Books · Witterings

Booking Through Thursday

If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that?

And, do you keep reading anyway?

Now I have never thought of applying the ‘jumping the shark’ to books – I have always referred to television programmes with this term. I could probably list a great many that should have quite frankly stopped on a high!

However this is about books and I have only one that springs to mind and that is Rebecca Shaw’s – Village Series based in Turnham Malpas. There has been numerous books – 14 currently, 15th out next year. They are essentially good books, but have found the recent ones have been rather weak and turned into a mere factory output to satisfy a brand name. The first 6 probably were the strongest. It is a while since I have read any, and perhaps I might be mightily surprised if I pick one back up again…but then there is that fear of being disappointed.

A good question – why not have your say at Booking Through Thursday.

Cross Stitch

15 Side Biscornu

I have finished something! Following my nearly finished post  on 20 September. I got into the rhythm of a finish.

So this is how it all started

Now this is on 18 count canvas, using Perle 5 Thread. A mixture of these threads; some DMC, some Anchor and Needle Necessities which have now been taken over by Threadworx. This was all left over from other projects I have done, so in this thrifty time I thought I should use them up.

You have to cut out all the squares and then stitch up first of all 5 squares – those in the purple and pinks.

Next is to then attached the next five separately around the edge of the this first section and the result ends up like this.

Then to make the remaining five squares, in this case the yellow and orange ones made up like the purple ones and stitch that to the green squares – resulting in this.

So there it is finished – and just so you can see it all the way round I have included a final couple of photos, so you can see varying angles and the colours.

They are easy to make up, but it is quite difficult to get your needle and thread through the canvas, and it has made my fingers quite sore. It was worth it though and I am glad it is finished. I am pleased with the colours, knowing I turn it around depending on my mood! A great Sue Hawkins Design, and I look forward to having a go with her next creation.


Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

The reason that I picked up the book, was because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I admit to being susceptible to the hype. And at times reading this book I have wished I had not let myself get washed away with the hype but there are some elements and points in the book which hit home and really did make me reflect on my own life.

This is the story of Elizabeth Gilbert who spends a year out of her life, after a bad divorce trying to find something – she does not know what yet, but hopes that her three main travel destinations India, Rome and Bali. Here the book is separated into these three places and what each place does for Elizabeth.

In Rome, (Eat) Elizabeth discovers food, and the simple pleasure it can give someone, who has all the time to sit and eat and enjoy. She practices her Italian because she can, there is no purpose to her wanting to learn it and she meets different people along the way who show her Italian food and converse in Italian. This is all Elizabeth wants from Rome and it is all she gets fundamentally, she restores her health both mentally and physically by this slowing down and fuelling the body.

In India, (Pray)Elizabeth tries to find herself spiritually through Yoga, meditation and to me somewhat clearing her mind of the racing thoughts she has through her head constantly about all things that have happened to her in the past and perhaps she could have done differently. This section of the book, I found rather difficult to read, possibly a good thing as Elizabeth obviously found a lot of difficulty just being there as well fighting those demons to be alone and comfortable with her thoughts. Something changes in her and she finds exactly what it is she is looking for.

In Bali, (Love) Elizabeth goes back to the ‘medicine man’ that has healing powers and predicted her prophecy a few years previous. Here love is the key; she finds love in her meditation now it becomes part of her everyday practice. Love in the form of new friendships and the helping of other people in this case Wayan and Tutti – again another healer both physically through herbs and also mentally. Felipe becomes the catalyst and the turning point for Elizabeth for me the last part which needs to be healed and so the book ends.

For me the book made me recognise the practices that I have adopted throughout my life, to find stillness, calmness but not something that I could call spirituality not that I was looking for any of this. . I recognised myself when Elizabeth was India and was trying to come un-jumble the thoughts in her head. I know mine take me over, and I can see it happening but I also know that I can sort it out in my own time. Enjoying life and everything it brings in whatever form, wherever you are in the world is the key to this book. Mindfulness is never mentioned in this book but is something which could apply here – just enjoying what you are doing and savouring the pleasure – certainly true of the food in Italy. Elizabeth Gilbert has successfully written a book which has succeeded on good PR, and it was interesting it was funny it was sad in parts, but it has not changed my life in anyway and I cannot say it is a book that all women must read.

