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September 2010
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Monday Musings, Tuesday Twitterings, Wednesday Witticisms, Thurs-- oh never mind

Our library system offers ebook downloads. There's even a nice little app for it too.

So far I've spent untold hours trying to get an audiobook to freaking download.

So far, in vain.

Evidently it doesn't support WMA files but only MP3's. So why won't my MP3's download? And isn't the app supposed to support the WMAs? WTH is a WMA anyway? No, don't tell me. At this point, I do not care. Not that it matters, I have something like 400 unlistened to podcasts to listen to and 12ish hour work days for the next week but it's the principle.

Blog pix 1765 Elizabeth I is up to the armscye decreases on the second haf! w00t!No pix, they all came out looking yellowed and wonky. Fluorescent lights are not kind to Hempathy.

I managed to suck it up and weave up 3/4's of the middle back of the Tailored Jacket before I decided that it was way too much seaming and too darn hot outside - what happened to my nice cold weather? 90 today and 94 tomorrow? I liked the temp in the 70's. I need to move.

You can see how carefully I wove in the ends while I was knitting. I know you're supposed to block the pieces first and then seam but I made it intentionally too big so I could full it a bit for warmth and a cheat custom fit. It would probably be a good thing for the seams to shrink about the same amount as the pieces.

People have alternately been amusing and annoying me. Mostly annoying me. Learn. To. Drive. People. If you're lost, don't slow down and look for the address from the far left lane!!! Don't dive across three lanes (cutting me off) then dither about making the light so that we both miss it. It's possible that it's hormonal but it's also possible I'm going to smack a total stranger in the head with a 2x4.

Adrienne Martini's SweaterQuest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously was interesting. I knit Mary Tudor and I didn't find it all that dangerous. She spent half the book questioning if she was knitting an Alice Starmore if she didn't use the wool Alice did originally, something that never occurred to me. If I changed the style (pullover to cardigan) or the shaping (waist shaped and set in sleeves) and used her charts, I'd still call it an Alice Starmore. Have you seen her colorways? Amazing. Now Alice might take one horrified look at the sweater and disavow it, but that's her perogative. Adrienne also seems to dislike her for her ferocious protection of her name and brand but even that makes sense to me, if slightly counterproductive. It's a cold cruel world out there. Filled with nice strangers. (And the occasional one with a 2x4 indentation).

Blog pix 1760 The Two Lives of Charlotte Merryweather by Alexandra Potter was cute, if a total trifle. Thirty one year old control freak Charlotte has a chance encounter with her 21 year old self over the course of a week (or possibly more, I admit it, I started skimming it when I realized it was basically Charlotte dithering over her choice of men and career, as if at 31 the whole game is over. Hardly). She tries to protect her younger self from bad decisions, her younger self teaches her who she was.

One Step Behind by Henning Mankell is a later outing in the Wallender series. I had just caught Kenneth Branaugh's version on PBS the night before I picked this up on Gale's reccomendation. Nice and psychologically driven.

Warrior's Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals. Searing memoir is right. I've just started this so I'll say more on it later, but I'm only a few pages in and her life is making me cry in both rage and fear and sympathy. I cannnot believe what she and eight other teenagers had to endure just to go to a good high school in 1957. Unbelievable. Adults. Parents. Teachers. Students. Not to mention what she, her family and every person of color had to deal with on a daily basis.  I hope we've come a long, long, long way from there.


Walnut Creek Library Pix


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The fancy new Walnut Creek library - check out this high tech check in machine! It gobsmacked a number of us, I watched someone else use it first and then helped the family behind me. Pretty fancy. I wonder if it will have any effect on the backlog and if they're thinking of installing them at the main branch.


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Seriously, this is the color scheme they came up with? Purples, beige and off white?

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Nice quilt wall hanging.





It's a nice library It's too modern to be comfy and not modern enough to be modern. Also their coffee bar does not serve coffee. Or Blog pix 1757 anything else. Bogus.


Hez is shocked, shocked by that news. Also she would really like me to quit reading and knitting and pet her. All the time.

