Sunday, April 27, 2008

Knitting and Reading Updates

waving lace sock

I finally finished the first sock - Waving Lace- from Favorite Socks. I've only been knitting it since November! It took quite a back seat to other projects and pneumonia. I finished it over vacation- while in Cornwall, UK! (More on that in another post.) If I'd been allowed to knit on the plane I would have gotten the 2nd sock underway. Alas, British Air doesn't let you knit on their planes.

Green river tunic

I've been working on the Valley Yarns pattern, Green River Tunic, too. This is the back. I've almost finished the front too - just the right bodice left to do, and then short sleeves. It's a fast, easy knit.

I also read two more books: Third Strike by William Tapply and Philip R. Craig, and The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinksy. I liked the first and was bored with the second.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

More Than Half-Way!

I got a lot of reading done this last couple of weeks.

Book #25 was Barbara Pym's Less Than Angels. I enjoyed the combination of gentle but acerbic humor, and I really cared about Catherine and Phoebe and their graceful competition for Tom Mallow's love. Her writing is very Jane Austenish and I think the fact that I've been watching the Jane Austen offerings on public TV's Masterpiece at the same time, was a great mindset!

Death a L'Orange was book #26. This is part of a series and falls into the category of a "cozy" mystery. Carolyn is a food writer and she is on a tour of France with her husband and son when strange "accidents" begin to happen. Needless to say she is right in the thick of it and attempts to solve the mystery of who and why. The story is told from several different points of view. While I enjoyed the diary entries from the perpetrator, I didn't think it was necessary to include her husband's point of view. I much prefer the Diane Mott Davidson series and Philip R. Craig series, but I'll probably pick up another of Nancy Fairbanks' books for a quick easy read.

#27 was Change of Heart by Jody Picoult. This one was a challenging read due to the subject matter and to the writing quality. I still haven't decided what I think about it. It was a gripping read, and I enjoyed the characters grappling with the religious questions raised in the plot. Personally, I love wrestling with theological questions so that aspect of the novel held me. The death penalty question and the civil rights of prison inmates also poses questions worth thinking about. However, as a whole I was disappointed in the novel. Her trademark twist didn't work for me -- it was predictable and disappointing. I usually leave a Picoult novel feeling "Wow, I didn't see that coming! But what a great ending!" That's not the feeling I was left with here. I also found the switching back and forth between character's perspectives less effective than in other novels.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

#23 and #24

I've finished 2 more books : Written in Blood by Caroline Graham and Daughter of York, by Anne Easter Smith.

The first is a police procedural mystery, and it's part of the Inspector Barnaby series. Midsomer Murders is a BBC TV series, that is taken from Caroline Graham's novels. This novel is the fourth in the series, but the first one I've read. The Amazon review compares her writing to Agatha Christie. I agree that her work is reminiscent of Christie. She details life in an English village and has well-developed characters. Inspector Barnaby and Sargeant Troy feel like real people -- both are good at their jobs, but their flaws are also portrayed. All is not sweetness and light, yet the darkness isn't overpowering as I've found in other crime novels. (I had to return Patricia Cornwell's latest book because I found it so dark, depressing, and almost depraved.) I also did not expect the final twist, and yet, the ending also made sense. I really enjoyed it!

I also finished Daughter of York This one took me a while to get into. I almost took it back unfinished, but stuck with it and it finally clicked. This historical fiction follows Margaret of York, sister to Edward II. She is married to the Charles, Duke of Burgundy, in an effort to secure Burgundy's support against the Lancasters. As a teenager, I read a lot of historical fiction as well as nonfiction about the War of the Roses, and the Plantagents, so that's what drew me to the book in the first place. This was interesting because of the female perspective -- most of the other books I'd read previously were from the male point of view.