Having now read this book, I am in two minds on whether I want to see the film or not? I like Julia Roberts, and I agree she is the perfect actress to take on the role of Elizabeth Gilbert, but I am not sure if the film will just lower my opinion of the book. I have recently read another ‘find yourself’ story recently in Tout Sweet by Karen Wheeler.  I think although I have enjoyed both of them, ‘finding yourself’ books are a very unique read and offer a great outlet for the author but any reader gets so many differing things from them. Which is why I think recommending a book such as this, could be a difficult thing. Better to quietly discover these books on your own.


Irish Chick Lit Authors

I have done my first guest post on another blog – Crazy For Books (also home of the Book Blogger Hop). The various guest posts on this blog have been about women’s literature and in particular that genre that seems to have been created called – Chick-Lit.

Here is a link to my post on this blog and if you have time please pop across and have a read.

Books · Witterings

Radio 2 Book Club

I came across this by accident. I had been nosing around the BBC Radio 2 website, for news of who is replacing Sarah Kennedy.(I have yet to find out that answer). Apologies if you are not from the UK, as you probably will not know who some of these personalities are. I saw an ad for the Radio 2 Book Club going to be run on the Drivetime slot with Simon Mayo weekdays 1700-1900. “Do you love reading? If so, the Radio 2 Book Club is just the thing for you. From October, Simon Mayo will be taking an in-depth look at a whole range of fiction and non-fiction titles – with author interviews, incisive analysis and online interaction. However, Simon needs your help! We are looking for people who are interested in casting their eyes over our literary selections. If chosen, your comments will be put to some of the world’s most pre-eminent authors. So, if you want the chance to become one of our listener reviewers, join the Radio 2 Book Club by filling in the form”. Click on the link I have provided above and sign up if you are interested. Looks like this might be fun, and there will lots of interaction which is great. If anyone gets anything then please let us all know. And if you are a fan of Radio 2, let me know as well.

Books · Witterings

Booking Through Thursday

Yep it is Thursday again! So here is this weeks question:

What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)

What are you reading right now? Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

What made you choose it? I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and someone I knew recommended it because I am going through a big change in my life at the moment and also I want to see the film and compare it to the book!

Are you enjoying it? Jury is still out on this one, some days yes others no. But there are definitely elements of the book which I can relate to or apply to my own life.

Would you recommend it? Mmmm again jury is still out on that one – at the moment, I think the hype has taken over the actual book. I would recommend it probably for someone, who wants to experience something different – not because this is a must read book which will change your life as it did the authors.

Why not join in Booking Through Thursday yourself here. I look forward to see what everyone else is reading.


One Lovely Blog Award

Jessica from The Bookworm Chronicles nominated me for an award. My first award – thank you! The rules say that I am to post 15 new blogs to me and then let them know and if they accept then they must carry on posting. If I nominate you and you accept please comment back here.

As I am really new to blogging, I know this is not going to be fifteen so have started with 6, and I know some have already received this award, but some of you out there might not have discovered them yet.

1. Cardigangirlverity

2. Dizzy C’S Little Book Blog

3. Scribbles

4. The Olivia Reader Blog

5. Fig and Thistle

6. Tiny Library

Books · Cross Stitch · Witterings

Nearly Finished

At the moment, it may seem that I have done nothing crafty wise – well part of that is true and part is not. I have done plenty but it is all nearly finished! However, I thought a nearly finished post was just as good as a finished post. There are some items which I have not touched in ages so I will not bore you with those they do deserve to go in a finished post.

However, I have been working on a Sue Hawkins 15 Side Biscornu featured in the latest Stitch magazine. Mine is going to look nothing like this one, in terms of colour, thread used and the decorations. However, craft and creating is about your own imagination. I have used up old perle threads from old book marks that I have made in the past (more about them another day). This is what the 15 squares look like before being cut out and made up

I hope to see Sue Hawkins at the Alexandra Palace ‘Knitting and Stitching Show’ in October, where she will probably have a 15 side biscornu as a kit.

Next up is material you may recognise from previous posts –

I used this to back my lavender bag I made. Well I knew what I wanted to do with the rest, and that was make a doorstop for the bedroom. Currently have a piece of folded up cardboard keeping the door open, which was there when I moved in! So I cut out 6 squares but thought they were too small, then I cut out another 6 squares bigger. The result having sewn them together on my mums sewing machine is above. Now I need to cut out a bag of some fairly strong material to put the sand in (that is the weight) and then I can finish the large one-off with stuffing and sew together. Voila – one door stop! The smaller one, well I still have a lot of lavender, so it will be filled with that (in a small organza bag) and stuffing, sewn together and I thought would look good placed on top. A stack of doorstops! Job for next Saturday, finish this off!

