Tag Archives: Reading challenge 2020

Little boys and baby girls…..

October seemed to come and go quite quickly. Not a huge amount of anything was done except wonder if and when things would take a turn for the better and life would become more free and easy (in other words we’d be free from restrictions). The garden started to come alive so there was a bit of pottering done and rainy days meant there was a fair bit of reading done

As far as knitting went I actually had something else in mind but decided it easier to fish out a WIP (work in progress) and finish something‘simple and straightforward’ rather than get crotchety trying to work out increases & decreases at the same time as keeping different colours under control so plain and simple with easy stripes it was. A simple boat neck ….no designated back or front …..which means an ‘independent 2 yr old’ is able to ‘dress themselves’. Who else remembers the “me do it” stage??

After a conversation with a very excited younger (going to be a grandma) friend last week I’ve begun something much smaller and a lot more subdued in colour. Her daughter (mother to be) wants her newborn baby girl’s clothing to be soft (and girly??) so at her insistence soft pale colours it will be and as she’s not a knitter herself I was asked to make several cardigans as well as something like an old fashioned matinee coat, not lacy like feather and fan but plainer…I met up with ‘Grandma’ in an allowed meeting in the park where she looked over a selection of patterns and this (bottom left corner) is what we’ve agreed on. ‘Grandma’ will look at cardigan patterns another day and (all being well) Babe’s not due till May so there’s no hurry 😊

Feather and Fan stitch is often referred to as Old Shale – poking around on the net I found this article that disputes that and shows the reason why. I’m sure many knitters will find it interesting. The comments on the post are interesting reading also. Feather and Fan versus Old Shale

I’m between books at the moment. Actually it’s more like I’m‘book’d out’. The last one I read was The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a coming of age for the main character, a look at life in rural 1870’s Florida. Maybe it was the patter of speech used…..written and spelt as spoken, set in 1870’s Florida it wore me out trying to concentrate. I’ve read lots of books written in dialect but none so taxing as this one.

Better luck next time eh ??

Yarn Along can be found at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.
Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

Yarn Along (October)

So what have I made this month past……..a bit like the month before, not a lot!

I seem to have spent an awful lot of time trying to solve this ‘problem’ of not being able to read let alone comment on some Blogspot/Blogger blogs.
Safari….which is default for iPads lets me in but those blogs didn’t seem to ’recognise’ me….any comments just went off into outer space.
So …following the recommendation of another blogger….I downloaded Opera and all seemed well.
Well blow me down if Blogger has now come out and told me it doesn’t support Opera!
So… I’ve downloaded Firefox in the hope that will do the job……but if you haven’t seen or heard from me in a little while and it continues that way…there’s your answer.
Fngers crossed that’s the end of it….though I’m wondering if the New Blogger people are talking about is possibly part of the problem

Anyway, after having brought it out of hiding I actually tackled some more of The Golfer’s sampler but did very little knitting- well little compared to what I’ve done in previous months.
These newborn hats and bootees were finished and I was all prepared to do more but…..

After checking Marianna’s babbbity pattern decided I had enough of both colours to do some mix and match.
Decision made, I set to and came up with a couple of very easy to knit newborn jackets in different colour ways to put together with the hat and bootees. On reflection they do look a bit dark so I’ll leave it up to the charity to decide what will go with what….they may have some things in paler colours to team with them and soften the look.


I’m getting towards the end of my reading challenge, polishing off 5 during September, (obviously that’s the reason for less knitting last month) and now have these two waiting in line. A very old 1946 copy of Kipps (H.G.Wells) found on the book table at Probus in February…….lol someone was obviously having a clear out 😊

The other one is Quicksilver (Neal Stephenson, an unknown to me author) chosen by title only…..letter Q titles are few and far between so it was ‘ ooh that’ll do’ when I saw it on a Goodreads list. Very historical, historical fiction. My face sort of dropped when it arrived In the box from the library….it’s huge – over 900 pages (with tiny print). Then I realised it was all three volumes of the trilogy! Phew!

I’m not sure which I’ll tackle read first.
Maybe read them in tandem- one century here….one century there.😊

It’s the first Wednesday of the month which means it’s ‘Show and Tell’ time better known as Yarn Along over at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.

X Marks the spot

Rustling around in the box of books out in the garage and discovered this old one. No idea when or why it came into the house but look….it’ll be ideal for that challenge. You know the single word one I got myself into at the beginning of the year. There was I thinking X was going to be a hard one to find and it was sitting there right under my nose all the time!
Not sure about the genre though…..sci fi isn’t the norm here….but we’ll give it a go!


