Friday, February 20, 2009

Six Things that Make Me Happy

Tagged from Tamara of Books by TJBaff

The rules for the tag are simple.

Link to the person who has tagged you.
Write down six things that make you happy.
Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did it.
Then tell the person when your entry is complete.

Six Things That Make Me Happy...

1. The laughter of young children
2. My family
3. Music, especially that really old country and southern gospel
4. Beautiful Wool and Books
5. The Fall and smell of leaves on the ground
6. Special times with Close Friends

I could go on and on and on, but it says only six!

I tag beckerbuns ( Becky) - live journal
jessiebud ( shelley)- live journal
the joys of knitting (joy) - blogspot
insert clever saying here (jenny) live journal
eclectic closet (Janelle) - blogspot
morsiereads (Karen) - blogspot

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Book Thief

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Copyright 2005
550 pages


It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Thoughts

To begin with this is classed as a Young Adult novel. I don't usually enjoy Young Adult reads and after reading this I would have to disagree about its classification (only my opinion) and suggest that I would not recommend it for a twelve year old even though it states for readers from 12 years old and up.

Nonetheless, this was a totally awesome read and will definitley be a hard book to top. Even with the year being new and many hours left to lose myself in books yet discovered, I can't help but think that I have already read one of my top reads for 2009 if not the best.

The narrator of the story is "Death" (yet not a scary or cruel character as we often think death is) makes an early appearance when the book thief's little brother dies on a train that a bunch of people marked as communists have been herded onto. Liesel (the book thief) commits her first theft at her brothers grave site. It does not matter that she can not read or that she has no idea why she does this act. She conceals her treasure even as she is dropped at her new fostor home on Himmel St. Liesel has an immediate connection with her fostor dad, a kind man that plays the accordian, paints houses and teaches Liesel to read but it much slower to warm up to her fostor mom who reacts with harsh words and more restrained emotions. It was nice to see a character placed in a kind fostor home rather then the usual horrid conditions we read about.

Through the years "Death" collects many souls and gives us his point of view on society and what people will do to help others and what some will directly or indirectly do against their fellow man. Death does not revel in his position, but carries out his duties often with a heavy heart.

I felt this was not so much a story of the Holocaust but a tale about society and the power and use /misuse of words. Leisel uses her knowledge of language to improve herself and shares her gift of reading with others. In contrast Hitler uses his power of speech to to brain wash much of a nation.

The human spirit is strong throughout this story. "Death" is not to be feared so much as the interaction between human kind.

Though not necessarily a happy read, I found myself laughing and aching with the characters as I grew to love them. What more could an author want but to know that he moved the emotions of his readers - truly a must read.

PS - I don't feel the synopsis at the beginning of the post showed the depth of this novel.

4.5 stars out of 5.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More on "Coventry"

I'm still thinking about this story and now realize that I didn't post about a very special part of the book for me.

pg 110 - 111 "She wants to know if the world in which she lives, this place she is using herself up everyday, will remember anything of her.Will the buildings that she has carefully studied, walked through, touched-will they recall her footsteps, the weight of her body on the steps, the smooth flat of her hand on the banister? Will the cobblestones hold her footfall? Will the river of rain remember the shape of her body?"

My sister lives in a house that is over 125 years old. The house has its original wood plank flooring, huge thick banisters, tall floor to ceiling pocket doors that separate rooms, and I cant help but find myself always wondering about the people, the families that have come before her in this house. About how they must have lived and cared for their property. Their kids running up and down the stairs, hands gripping and sliding along the beautiful banisters. These are thoughts that occupy my mind.

Also, I have a favorite place that my family has vacationed at since at least 1940. My granddad (I never knew him) was also chief of police in this town and I have been told stories of how he upheld the law in those days. More importantly, especially now that my dad is gone, when there I found myself thinking about how I was sitting on the rocks that my family have climbed and played on for many decades, the sand that we all ran through and played in, the cottages that held all our memories, both happy and sad. It gives me a warm feeling to know that I am physically touching a part of the past that holds imprints of my loved ones both here and gone.