August & September Books Read

Blog pix 1749 Back in the beginning of August I picked up God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicholson.

I like it.

It's pretty fascinating. The various knaves, the holier than thou types and the how-on-earth-did-they-get-that-gig? men that were responsible for what might very well be the only well written-by-committee work in existence. The contemporary background (Guy Fawkes figures prominently - evidently King James took it very, very personally that they tried to blow him up) and the fallout from that event are fascinating.

I just can't seem to read more than 10 pages at a time. I'm still only halfway through.

Poor Josephine: A Biography by Andre Castelot started back on...July something. I returned it to the library.

What did I read, you ask? (Huh. You're not asking? I'm telling anyway. So there.)

The Book of Spies by Gayle Lind. A book historian and restorer claims that she wasn't driving in the accident that killed her husband but all the evidence points to it. A man confides in his college friend that he thinks money is being diverted from a bank account to terrorists. The Book of Spies, a book from the legendary Library of Gold is donated by an anonymous donor and displayed at the British Museum. Is there a global conspiracy behind all this? Is the legendary Library of Gold true? If you need to ask, you're in the wrong genre. A pretty good gripping yarn but if you have to put it down, use a bookmark. I managed to miss the first encounter with the assassin, The Carnivore, and the man is practically the moral compass of the book. 

RomeoAndJuliet18 Rue and Rosemary by Seanan McGuire. A half fae/half human changeling, Toby Daye (October) lives in San Francisco, and is not only a PI but a knight of Sebastian of Pleasant Hill. I mean Shadowed Hills. (I love that it's local to me). This is big stuff for a changeling. (Being a knight, not necessarily living near me, although you can understand her excitement. If she knew). A pureblood friend of her mother's is brutally murdered and in true fae/wizard fashion, Evening Winterrose curses Toby to find her killer. I don't think Toby would let it go, with or without the curse. A cast of characters that includes Tybalt, King of the Cats (who IMO looks and sounds like Michael York circa Romeo & Juliet, 1968), a teenage changeling that hero worships her, and a water-hag help Toby in her quest. (Did I mention that she spent 14 years as a fish in the Japanese Tea Gardens?)

Let's see. I was trading genres back and forth. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy.

The Enemy by Lee Child, the 8th outing of Jack Reacher. Jack is still in the Army (and probably has been up to this point - I think I'm reading them both randomly and backwards). A Colonel dies in a pay per hour cheap hotel on New Year's Eve and naturally the military wants to keep in on the downlow. Unfortunately his widow is also killed that night, the hooker is nowhere to be found, there's a suspicious worldwide shuffling of CO's on various bases and Jack Reacher is curious. Curious at first, then cornered by bureaucracy, Reacher shows why red tape and paperwork is not match for on hands on skill. Walt Kelly's Pogo came up with the title. 

Hmmm. Spy, Urban Fantasy, Spy, Urban Fantasy.... 

Blog pix 1728 A Local Habitation (Seanan McMguire), Book 2 of October Daye. This time Toby's liege lord sends her to Fremont. No, she wasn't in trouble. (Although considering that she was on the case of locating his wife & daughter when she was turned into a fish and consequently his daughter was magically tormented and is now psychotic more or less........I'm not sure why he lets her live much less still love and trust her. The Fae. Their ways are mysterious.) But no, he sends her off to Fremont to check on another family member of his, his niece, January Torquill, Countess of Tamed Lightening who runs a computer company that's a Changeling think tank.Other than Toby being unbelievably obtuse at times, it was a pretty decent second outing. It helped that I liked April, the former Dryad housed in the machine and Quentin, the pureblood Fae fostered w/Sebastian that plays her loyal sidekick. More or less. 

I hope this is the last we've seen of Dare unless she finally realizes that Toby is a terrible hero. Toby seems to, but figuring eh, maybe you can save the next one, is not exactly my ideal.

Spike, her rose-goblin-cat.

Seanan has a very helpful pronunciation guide of the Fae at the beginning of the books but it'd be nicer if she gave a brief definition as well. If the singular and plural versions are identical, I wouldn't bother to list them. 