Thinking about the letter X – the third most rarely used letter in the English language- I found this online:-
X is typically a sign for the compound consonants [ks]; or sometimes when followed by an accented syllable beginning with a vowel, or when followed by silent h and an accented vowel [ɡz] (e.g. exhaust, exam); usually [z] at the beginnings of words (e.g. xylophone, Xenon), and in some compounds keeps the [z] sound, as in (e.g. meta-xylene). It also makes the sound [kʃ] in words ending in -xion (typically used only in British-based spellings of the language; American spellings tend to use -ction).
It can also represent the sounds [ɡʒ] or [kʃ], for example, in the words luxury and sexual, respectively. Final x is always [ks] (e.g. ax/axe) except in loan words such as faux (see French, below).
In abbreviations, it can represent “trans-” (e.g. XMIT for transmit, XFER for transfer), “cross-” (e.g. X-ing for crossing; XREF for cross-reference), “Christ” (e.g. Xmas for Christmas; Xian for Christian), the “Crys” in Crystal (XTAL), or various words starting with “ex” (e.g. XL for extra large; XOR for exclusive-or).
There are very few English words that start with X – the least amount of any letter. Many of the words that do start with X are either standardized trademarks (XEROX) or acronyms (XC).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X

Once you’ve read that you will realise X is an unusual letter to say the least….

Many people over 18 here in Australia would know of this though

XXXX (pronounced fourex) is a brand of Australian beer brewed in Milton, Brisbane by Queensland brewers, Castlemaine Perkins. It enjoys wide popularity in the state of Queensland and is commonly found on-tap in most Queensland pubs and bars.

Then theres that saying 
X marks the spot

Supposedly from British army officers pinning a piece of paper 
with X on it to the chest of someone about to be executed

But could also come from 
a myriad of places …..a game show

something the Hubble Telescope saw
or 
even a spot on a map
(like a pirates’s treasure map)

but the our family is really interested in is this recently discovered one
The one The Golfer’s Great Grandmother Julia made
when she registered his Grandfather’s birth in 1878

These days we take reading and writing as a norm
but evidently from what we see on this copy of the birth certificate
Dh’s ancestor was unable to write her name
so made her mark (signature) with an X

I certainly hope she would be pleased with the standard of education available for all children these days whether they live in the city or country village as she did.


Have you made any new discoveries recently? Are you surprised to learn about lack of education in your family?

Short and Sweet…..

This challenge I set myself of reading books with one word titles has been interesting.
They’ve come from friends, op shops (charity), cruise ships (drop & swap), book clubs, a box in the garage and of course the library.
There’s been some newish releases…..others oldish as in middle of last century. Because it was the title that mattered I’ve read some previously unknown authors.
The content has been very different – like I said I’ve looked at the title not the back of the book
Recent ones have included……

  1. Heaven – Victoria (V.C.) Andrews ……about a young girl who’s mother died, her stepmother died, then her father sold her and the other children, there’s her ‘first love’, life with her ‘new family’ and the quest to find her sisters and brothers as well.
  2. Promise – Tony Cavanaugh…… has a retired Victorian homocide cop solving what seem like young ‘runaway’ murders but are actually ‘snatches’ up in Noosa. Lots of detailed descriptions of the crimes also the thinking and planning by the murderer.
  3. Yesternight – Cat Winters….. set in 1920s, a child psychologist employed by an education dept comes to ‘test’ children in a very small one room school. She actually there under false pretences to interview one of the students who ‘has episodes where she believes she lived a previous life’. As well as the main storyline about the child and reincarnation, it covers social issues such as attitudes to women’s sexuality, feminism, job discrimination, problems of returned servicemen.

All the previous books have been set in modern days and written in language I could understand….no grabbing a dictionary or looking up online needed.
‘The long awaited box’ from the library arrived the other day with another one to go towards the challenge. I’d taken to looking in the catalogue for books beginning with xxxxx and came up with this one for V…….Voss by Patrick White written in 1957, set in 1840s Sydney about a ‘secret passion’ between an explorer and a young women.
Now I don’t shy from a challenge but I think it’s going to be a ‘long’ read, the language is ‘set to the time period’, filled with old fashioned rarely used words and phrases. This is what confronted me on page 1

It was now the young woman’s duty to give some order.  In the end she would perform that duty with authority and distinction, but she did always hesitate at first. She would seldom come out of herself for choice, for she was happiest shut with her own thoughts, and such was the texture of her marble, few people ever guessed at these.

