Guilty pleasure

When I was a kid I read a lot of novels for teenagers. I can’t say any of them were particularly good but it kept my reading up, which made it into a good habit. One series I read was this one, Chrystal Falls, about a small town on the American East coast, where the gap between the rich and the poor is huge and divides everyony in the little town. The other week, me and Agnieszka talked about something that reminded me of the series and I mentioned it to her. She got interested and while visiting my mother one day I picked up the books and brought them home. Now we’re both reading, she for the absolute first time and me for the first time in 20 years. One needs a little wisdom and life experience to truly appreciate them, I think, because they’re hilarious. And annoying, tiresome, awful, hysteric, cute, nostalgic and completely hilarious. The’re badly written and even worse tanslated. The main character is tiresome and the love interest is just… too much. He is tall and strong and wears a leather jacket and leans on things (and is of course only in highschool). The other characters are clichés and there are so many levels here that I definitely didn’t see when I was a young teenager but I doubt that the writer saw them either. They are rubbish but also sums up pop culture for teens in a great way. Best guilty pleasure in a long time.

Books and buns

At the beginning of summer I read a lot of books. I still read books but not at the same speed. One of the books I read was this, a feel-good novel, and its three sequels. This book was set as the first in the series, but written third, which was quite good to know when you read them. They are really feel-good, perfect for what I needed back in May (and perhaps after that as well). It’s love and friendship and completely unrealistic events, but who cares? The main character starts wandering the country to find herself and along the way she finds love, she finds sorrow and happiness and new friends and lots and lots of antiques. The following books are the same except she doesn’t wander the roads anymore. It’s like a teenage series about a whimsical girl but for grown-ups. I liked it a lot despite the more fantastic parts.

In the latter books they eat a lot of buns, namely Rimbobullar. They ate them so frequently that I started craving them. But, while I could read quite a lot in May it was simply impossible to bake and that meant no buns for me. Then, as it happened, my wonderful mother got the idea of making, yes, of all things the decided to make Rimbobullar. I hadn’t talked about them or anything, we just both had the same thought at the same time. We had them for Midsummer and they are simply amazing. I’ve had them before but I had forgotten about it and this was a delicious reminder. I completely understand why they keep eating them in the books.

When I re-read the books, which I will do eventually, I will make sure to have Rimbobullar close by. It’s required.

Such a relief

On my way home today, I ran in to a paper back sale. Ten books later I was a very happy customer. Only crime novels, perfect for summer, and they will hopefully not require too much brain activity on my part. These past sixteen days I’ve squeezed (as in “read quickly”) seven books, mostly during the light spring nights, and nights are not my intelectual prime time, so to speak.

I’ve been worried I would run out of something to read but now I can calm down, these should last me at least another sixteen days. Perfect preparation for the summer holiday.

Travel projects

It’s February 11 (despite me thinking it was the 10th this morning when I booked the laundry room, that was a surprise this evening, let me tell you) and the word is travel projects in the #yarnlovechallenge. These were my to-go projects today, some lovely yarn and some books for my bachelor thesis. I didn’t have time to knit but I did study quite a lot.

Other than that I obviously bring my knitting on my travels. When I fly somewhere I try to have wooden needles and a cable that I can detach just in case. I have had metal needles on a plane as well but just in case someone doesn’t like the look of my cable needles I try to at least have wooden ones since I imagine they might be less offensive than metallic ones. The last time I flew there was a lady on the plane who came up to me and asked me if they had let me through security with my knitting needles. Well, since I was on the plane knitting the answer was quite obvious which made the question a bit weird. But in case someone is confused, yes, they did let me through security with my knitting needles, otherwise I wouldn’t knit on the plane.

 

Romancing the knitter

Part two of my Christmas plan is a go. The first plan was to knit and the second was to read. The knitting part is moving steadily forward and I’ve made a lot of progress these past two days. Now I’ve also gotten an amazing book for Christmas, one that I’m really looking forward to read. I’ve read many books by Gail Carrriger and I think this will be just as good as the other ones, or maybe even better. My expectations are huge and I just hope the book will be able to meet them. I mean, it’s steampunk, what can go wrong?

 

The pleasures of summer #3 – What do writers think?

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The things one can do in the summer continues. I was tired today and it was a rainy day so part of it was spent on the balcony while I finished a book and drank tea and nibbled on some chocolate. I have spent quite a few hours reading on the balcony this summer, both day and night. If I tilt the knitting lamp behind the couch and bend it to face the window, I can see to read on the balcony even after the sun goes down. This book was a good one, Kerry Greenwood is a good author and I have read about four of her books about Phryne Fisher so far (there is also an excellent TV show about her). I think I liked this the best. It was a quick read, over before I even noticed it starting, as happens with knittings sometimes. The only thing I didn’t like was the use of bad words. The culprit used many bad words throughout the book and I didn’t care for it. Once or twice is fine, to show character and so on, but this was a bit exagerated. Also, the Miss Fisher I know would never tolerate such a language (not that she did in the book either).

I sometimes wonder how authors and screen writers think when they write something. A bad word or something like that is sometimes necessary to provoke a bit or, as I mentioned earlier, show character, but it can’t be too much or the audience will abandon the book, movie or TV show. I have a friend who stopped watching a show because there were too many rape threats. I myself have stopped watching another show because there was too much slapping women around (that was a police show and if you don’t like the detective in question – the hero – you might as well stop watching. In this case he slapped women in pretty much every episode, and not just him, and that was not okay by me. I mean, sure, this might be true of the 19th century society that was portrayed, police detectives perhaps used violence in every encounter with the female sex, but let’s not forget that the show isn’t real, it’s fiction and we can never pretend it’s not, and we have a choice in how we decide to portray it). I don’t even think the line is that fine when it comes to something nasty that might be necessary for the plot and an excessive use of said nastiness and I think it’s a cheap trick that make me wonder about the writers’ imagination and values.

