- The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers Fun historical mystery from 1916, Biggers is best remembered for his Charlie Chan novels, but he also wrote stand alones, including this and Seven Keys to Baldpate (one of my favorite classic films). Our narrator is a young man about the town drawn into a mystery in London when he decides to pursue a chance acquaintance. The plot twist is key: he falls madly in love with a woman he sees in a restaurant, writes a note to her via the newspaper's agony column (today's personals), and then writes her a series of letters describing the perilous mystery swirling around him. Extremely enjoyable! I recommend this one highly.
- Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae (2007) First in the Home Crafting mystery series, this cozy introduces us to Sophie Mae Reynolds, her friend Meghan, and Meghan's daughter Erin, all sharing a house outside Seattle. When the neighborhood handyman is killed in Sophie Mae's soap making workroom, she's drawn into a mystery that threatens everyone she loves. Naturally, the investigating officer becomes her love interest (really, authors, this is getting to be a boring cliche), and the coincidences that come with the identification of the murderer are a little farfetched, this is not a bad introduction to the series and the characters.
- The Knitter's Life List by Gwen W. Stenge (2011) Nicely illustrated and laid out introductory guide for new knitters, this books stakes its own claim to the over-saturated knitting book market by providing life lists to introduce each chapter. These life lists include yarn goals, pattern goals, and other bucket list entries (Who came up with the silly term bucket list anyway?). Honestly, this was the part of the book I disliked. I am not less of a knitter because I have no inclination to learn to knit socks; I only wear socks out here for about 3 weeks of the year. Heavy on Internet-promoted designers, with only a few of the older, pre-web designers mentioned. Limited in the kinds of patterns it discusses (scarves, sweaters,socks,, gloves, and bags) when there are tons of other things one can knit. But, great photos, great hand drawings illustrating the different kinds of sweaters and how their constructions differ (surely a big help to new knitters or those who've never tried a wearable), and hooray for the discussion on various knitting styles and how they are all the right way to knit if it's comfortable to you.Nice bibliography.
- The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius (2011) Great guide to all animals that provide fleece that can be carded and processed into yarn. This is a unique addition to the knitting literature out there. While it's for serious spinners and weavers out to expand their horizons, knitters with a passing interest in what they are working with will find the book useful for its easy to follow, well executed layout, great photography, and inclusion of more breeds of sheep than I knew existed. The authors included chiengora (spinning dog fur, and yes, they include a photo of a gorgeous Samoyed!), rabbit fur, and other unusual fiber options. Love the photo spreads showing the unprocessed raw fleece, the spun fiber, and gauge swatches for each fiber source. I don't harbor secret fantasies of living on a sheep farm to get all the yarn I want, but maybe some knitters and crocheters do, and if so, this is the book for them. To the rest of us, it's a handy reference to what a qiviut really is.
- All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (2011) Latest collection of essays by the Yarn Harlot of blog fame. Pearl-McPhee muses on yarn, stashes thereof, and other mysteries of life. Fans of the Yarn Harlot will love this latest collection. Enjoyable light read. I was only disturbed to find that Pearl-McPhee can't even have dinner with her husband and children without knitting. Really, Stephanie, it's okay to let the needles lay and enjoy the moment. Those girls will be all grown up soon, and gone, and you'll wish you remembered more more about restaurant dinners with them than what socks you were working on. Hopefully, the socks will trigger a memory of the jokes they told, the food they ate, they way their eyes twinkled. But too many new knitters take the words of Serious Knitters like Pearl-McPhee to heart and think it's okay to knit anywhere, including church services, concerts, and anywhere they want to. It's just knitting, folks. You won't die taking an hour off from your current WIP.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Middle Sister's August Books
Not so many books read this month, as I was reading some textbooks and rewriting lectures for this semester's class. Here are the few books on the fiction/nonfiction front I managed to squeeze in.