Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"A Visit from the Goon Squad"

This book (actually a collection of inter-related short stories and one PowerPoint presentation) covers the time span from the 1980's to the near future.  The characters are involved in music and some of them go from being uninhibited amateur performers totally in love with music to selling their souls once they actually become employed in the industry.  The goon squad is, of course, time.   The author has managed to incorporate post-modern elements (the PowerPoint chapter and footnotes) without being annoying or precious.

My rating:  ***** (out of 5)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Foreign Bodies" by Cynthia Ozick

Author Cynthia Ozick says that this book is a photographic negative of The Ambassadors by Henry James.  I've never read that book, but this one is about Bea Nightingale, who re-connects with her overbearing brother Marvin who wants her to travel to Paris and convince his son Julian to return to the United States.  She travels to Paris to find Julian married to a displaced person who Bea at first believes to be taking advantage of Julian but comes to believe is a good match for him.  Bea also re-connects with her ex-husband, a composer, who has left a grand piano in her apartment for the 20-some years they've been divorced.  She takes control of her life by getting rid of all signs of that piano.

My rating:  **** (out of 5)

X-mas Gloves

Pattern:  http://www.freevintageknitting.com/mittens/617-gloves-pattern.html

Yarn:  Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Heilo

I made these gloves for my male Korean ESL student.  I completed the first glove and thought it looked too large, so I did the second glove only up through the palm.  Then I gave it to him on the needles last week so I could see what adjustments I needed.  Fortunately, I only had to shorten two fingers by about 1/2 inch.  I'll give the completed gloves to him on Monday when we meet for our tutoring session.

I'm also making a pair for myself from the same pattern, so am a little tired of this pattern.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Nicole Krauss' book "Great House" is about remembering.  It takes the form of 8 short stories about four people who have owned a large, multi-drawered desk at one time or another.  The desk was originally owned by a Jewish family in Hungary prior to World War II and eventually makes its way back to that same family.  I didn't like the book as much as I'd expected to.  Wish I'd had time to re-read it, but I have another book that is due back at the library in a week.

My rating:  *** (out of 5)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My First Shawl

Pattern:  Show Your Colors Shawl

Yarn:  Andean Lace

Needles:  U.S. 4

This is my first lace pattern and I'm quite pleased with it.  I'm not exactly a shawl person, so don't know how much use the garment will actually get.  This was a very simple pattern.  I did much of it at knit night and on an airplane, so distractions were not a big problem with this knitting.  I'm happy with it, but if I were making another shawl, I'd find a pattern with neck shaping so that the shawl doesn't scrunch up around the back of the neck.