It took me a little while to understand what was meant by the texture of her marble.
First ‘never heard of it before’ phrase I came across was hugger-mugger. Confused- jumbled – muddled.
Which is obviously not that unknown because blow me down if Helen doesn’t use it in her latest post at The Venomous Bead
Yes I’m thinking this book will be read in short bursts in between others 😊.

It’s Wednesday

Yes it’s Wednesday again, the first Wednesday in a new month,
The first Wednesday in September 2020.
Which means it is the first Wednesday in Spring

A wonderful Wednesday 😊

It also means it’s been a whole month since I last spoke of any knitting I’d done. Truth be told there’s not a lot actually been done. I finished off the teddies and the fingerless mittens and that was it for a couple of weeks. These little crossover cardigans are always welcome for the mothers’ and babies packs so I set to and finished the pink one in a couple of days…..and it shows. I know it was acrylic yarn I’d had for a while but I’m definitely not happy with how it looks. It might look neater after a very light blocking…..that remains to be seen. Hopefully the blue has knit up more evenly.

An ‘old style’ crossover cardigan for newborns very similar to the one my ‘firstborn son’ wore many (many) years ago.


This is the book it came from….just another from my stack of favourite tried and true pattern books. Look at the way the mother has been portrayed….I wonder how many of us sat around in a floating nylon negligee cooing over a baby in a cradle. Some might of…..I was too ‘busy’ trying to catch up on precious sleep or taking advantage of a sleeping baby by pegging washing on the line 😊

And for some reason my reading slowed down.
I’m waiting for a new ‘delivery’ of library books so rummaged through a pile out in the garage discovering an old 1993 Anita Shreve….Where or When....like Rebecca last month its ‘time in the sun’ has arrived lol.
It’s been a very long time since I read her….hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

Of course being the first Wednesday of the month means it’s ‘Show and Tell’ time better known as Yarn Along over at Ginny’s. Do pop over to small things to see what others have worked on this past month.

What’s on the table….

The table beside your chair that is.  The one with the books on😊

Three newish releases picked in the frantic rush at the library the day before lockdown2…….plus one that’s been on a shelf here at home for quite a few years.


Two I’ve just finished:-
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier.
Rebecca was delightful, a real surprise. A love story with a mystery attached. Old fashioned writing when compared to modern day styles……maybe that’s why I enjoyed it. Wordy, so it had to be read slowly…..to be absorbed chapter by chapter.

Book blurb:- …….our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives
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Transcription – Kate Atkinson
This was another surprise…..set during WW2, described as an espionage thriller I expected something a bit deep and maybe gruesome at times. It was light and easy to read yet if you are of a certain age filled with recognisable truths of how things were. It takes a young ‘naive’ girl, gives her a position as a typist eventually turning her a spy. Filled with humour (droll witty asides) almost farcical at times (I know the author didn’t intend it that way but I could see it set on the stage) follows the main character’s life through the ‘40s & ‘50s …..then to the twist that comes at the end. This I would definitely recommend.

Book blurb:- …….Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever.

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There’s the one I’m reading at the moment:-
Good Girl Bad Girl – Michael Robotham
I’ve only just started this – so far so good. Easy to read, lots of dialogue, it does jump from ‘case to case’ but not annoyingly so. Which is to be expected because they are running side by side not now and in the distant past. Chapters devoted to one of the characters giving her side of the story are written in italics.

Book blurb:- ……forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure…….Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home……Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. 

And the one I’ll follow up with:- Which I should just be able to finish by the end of the month.
Nine Elms – Robert Bryndza

Book blurb:- Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.

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So there we have my sum total of reading for August……down from the usual amount read any other August spent in the winter sunshine. Two I can tick off my yearly challenge…….one word titles – two were ‘grab & go’ picks off the shelf…..but fairly new releases, as luck would have it first books in new serIes.

What have you been reading during August
I’d be interested to hear if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were.

Now for something different……

Wouldn’t it be great to say I’d done something different – unfortunately here in Victoria it’s still the same ol’ same ol’…….well that’s not quite true but it’s too involved to try and explain 😒

We have to look on the bright side though and I’m sure that in a few months time we’ll be able to do something different……again.

Mind you, over the last couple of weeks I did find something to do that I hadn’t done for a while – I put the ‘big boys’ knitting to one side and had a go at these…..again

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trawling through some older parts of the blog turned up this post from 2018 which along with this one from 2012 reminded me that giving should be fun……not just knitting from one end of the row to the other.

A couple of little Teds, and what look like squares which (if you follow the instructions in the 2012 post) will turn into basic fingerless mittens, are keeping me occupied at the moment.