Maybe a sentimental old fool (lol) but I love stuff like this.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Favorite Holiday Knit of 2008

I did very little knitting (as presents) this past holiday season. Last year I bit off way more then I could chew(knit)!! I had a couple requests for hats during the holiday so now Im under the gun to complete them in the next three days. Guess I should be casting on instead of blogging but I really wanted to post the pictures of my sis in the "Marina" vest I made her for Christmas. I think it turned out great and the colours suit her perfectly (IMHO). So without further ado I give you Heather and her "Marina" vest.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The First of the New Year

It has been many months since I sat to blog about reading, knitting, and life. I have decided that I am going to be more diligent this year. So here is my first of many.

Book # 1 "Coventry" by Helen Humphreys

This was a very quick read (uncorrected proof that I borrowed from my friend Michele). I have read a fair bit of this Canadian author. Not only is she Canadian but she also lives in "my neck of the woods"Ontario!!

In the past I have enjoyed such titles as "The Lost Garden"(my favorite), "Afterimage", and "Wild Dogs". This book was not a disappointment, in fact after "The Lost Garden" this is now my favorite. Both of these books were centered in England during the World Wars of the past Century. A time and place that both intrigue me.

Coventry is not only the story of November 14, 1940 - the infamous German bombing raid that reduced Coventry to almost nothing, but also the story of two women Harriet and Maeve and a young man named Jeremy.

The book starts with a little history about the lives of Harriet and Maeve and their chance meeting during the early days of World War I. But, it is the night in November of 1940 that cements their lives together for ever more.

I would give this book a solid 3.5 out of 5.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Quick Catch UP

WOW, over 3 months since I have made a post. Still reading and knitting just have not taken the time to journal about any of it. Since my last post I have read about 11 books and finished quite a few knitting projects. I will have to look and see how to post them in a journal post.

A few of the books I have read are: Night by Elie Wiesel (excellent), The Mistress's Daughter by A. M. Homes(disappointing), Drunk divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry (cute knitting read), Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch (good), The Girl Who TStopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson (an ok read), Garden Spells by Sarah Addison (great new writer with her second book out in hardcover right now), The Me I Used To BE by Jennifer Archer (I was surprised how harlequins have changed over the years, this was good), Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (not his best work but definatly worth the read), Lottery by Patricia Wood (great story), and A Hidden Life by Adele Geras (average story). Phew, most of these are journaled on my bookshelf. Im almost finished "The Ballad Of Typhoid Mary" by J. F, Federspiel. A book that I tried to read years ago but left if at work and someone took it!! The very sweet MsJoanna from bookcrossing found another copy and sent it to me. This book has been out of print for some time and very hard to get your hands on. More later, Im off to read and knit.Oh ya, I just looked at how Im doing with my goal of reading the 24 books I picked for this year and I have only read 8 out of the 24 - I better get crackin!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Time Keeps Speeding By

Though I have not posted but once this month, I have been busy reading and knitting. Im finding it hard to be organized this month (ok every month). I have managed to read The Puzzle Bark Tree by Stephanie Gertler. It was a nice gentle read though a little predictable. I also just finished Bound (an uncorrected proof, to be published this month by Harper Collins) by Sally Gunning. This was my first read by this author and I was pleasantly satisfied. Historical Fiction in the mid 1700's in and around Boston and Cape Cod set the scene to tell the story of Alice a young girl of 15 who had been sold to a gentleman by her father after her mother and siblings die on the ocean voyage from England to America. Alice was a likeable character but I really found myself drawn to Freeman and the Widow Berry. Their kindness to Alice and the relationship they shared was inspiring. It's easy to forget that the black slaves were not the only people owned by others that were often less than humane to these unfortunates. I would definately read other books by Sally Gunning.

On the knitting front I have finished Mary Jo's poncho (it is being blocked as I type) and will post some pics shortly. I have started my first sock (knitting it on two circular needles) and I am making a cool looking felted basket for my mom to put her crossword puzzle books and balls of yarn in for Mother's Day. Oh ya, I also completed a cute little felted pillow that I just need to stuff then I will post a pic of that as well. Ok, time has run out and I have to get to work.