Besides the use of invectives though, the book was really good. Now I’m on to the next Phryne Fisher Mystery. More tea, please!

Bridget actually said it best

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It’s summer and with summer comes more reading. A friend gave me a book by Jenny Colgan as summer reading and I finished it the other day. I have read some things by Jenny Colgan before and I’ve liked it well enough. It’s chic lit and chic lit might not be my favorite genre but Jenny Colgan’s author notes are so charming that I can’t really help myself. I also like that her heroines are quite accomplished, they have a talent and they know it and they do something about it. I like that. I’ve started to see a pattern though. It’s sort of the same formula in many of Colgan’s books, they only thing that change is the heroine’s talent. They all even fall for the grumpy guy whom they despise in the beginning.

This book – The Little Shop of Happy Ever After – is about shy and bookish Nina who is laid off from her work at a library (they often get laid off in the beginning, often due to budget cuts or a change in management) and buys a van and fills it with books and travels around Scotland to sell these books. In the beginning she is shy but Scotland suits her (I do want to go to Scotland some day) and after a while I started noticing that there wasn’t much of a difference between Nina and the heroines from other books. I think that must be so difficult for an author, to actually change the personality from their different characters, especially if it’s a main one. They so easily become stereotypes, as in commedia dell’arte. Sure, chic lit is supposed to be an easy breezy read but some variety is needed even here.

Main characteras are interesting. I once read a book where I realized towards the end that the heroine was a horrible person. It grew gradually over the course of the book and by the end you really disliked her. I find that very clever and interesting since it’s not often that you don’t like the main character. You are kind of supposed to and most books also make you do that but not this one and I thought that was an interesting tactic from the author, since it wasn’t an immediate dislike from page one but one that grew stronger and stronger.

Nina in The Little Shop of Happy Ever After however, she is very likeable. I like the book references, I love it when I understand them which I often do, but I wonder in her taste in men. She compares them to heros in books, saying that they are neither a Mr. Darcy not a Heatcliff and sure, Mr. Darcy might sound good on paper and we do love him in Pride and Prejudice but in real life, nah, I don’t think so (that’s another chic lit by the way, Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter).  Heathcliff though, he’s not boyfriend material and has never been. Not in the books and certainly in real life (I think he would actually be in prison had he been a real person). He is the reason why I feel a bit scared when I think of the British moors (and Mr. Rochester does nothing to help that sentiment) and no one, not even Emily Brontë herself, could have thought that spending the evening in the garden, shouting Cathy and banging your head against a tree could ever be romantic. There is something seriously wrong with Heathcliff (Cathy herself is not very nice either) and one should never, ever get involved with someone like that. Yes, he had a horrible childhood and Cathy is not nice to him but that is absolutely no excuse to what he does. Stay away from Heathcliff, Nina! I sure hope the guy she actually do end up with (it’s chic lit, the persection of love is its’ sole purpose so there is no spoiler here) is nothing at all like Heathcliff. (Speaking of Wuthering Heights, there you have a book with pretty much no likeable character, neither Cathy nor Heathcliff but also not Edgar nor Hindley and don’t even get me started on that wretched Nelly Dean.) I think Bridget Jones, queen of chic lit, nailed it when she meets Mark Darcy, and says that it struck her as “pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting ‘Cathy’ and banging your head against a tree”. So, by all means, pine after Mr. Darcy all you want, Nina, but I sure draw the line at Heathcliff.

Shawls and shenanigans

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I didn’t plan this but it amuses me to no end that my leisure time projects are currently color coordinated. I felt it was time for some steampunk and Gail Carriger is the author to turn to. This is the third novel in the Finishing School series about Sophronia Temminick – Waistcoats and Weaponry. So far it’s just as amusing as the previous ones and easy to follow but I’m only at the beginning and the plot will probably thicken and become more and more complex, as it usually does. When this is finished I have the next book in the series on my book shelf. It’s yellow so maybe there will be a yellow shawl in the near future too.

I have started on the second skein and eight rows later I finished the fourth chart repeat. That meant I used a little over 60 meters less than the pattern stated (even though I use bigger needles) and I have 86 grams left of my second skein. This means I most certainly will have enough yarn for another pattern repeat but I’m still unsure about a sixth. I’ll look into the possibility of only making half a pattern repeat should I have lots of yarn left after the fifth repeat. This shawl might work out well after all. I like big shawls but I barely have any. I don’t think any of tchem are long enough to cover as much of my back as I want and wide enough to cover enough of the front. It’s either/or or none at all. It’s actually quite annoying and I will have to do something about this, now that I’ve diagnosed the problem. Good goal for that next shawl!

Thank you, Santa!

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Santa brought me this amazing book yesterday so you can tell I’m keeping myself occupied. This i something that combines my love for books and knitting – The Fairytale Knitting Book. I’ll let you know more as soon as I finish it.

I hope your holiday continues to be lovely!

Sunday evening reverie

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It’s the third of advent (and coincidentally also Lucia) and I’ve had a meeting with my book club. We discussed Roxane Gay’s book Bad Feminist and drank tea. The discussion went through multiple subjects and I was roaming around my book cases to find references for our discussions. I turned a heel  and so was another knitter and I will start the gusset tomorrow. I’ve also made good progress on other knittings this weekend which feels great. There might be time for Christmas after all.