 925 Gilman. The book is also hella East Bay.

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The first book of 2007 is…..
Metaconcert by Julian May
All over the world, the metapsychics are honing their skills, learning to stretch their incredible minds far beyond the ken of ordinary humans. Most are dedicated to the harmony of the human soul. But some have darker intentions...

If the metapsychics succeed in uniting Earth's minds to take the next step up in human evolution, a place awaits humanity among the alien peoples of the fabulous Galactic Milieu. But if evil minds prevail in their bid for power, Earth will be cut off...and mankind forever doomed!
This book is number 6 in a 9-book science fiction series but it’s the second to last one I read in the series. I still need to read number 4. I liked the story arc, and the really great sci-fi stuff. But the writing wasn’t that great, and I didn’t really find the characters all that compelling. It’s more of a “nice concept” book.


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