Category Archives: Reading

A mystery and a meme, but no tagging

Thank you all so much for your fabulous and sweet comments of yesterday! *sniff* Love you guys.

*collects self*

Ok, in the interest of actually having some knitting content, here’s what I’m working on these days:


What? You can’t tell what it is? Excellent! It’s a secret project, so you shouldn’t be able to figure it out yet. Hopefully it’s at least a bit Project Spectrumesque.

Carrie K tagged me for another book meme. I like book memes. 🙂

Name five of your favourite books, in no particular order. (This is subject to change, depending on what I can remember at any given moment.)
To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis. Come on, it’s science fiction written in the form of a Victorian novel, inspired by Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog! (1889) – what’s not to like? You must keep reading past the first 100 pages, even if you’re confused. The narrator’s confused. You’re in his headspace.

Bellwether by Connie Willis. Light-hearted satire about a trends researcher. There are sheep in it.

Someplace To Be Flying by Charles de Lint. What can I say… I want to be a Crow Girl.

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Not only is it a good read, it takes place in Minneapolis.

The Bee-Keeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I like most of the books in this series. It’s a great take on Sherlock Holmes.

What was the last book you bought?
I bought several books last weekend at Magers & Quinn and Booksmart (about 8 blocks from my condo – I love Uptown, Minneapolis!): Kafka on the Shore, Quicksilver, Separation Anxiety, and Women Who Love Cats Too Much.

What was the last book you read?
Dying to Sell by Maggie Sefton. I thought it was another one of her knitting mysteries when I reserved it at the library. Turns out it’s a realtor mystery and not that great… but I read it anyway. Right now I’m reading S is for Silence by Sue Grafton.

List five books that have been particularly meaningful to you.
Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche by Haruki Murakami. I read this shortly after 9/11 and the parts about terrorism resonated.

Egalia’s Daughters: A Satire of the Sexes by Gerd Brantenberg. Turns some of our basic perceptions of male and female roles topsy turvy and makes very effective points in doing so. I particularly liked “hysterical” being changed to “testerical.”

The Control of Nature by John McPhee. Looks at several places where humans are trying to control nature, including the Mississippi in Louisiana and the mudslide-prone areas in southern California. Written in 1990…

White Noise by Don DeLillo. Nails life in America in these modern times…

Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This is the book that demystified knitting for me.

Name some books you want to read but just haven’t gotten around to yet.
Kafka on the Shore, Quicksilver, Lambs of God, Blue Shoe, Julie and Julia… I could go on and on.

“Hey, I’m just hanging out on my tissue paper, thinking about a snack. Leave me alone. Go find SRM. That might make me less cranky.”

I have crushes on fictional characters…

Yes indeed, I have crushes on some fictional characters. I’m not talking about characters in tv shows or movies, but about characters in books. Characters described by the author, but whose final form exists only in my imagination.

Come on, admit it – if you read, then you do, too.

One of my particular favorites is “Roarke” from the Eve Dallas mysteries by Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Roarke’s a way sexy bazillionaire who lives in NYC, circa 2059. Here’s a description from Origin in Death:

His face – the strength, power, and yes, the beauty of a fallen angel with no regrets – was framed by the thick black of his hair. His mouth – full, carved, irresistible – smiled as he came toward her. And those eyes – impossibly, brilliantly blue…

Ok, that reads a little trashier out of context than in… wait, who am I kidding? Sheesh, it leads to several pages of steaminess. *fans self* Trash all the way, baby.

My other particular favorite is “Ranger” from the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich. (Are you noticing a naming trend here?!) Ranger’s a bounty hunter/man of mystery in Trenton, NJ, described in High Five as follows:

Ranger’s…features are Anglo, his eyes are Latino, his skin is the color of a mocha latte, and his body is as good as a body can get. He had his black hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was wearing a black T-shirt that fit him like a tattoo and black SWAT pants tucked into black high-top boots.

Why, yes, I would be a sucker for the tall, dark, lean, and handsome bad boy type. How’d you guess?

Any fictional favorites you’d care to share? Hmm?

Yes, Virginia, you can read and knit

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I can read and knit at the same time. In the comments, Carrie K gave me an idea for a blog entry on how I accomplish this (thanks again, Carrie!).

Knitting while reading is a skill that, like any other, can be developed – if it’s a skill that interests you. It appealed to me because I don’t watch TV and I got kind of behind on my reading when I started to devote a lot of time to knitting.

Five years ago, when I first started knitting, I would only listen to music without words while I knitted. Then I graduated to music with words and eventually to books on tape (unless the project required a lot of focus). But most of the books that I wanted to read weren’t available on tape or cd from the library.

When I complained about this problem to my knitting friend Lisa from Duluth, she asked why I just didn’t read while I knit. Um, whoa – because I never considered such a thing possible? I was awed by her ability and sure that I could never do that.

But just in case, I picked up a ReadUpon book holder. (No link provided to ReadUpon.com, since they appear to no longer exist, alas.)

The ReadUpon seemed like it would pretty well for holding a book in my lap while I knitted in my comfy chair.

So I grabbed some large print books from the library and decided that I should start with a very simple knitting project – the miles of i-cord I needed to make for felted bag handles.

It wasn’t immediate. I started out looking at my knitting more than I was looking at the book, but slowly was able to look at the book more than my knitting. I quickly graduated from large print books. The second it took to lift a hand from my knitting and flip a page became no big deal. Soon I was able to read virtually anything while I knitted. And I became able to count things in my knitting while I was reading (which must be good for my brain!), so that I could knit more complicated projects while reading.

I still can’t read while I cast on or bind off or do cables or complicated stitches like the woven basket stitch. But ribbing, seed stitch, and some simple lace patterns go ok. And I get a lot more reading done now. But there’s still one large problem…

“Why the heck are you reading and knitting when you should be playing with me?!”

Added later: Now, really – this was meant to be a rough how-to. There’s nothing special about me except that I wanted to be able to do this and I practiced, starting slowly and simply, then working up to more complicated. If you like to read and you like to knit – it’s definitely worth a shot. YOU can do it. Yes, YOU. If not you, than who? 😉