Thursday, June 21, 2012


Okay. It's been two weeks since I last posted and I'm sure you've been wondering what's up. Well. The truth is that the book binge turns out to have been more than just a holiday weekend fling. Back on June 6, I was at 66 books for the year.   Tuesday night I finished book 79. Yep. Thirteen books in two weeks is almost one per day. Which wouldn't be so impressive, except that after 9 hours at work and 2 more commuting plus assorted household and hygenic activities, it doesn't leave a lot of day for reading. (Obviously I had my nose in a book for a good part of the weekends!)

Highlights from the list:

1493 by Charles C. Mann- from which I learned just how much I don't know about Central and South American history. Not to mention the history of agriculture around the world. Basically, it's a book about how globalization has changed the world. Where 'globablization' refers to the exchanges of plants, animals and people that started with the galleon trade in the fifteenth century. And it expands vastly on the Eurocentric view of New World colonization and cracks the cover on the volumes of history of African emigration to North and South America.

Fated by Benedict Dakka- the second Harry-Dresdenesque London urban fantasy in this a way I'm sorry I found them so soon as now I will be stuck waiting for the next one .

Scarecrow Returns by Matthew Reilly (American title- elsewhere in the world it is 'Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves')- which I listened to as an audiobook and enjoyed immensely. I clearly need to get more audiobooks, as they make my commute much easier to bear. And the book (4th in the Scarecrow series) was great fun- a big cinematic over-the-top wildly improbable thriller. My husband read one of the previous ones and gave me his patented, 'what drugs are you on again?' look, but I am unreasonably charmed by Reilly's fast pacing, big explosions, and touches of humor. Like in the first book (Ice Station) where the main character assures a little girl that he won't get killed doing something insanely dangerous. "How can you be sure?" she asks. "I can't die," he explains, "I'm the hero of this story. "

London Under by Peter Ackroyd This was rather slight, but it takes a survey of all the things buried underneath London- from rivers and streams to the thousands of years of history to the cables, tunnels and sewers that make the city work. It's the sort of thing that would make any imaginative child- or grownup- wonder about the fantastical things that lurk just beneath the surface of the world we see.

And I finished Catching Fire and Mockingjay, the last two books of the Hunger Games trilogy. Which were very well paced and compelling. I can see why they're popular, but I'd describe them as an allegory of teenage life, rather than science fiction. Generally, the worldbuilding makes very little sense. Now- that having been said, I read the last two in a single evening, and enjoyed them.

Which is not to say I have done nothing but read in the last two weeks. My parents came up Saturday for a pre-Father's Day lunch, and I spent a whirlwind morning in the kitchen making a green salad, a potato salad, a big batch of homemade granola (that was for a gift), and a mince pie to go along with the grilled steak kabobs my husband cooked for lunch. It was gorgeous- sunny but cool and breezy and we ate out on the deck. Delightful.

And so you can see that I come by my mechanical inclinations honestly, my dad left with us a huge trove of erector set parts. Being my dad, he of course had to try them out first:

(Those are a Ferris wheel and a drawbridge.  Both motorized and working.  Plus three large boxes of additional building materials. I believe my husband's plan is to check them out thoroughly and then pass them on to our nephews when the boys are a bit older.)

And my mom brought me some beautiful yarn (from a yard sale, I think). It looks like handspun wool to me- and more to the point, smells like it, too. Biscuit and I wound it it into balls after my mom left.

Biscuit turns out to be a cat of exceptional taste in fiber, since he kept trying to roll on the yarn and was in general way more excited about the handspun than he usually gets about commercial fibers.

I went to the local knitting group:
(Here are, from left to right; Karen, Barbara and Kali...all delightful knitters of taste and discernment.)

I finished the Mexiko Spring Socks:

I cast on a pair of Karisma mittens, just for a change from all the plain mittens I've been doing:

I have continued painstakingly stitching the zipper into my sweater. Between books. (It's coming along, but still has some work left.)

And I have studiously neglected the sewing, so my sleeveless top has made no progress. But it has turned quite hot, so perhaps that will motivate me to finish it up so I can wear it.

And last but not least, I have watched the cats. They have been exceedingly playful this week and have requested toys at frequent intervals. (Cookie goes to the closet where the toys are kept, squeaks, and rubs against the door. Perfectly clear.) Possibly the wildlife has been getting them all hot and bothered--they were birdwatching the other day with dedicated attention. For a while the tails were swishing back and forth, perfectly synchronized.

There has also been a lot of sprawling due to the heat:

And now....who knows what I'll be doing? Certainly not me! But there's a book sale this evening, so it's possible the reading binge will continue.


  1. Books, yarn, and erector sets--that sounds like a fantastic couple of weeks to me!!!!

  2. I need to go find me a copy of that 1493, to start with--thank you!

  3. Glad you had such a nice visit with your 'rents. I can see where you get your hands-on approach to life! As for the dropoff in productivity, I'm of the opinion that late spring/early summer is a perfect time for a knitting slowdown. (Why, yes, I *may* be speaking from repeated personal experience!) The socks are too cute, the mittens are a glorious example of cabling, and the reading pace is impressive.