I’m still feeling the disappointment of my last read so decided that it was time for one of those ‘I really should read this sometime’ books ……one that after being rescued from an op shop has been lying neglected on a shelf here at home for years.

So far so good, after a ‘strange’ courtship Maxim and his new wife have just arrived at Manderley. Small (tiny) print means it’s daytime reading, I have to concentrate so it’ll be read (and savoured) in small doses. Decisions Decisions – oh what to do….. read or knit. I suppose finishing Ted’s faces would definitely be a start 🙂

Ginny from Small Things hosts a monthly meme called Yarn Along  Sort of a ‘show and tell’ featuring the knitting and reading you’ve been doing recently. Do pop over and see what others have been up to.

Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t……

Have you ever wanted something to happen but the more you keep hoping the less it seems to be happening.

I’m always looking for book recommendations, open to suggestions like ‘this is a good read or even a great read’, sometimes I react the same way as the person who gave it, sometimes I don’t.  Recently  I couldn’t get the actual novel recommended and because lockdown restrictions meant I couldn’t come and go as I wanted I plumped for another by the same author (an enjoyable read according to the blogger)…….now I wish I’d waited until the original choice became available at the library.

The Holiday – T. M. Logan

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday – a group of families enjoying a week together in the sun. Four women who have been best friends for as long as they can remember making the most of a luxurious villa in the south of France.

But Kate has a secret: her husband is having an affair. And a week away might just be the perfect opportunity to get the proof she needs – to catch him in the act once and for all. Because she suspects the other woman is one of her two best friends.

Oh dear, such a slow tedious start, too many characters each with their own back stories, too confusing, too many revelations and secrets in each and every chapter.                          Strange ending.

This was one that I didn’t enjoy – Lets just leave it at that 😊

 

Who said that…..

It seems strange that the next book I picked up from my TBR pile is this one by Geraldine Brooks.

“An historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe, on the front lines of the American Civil War.  March, an idealistic abolitionist,has gone as chaplain to serve the Union cause. But the war tests his faith not only in the Union—which is also capable of barbarism and racism—but in himself. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness, March must reassemble and reconnect with his family, who have no idea of what he has endured.

Considering all the recent and ongoing problems in the world (discounting the virus) this is almost topical.  Relating to a time when it seems men were men and women were women  (and not all were equal) it covers history I’m not too familiar with.

We learn’t a small amount at school but didn’t go into depth – ask me about kings, queens and relevant battles of the British Isles and I probably would have the answer, unfortunately the whys and wherefores of American history are a  mystery.

Yes I know it is about a fictional character …..the absent father from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women…….taking that aside maybe I’ll ‘learn a little’ from reading it.

It’s been a while since I actually read Little Women although I’ve seen big and little screen versions which maybe glamorised the whole period but I loved the thought of sisters banding together helping their mother, worrying about their father, tolerating the rich aunt, doing good deeds, falling in love, accepting sickness.and gaining a little bit of independence.

So when I found this quiz online …..me,  usually wary of this sort of stuff, had a go; I didn’t get all the answers correct but then as I said it’s been a while and my memory isn’t quite what it used to be 🙂

Little Women – Which March sister said it

Why don’t you have a go and see if you remember the dialogue from the ‘well loved book’

Oh, and lovers of Mr Darcy and The Bennet sisters might be interested in this

Pride and Prejudice – Which Bennet said it

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Today is Friday – so lets have some Friday Fun with a Fun Quiz just right for the day we set aside to forget all the worries of the week

Don’t forget to tell me how you went!

What ya reading Wednesday….

I saw this little ‘poster’ online somewhere and felt it summed up the past few weeks.

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As well as spending a good bit of my time recently with needles in my hand and chasing up long lost ancestors …..I ‘discovered’ another sister of one of my GT Grandmothers…..there has always a book close at hand for quiet moments when I wanted to retreat from all the ongoing madness.

Two that I read were written by new to me authors  – well not new in that I had never heard of them – just new in that I’d never read any of their works before.  And just by chance both books were the authors’ first novels and also the first in a series.

Jo Nesbø -The Bat

Book Blurb:-  Detective Harry Hole Is meant to keep out of trouble.  A young Norwegian girl on a gap year in Sydney has been murdered and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can…..when the team unearths a string of unsolved murders nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth.

Such an easy read, Harry Hole sent to observe but becomes involved.   It starts slowly but moves along dramatically/ violently/ humourously even at times- twisting and turning to a very surprising end.  Introduces the reader to Harry’s past which influences his present.  The other characters (the police he is working with) were very Australian, their language full of local expressions,  not quite what he was used to and the more he learns about the first death the more he unearths about previous killings giving him reasons to become more involved in finding the killer.

