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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

socratic

Hemlock Ring in progress.  I learned Emily Ocker's circular cast-on via this tutorial yesterday morning, and it's very neat!  The blanket's speeding along so far, thanks to a fresh crop of Miss Marple episodes on the DVR.  
Julia McKenzie is quite good, isn't she?  Not too namby-pamby.  The production values on the last two seasons of Miss Marple and Poirot on Mystery have been such an improvement -- striking camera angles, great sets, colors that pop.  Very visual in a way that the old ones simply weren't.
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I've been racing through books lately.  I just don't feel like myself when I don't make some time to read novels.  There's something valuable about reading fiction that helps me approach problems from different angles and consider other points of view.  Two highlights:


The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters
Post WWII, a country doctor befriends the Ayres family at Hundreds Hall.  Landed gentry, the Ayres are struggling to keep up a crumbling old pile, and the financial and emotional strains, as well as their increasing isolation from the social circle in which they once flew, are getting to them.  Waters reinvents the Gothic novel, pitting logic and science against emotion.  The real thing to watch here is the narrator, though.  Unlike Waters' other novels, the plot is very linear, building slowly.


Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
Born from an illicit union between a nun and a brilliant but emotionally stunted surgeon, twins Marion and Shiva Stone grow up in a cross-cultural household in Ethiopia, raised by doctors at Missing Hospital.  This compelling story about family, love, and betrayal is set in a tumultuous time in African history, and the setting really shapes the book.  It may sound a little melodramatic, but it's a great read.

15 comments:

barefootrooster said...

ooh! yours looks great! and thanks for the reading recommendations!

Valerie said...

Funny pairing "Hemlock" with murder mysteries. I'm not wild about Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple....she seems a little dense. I liked Geraldine McEwan better.

However, David Suchet is a household hero around our house. The newer Poirot's are very interesting. They just aired the new Murder on the Orient Express on Sunday night...very different. Am not sure what to think of the spiritual/religious side of Poirot that they introduced. Also, if you get a chance PBS ran a documentary of David Suchet out of character, riding the present day Orient Express. Very cool.

Loved Cuttting for Stone!

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I love the Julia McKenzie Miss Marples! Of course she was the first one I saw and I think that makes a difference. We've been watching bunches of Nero Wolfe with Timothy Hutton and Maury Chakin. Summers and mysteries seem to go together so well.

brokeknits said...

The Hemlock looks lovely! And I'm glad to hear that you like the new Miss Marples ... I might have to give them another try.

Chris said...

There's definitely something about watching tv that moves knitting right along, isn't there?

sula said...

Thanks for the TV and book rec's! Maybe it's what I need to get my knit on again. I'm anxious to see your hemlock ring, too.

Rose said...

I like how you described one benefit of reading fiction. It sums up what I know but haven't articulated nearly as well. My husband reads non-fiction and doesn't see the "point" of fiction; I believe I will steal your statement and quote it at him, if I may?

peaknits said...

The Hemlock Circle will be so fabulous! Thank you for the book tips!

Helen (Fuss Free Flavours) said...

I am itching to cast on a blanket but am not quite sure which it needs to be.

Possibly Girasole? Nott a hemlock. I have made 2 F&F blankets and cannot face another - but then again they do look so pretty.

Decisions decisions...

Carrie #K said...

Isn't that Emily Ocker cast on fabulous? Can't wait to see your Hemlock!

I do like the new Miss Marple - she doesn't actually knit enough but she does reference it nicely.

雲亨雲亨雲亨 said...
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Andi said...

I love the color you chose for you Girasole. Can't wait to see the finished project! Miss Marples is the best, I love that series.

jane said...

Love your hemlock ring - that's beautiful. And I think I actually have a copy of Cutting for Stone, so I must read it, especially since I'm going to be spending a bit of time in Ethiopia this summer. The Little Stranger is already on my must-read-soon list, I'm a sucker for an interesting narrator so I can't wait to pick it up. THanks for the reviews!

Sharon said...

Cutting for Stone keeps coming up all over the place - actually starting with Valerie. It's sounds depressing but I may have to read it anyway. It's not like Yellow Raft in Blue Water "wasn't" depressing. I caved and bought the Knit Pick needles kit and loved it so much that I also just ordered it for my DIL's birthday.

I belong to a book club where I seem to be the only Kindless person. Are you tempted??

kim said...

Your Hemlock Ring is looking amazing. Every time I see one of these, I think I want to make one. I don't know why I find them so daunting. Then there's the whole thing about my liking blankets to be square. Why must I be suck a freak? Hope you're enjoying your weekend.