This is not technically a nearly finished but a nearly start. I have picked up the knitting needles, because I can knit quite happily in front of the television, without having to pay much attention to what I am doing. I found a pattern for a Basketweave Afghan in a new book, apologies but I cannot remember the books name (my mum bought it). Now although I can knit, I cannot do complicated patterns. To test this pattern out, I dug out some needles and wool and did a couple of test pieces. The pattern says to cast on 252 stitches, but ever the creator I have decided to work it in strips, and then crochet them together. So this pictures shows the three ‘test’ pieces I did. The top one, grew really quick but was not right somehow, you can see the pattern but it is too loose for my liking. The second one, was smaller needles and was just right, my mum approved (always important) and I used Aran for this two pieces. The third piece was Double Knitting, and was a variegated colour – I wanted to see whether you could see the pattern using this colour wool. You can but you cannot. I have decided then, that solid colour is the way to go and Aran not DK so, next Saturday is a trip to the local wool shop to purchase the wool (I have chosen the colour – purple!) I might go with two different shades, so the stripes can alternate.

The next Nearly Finished is a Little House Needleworks Needle and Thread which I finished some time back, but I have yet to stitch to the pillow that it comes with. At the moment it is just pinned – I need to find the right colour thread to attach it to the pillow. It was a really quick finish and I do love Little House Needleworks.

As for the reading well I have nearly finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. An interesting read so far and one that has made me think about many different things. I have also been sent Lloyd Jones Hand Me Down World out in November 2010. I have started it and it is rather odd, but something about it has made me want to keep reading it.


Her Royal Spyness – Rhys Bowen

This is the first in what has since become a series of books by Rhys Bowen – about Georgie, a single girl who has yet to find a husband, but has no means of supporting herself because she is not qualified to do anything and seems to have got herself tangled up with her families and her brothers problems when she comes to London and a dead body of a rather arrogant Frenchman is found in the bath. A man trying to get her into her bed. As well as this a cousin by marriage has asked her to do some spying on her son who seems to have got himself involved with a divorced American woman.

An interesting premise but let me add in a few more bits – Georgie is in fact thirty-fourth in line to the throne, she has no means of her support as her brother, Duke of Glen Garry and Rannoch has cut off her allowance to keep the ancestral pile in Scotland, Castle Rannoch in one piece. Despite having being presented at season many years before her gawkiness and clumsiness have not enabled her to be married off. The rather arrogant Frenchman comes to Georgie’s brother because he claims he won Castle Rannoch of Georgie’s father through gambling. Darcy O’Mara is the wild Irish man who is trying to bed Georgie, but then he suddenly changes his mind. Oh and the cousin is in fact Queen Mary wanting Georgie to spy on her son David and someone called Mrs Simpson.

Now if you know your history, this book is well set in the 1930s and based in London. It was paced enough to keep you turning the page and there was plenty of story as well as red herrings before you realised that perhaps there was more to the Frenchman and in the bath. The humour of the book is there, as we see how Georgie tries to earn a living, by cleaning for people. Nothing to dirty though – she cannot bring herself to go down the coal hole. Only airing, and opening houses up for people. She knows her place as thirty-fourth in line to the throne.

If you love, murder mysteries and like the era then these books are a must. They put me in mind of the ‘Silent’ series by Deanna Raybourn, which although not set in the thirties, has similar protagonists and rescuers.  A good wet Sunday afternoon, curl up on the sofa murder.

I have now got to read the others! So added to the list are A Royal Pain, Royal Flush and Royal Blood. These books are American and I really did not notice that about them at all (despite the differing spelling) as they are based in the UK. They form part of  Berkley Prime Crime House and this is the second author that I have come across from these publishers. The first was Lorna Barrett Murder is Binding, my Amazon review can be found at the link. What attracted me to that book was it was based in a bookshop! What attracted me to Her Royal Spyness – was I love the cover.  Who says we should not judge a book by its cover?!

Books · Witterings

Booking Through Thursday

It is Thursday again, where has the week gone?

Today’s question is Do you divide your books into day and night reads? How do you decide?

I have never done this, when I am reading a book then I will read it at any point in the day. Even the more scarier, spookier books have been read at night, it has never really bothered me before now. I think the exception would be, more non fiction reference type books I would not take those to bed to read!

Why not join in with Booking Through Thursday and answer the question on your own blog – please comment and I will come and visit.