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Michael Robotham – Suspect/The Suspect

Book Blurb:- Joseph O’Loughlin appears to have the perfect life- a beautiful wife, a loving daughter and a successful career as a clinical psychologist.  But nothing can be taken for granted.  Even the most flawless existence is only a loose thread away from unravelling.  All it takes is a murdered girl, a troubled patient and the biggest lie of his life. 

If I’d known I’d be reading the same story twice I might have thought twice about actually reading this book.  The thing is it was what made the book what it was.

A really good read!

The first chapter certainly draws you in – meeting the main character on a window ledge trying to talk someone out of jumping!  Later he becomes involved in what appeares to be the murder of a prostitute but is actually someone he knew a few years previously.  Add that to the fact he’s recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the book is off and running.  It follows his daily life seeing patients- one in particular is marked in his mind as the killer but after a conversation with the investigating police officer it’s he who becomes the suspect.  Cue part two!

After his arrest the ‘story’ is rewritten – same people places with different dialogue, thoughts, reasoning and explanations.  Of course Joe O’Loughlin is innocent, he proves the one he suspected is guilty in a very surprising ending.

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Have any of you read either of these books?  I’m hoping the library reopens soon as I’d like to order more of these authors works/series.

Until then I’m plodding through the large pile here at home.  Next in line are two from my ‘give the girls a go‘ idea.

The Hunters Wife – Kathleen Scholes

Daughters of Australia – Harmony Verna

 

What ya reading Wednesday….

Unlike some of my coffee drinking friends, my very good friend the librarian didn’t think I was strange when she heard about my reading challenges for this year. ‘Are you up for another one?’ she asked, ‘do you mind what genre the books are?.  If not I’ll keep my eye  open for some you might be interested in’

I had two recommendations for an A and a B one word title sent in an email- put them on hold please I replied.

The first one Alice by Christine Henry  is described as:- A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll

Book Blurb :-  In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

So then it was on to the second one Bliss by Peter Carey

Book Blurb:- This novel, by the author of Oscar and Lucinda, tells the story of a man who, recovering from death, is convinced that he is in hell. For the first time in his life, Harry Joy sees the world as it really is, and takes up a notebook to explore and notate the true nature of the Underworld.

i saw one classed as Horror/Fantasy – the other as Satire/Black Humour in the form of literature.

Both arrived the other day but I haven’t picked them up yet,  I’m trying to finish off my February female first 😊

How about you.  Are you reading anything out of the ordinary ?

Giving the girls a go….

Each January for the past few years (just for the fun of it) I’ve been giving myself little reading challenges. Not an original idea I know but things like A to Z of author’s surnames or A to Z of book titles (sometimes known as the Alphabet Soup Challenge)  Among other things,  last year was about trying to finish more books from series I’d begun…..finally getting to the last of the Ann Cleeves Shetland series was one.  If you’d like to see what I’ve read over the past few years I’ve gathered all the previous ‘books read pages’ together and placed them in a seperate page which you can find up there under the header picture.

And this is last years in a different format – https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2019

This year I’ve decided it’s all about the titles!

Trying to find books with one word titles corresponding to letters of the alphabet is going to be fun – following on and extending that theme I thought The *plus* titles would also be fun.  Just by luck I found two in the ship’s library that fit the bill – Devotion (Louisa Young) and The Disappeared (M.R. Hall) both quick reads which meant that where ‘that’ challenge is concerned I’m off and running at a good rate of knots 😊

But what I’m really excited about is Giving the Girls a Go!

Reading books with a description of a female status in the title!  There seem to be more and more of them in the library catalogue so I’m aiming for one a month…12 in all.

I read The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter ( Hazel Gaynor) last week so that’s January taken care of 😊

A tale of two women and their involvement with lighthouses about a century apart.  Two stories with lots of twists and turns linking each to the other.  Lots of social statements on female roles and current (at the relevant time) attitudes to ‘the way things were’  Good read!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Kate Morton) has been sitting on a shelf here at home for a few months now. It’s another of the Historical Fiction genre I enjoy, I’ve set it aside for February and as it’s a fairly thick book it might take me most of the month to finish.l

 

I know there are lots of books about Mothers, Sisters, Nieces, Wives and Widows out there  so there’s  bound to be one for each month of the year!

Do you plan your reading or do you just go with the ‘pick a book any book’ method?