One Shot by Lee Child - I like the premise in this outing - a sniper kills four people in an area the city is trying to renovate and upgrade. At first the case seems insolvable but the culprit is quickly identified and arrested. Jack Reacher hears of the crime and sets out to the scene, luckily for the defense who are completely unable to locate him. But is it luck? A seasoned District Attorney is pitted against his daughter in one of her first cases. A loving and supportive sister is forced to confront the reality of her brother. And Jack? Is on the side of truth and justice, as usual, Reacher style.

Blog pix 1667 Persuader by Lee Child. A mistake in Jack's past chances into his path and the con is on. The DEA has muffed an arrest so badly that they're not only off the books but one of their agents has gone missing. Jack has reasons of his own to aid them but is the mountainous steroid bundle Paulie finally too much for even Jack? (Hint: not the last Reacher novel). The book was gripping as usual, I love the twists Child comes up with but I was really hooked by the twisted Beck family dynamics in this one.

The Seduction of Water by Carol Goodman. Oh, I liked this. Iris is now a 40-something NYC urban dweller, even if she grew up as a hotel brat in the Catskills in the hotel her parents managed. She has all but the ring (she's been seeing Jack for the last for ten years, Wednesdays through Saturday, a tragically scheduled romance, if you ask me),she's ABD, (all but dissertation) and the story unfolds with an assignment about fairy tales that she gives to two of her disparate classes, one for prisoners and another in the City College.

Her mother had published two out of three books about a Selkie's daughter. I admit, I was half expecting her mother to have actually turned into a seal and returned to the sea but no, the novel isn't urban fantasy but nearly as satisfying, following a 16th Century saint's necklace, her mother's mysterious past and death, obsession and love. All in all, a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.   

Blog pix 1083 A Nameless Witch by A Lee Martinez. The horror, a witch cursed with bewitching beauty and a White Knight with a pure heart forced to battle together. A cute enough story. Her demon duck sidekick was my favorite.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child. The 13th outing of Lee Child. This time Jack Reacher is minding his own business riding the New York Subway late at night. What are the odds that he'd run across a desperate mother with ties to state secrets and war criminals? Hmmm. 

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman. Separated, with her husband being difficult about her young daughter, a Latin teacher accepts a job at her old college by Heart Lake. Secrets and a long ago pact threaten her future. Carol Goodman weaves Jane's past as a college student and her present as a teacher with great effect. I love how she mirrored the past and present and unveils the many, many secrets. Jane might be the narrator of the story but she's not the one who drove the plot.

Blog pix 1722 Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen by Anna Whitlock. Serviceable enough. A nice introduction to Mary Tudor, Elizabeth's big sister.

The History of Civilization Volume 1 by Crane Brinton. I picked this up for a little background for the 1500's but ended up reading most of it. It's been a long time since I've read anything about the Romans and the Greeks that didn't involve England or the Huns. Pretty fascinating. A little jarring to see some of the biases from 1960 when it was clear from the text that they went to great lengths to be nondiscriminatory. Signs of their times. 

Die Trying by Lee Child - remind me never to wander the woods in Montana. Holly Johnson, FBI wunderkind, is kidnapped by a charismatic nutcase and Jack goes along for the ride. I appreciated that Lee Child gave Holly a bad knee/ankle/something to explain why she couldn't just take care of the lot herself, which she darn near did anyway.

Started: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Too soon to tell but I am already in love with her sentences. Example: The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately - a fine distinction but one that the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.

Knitting: started Chart C on Elizabeth I. Am fooling with the cross & crown pictured to make it a felted embellished patch on a bookbag for my mother. NOT THE FINISHED PRODUCT. Not even close. The stack on the patio table is the Tailored Jacket - I didn't realize how close I was to finishing it. If I get a few minutes to take a look at it this weekend, I think I'm going to seam up the sides & shoulders and start the sleeves. 

Tattoo of Mary Wollstonecraft by Sarah Schor.