Monday, April 17, 2006


More Book stuff!

I got this from Mary's blog. She made up a meme called "Six Degrees Of Booking". The point of it is that you link six books within your collection. Here are mine;

1. Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland, this is a book which uses a Beatles song for its title as does......
2. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami, which has a character that gets psychiatric help as does the writer of the next book....
3. Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kayson, which became a film starring Winona Rider as did....
4. Little Women by Louisa, M Alcott, which was the story of four sisters as is....
5. The Makioka Sisters by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, which involved a lot of matchmaking as did...
6. Emma by Jane Austen.

I am sorry if I haven't been around. I am not ignoring anyone, honest. I have been sick the last few days and will catch up with everyone soon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Book Reviews At Last!

"Hokkaido Highway Blues." by Will Ferguson

The Cherry Blossoms are very important in Japan. Every year they bloom and fall and the people of Japan set up parties to watch this and celebrate. It is said to begin in the south and work its way up through to the north. During this season there are constant updates on the news and it is a permanent topic of conversation. The fall of these flowers shows the beginning of spring. Will Ferguson is a Canadian who had been teaching English in Japan for two years. One drunken night he announces that he will follow the Cherry Blossoms across Japan. And he will do it hitchhiking. It really was only one of those moments of drunkenness but in the end he carries out his plan and keeps a record. The characters he meets along this journey alone is worth picking up this book. He has a nack for telling a story and I found myself laughing out loud a number of times. One of my favourite parts is near the start. He is making fun of people who believe monkeys to be wise because of something they can do. As he wonders away he encounters a snake. He makes fun of his fear and you can't help but laugh with him. I also learnt a lot about Japan through this book. A lot about the customs and the people. Even if you aren't a fan of travel writing and just want a fun read I recommend this. Will Fergusons website is here.

"Wrong About Japan" by Peter Carey

The son of author Peter Carey has taken a great interest in Japanese anime and manga. Carey becomes interested through him and it becomes a father and son hobby. It is actually quite sweet reading about them competing to bring back something really good. Carey then asks his son if he would like to go to Japan and things grow from there. Carey sets up interviews with famous manga writers and directors through friends. His son while interested at the start becomes withdrawn once in Japan. Only interested in his new found friend. I guess he was just being a typical teen but it was a little frustrating to read about this boy wasting such a great opportunity. However, you do enjoy the experience through Carey. I did manage to learn a lot about anime (not really that much about manga) and a little about Japanese culture. It is enjoyable but I would only recommend it for those who have a real interest in Japan or manga and who don't mind the presence of sullen teenagers.

"Blood Fever" By Charlie Higgson

James is back at school after his last adventure. Everything is far from normal however. A nightly escapade leads him to suspect that one of his teachers is up to no good. The father and sister of a friend disappears and a lot of art work has been going missing. Could all these things be connected? The holidays soon arrive and James decides to go on a school trip abroad then a stay with his cousins. However, the strange occurrences follow him and once again James is sucked into the evil plot of a madman.

I am loving these young bond books. They are enough like the films (I haven't read the books) to make you feel familiar with the character. Admittedly trouble seems to find James in these books but that just makes it all the more fun. How can James get out of these scrapes without all of the usual gadgets? A kids book but a good one for any James Bond fan (or anyone who might be a fan of Charlie Higson). You will find the young bond website here.

"The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova.

A young girl becomes interested in a book and some letters she finds in her fathers study. She asks him about them and from this she learns of her mother and fathers past. Both are linked to the study of Vlad the Impaler. Her father is rather reluctant to reveal everything and so the girl does a lot of studying on her own. She learns that Vlad the Impaler really is Dracula and is very much alive or rather very much undead. Her father and others like him were meant to search through history and find the evil being.

I have heard so many bad reviews of this book but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the long winded descritions. I also like the detailed search through historical documents. I guess it appeals to my student days when I studied history (although it was never to such great depth). I also like the traveling through countries. It gave me itchy feet for a while there. I was a little disappointed with the ending though.You might like this if you enjoyed Bram Stokers "Dracula".

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Still Here!

No stitching updates. I realise I am letting the side down, sorry! It has all been work, work, work the last few days. Hence my lack of posts. I did promise book reviews and I hope to get them up tomorrow. Also, I still have Easter cards to finish. So the next few days I will be a stitching maniac. I now have my doubts on getting them finished. Thanks for the comments on my first two. I decided to take everyone's advice and keep the bunny card with just the punch outs.

I still carry my camera around with me but as yet nothing has presented itself at all. I did have the strangest dream though. I was walking to work when I saw all these wild rabbits in the grass. I decided to snap a photo as my sister loves rabbits. As soon as I had the camera ready the rabbits all hopped away. I then turned around to spot one and photographed it as it was hopping alongside a frog (which is one of my favourite animals).

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good week. I am now counting down to Doctor Who series 2 (starts this Sat).

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

This week's questions were suggested by Kim.

  1. Do you have a favorite character(s)? I love characters in books. That sounds a bit stupid but the characters themselves is the one thing that can make a break a book for me. If the characters are dull and 2D then I am not likely to stay interested in it for long. I'm not sure if I have a favourite though. Here is a list of some that stick in my memory though; Elphaba, Owen Meany, Lessa, Jo Bettany (sp?)

  2. What book/author is he/she/it from? Elphaba is from "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire, Owen Meany from "A Prayer For Owen Meany" by John Irving, Lessa from the Pern series by Anne McCaffrey and Jo from the Chalet School series by Elinor M Brent-Dyer.

  3. Why do you like this person--what is it about the way he/she was written that drew you to them? Elphaba - For a start everyone knows of the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz". Elphaba however, was very different from that character. In "Wicked" the whole point was to read her story and to see that not everything is what they seem. Her character was strong with a great background. You felt like you really got to know this character and the image of the original was blown away. Owen Meany - like Elphaba his character had depth. In this case you see him through the eyes of the narrator, his friend. He was stood out from page one as being different. I couldn't help but feel sympathy for this character throughout the book. But he also made me laugh. The book takes you through his childhood so you do get that background. I also felt that this strange little character could actually exist. Lessa - Being a fan of fantasy I felt I should chose one character from there. Lessa pops into my head probably because she has a role to play in most of the Pern series. She is portrayed as a strong woman yet there is a soft side to her which she rarely admits to. The one thing that stands out the most for me is that this character has faults and lots of them. It is too easy to make a character perfect but life isn't like that and it is good to see that one of the good guys in a book has his/her bad points. Jo - Like Lessa Jo has her bad points but that isn't why this character stands out for me. She stands out because she reminds me of characters from books I read when I was little. This is probably why I went through a phase of reading the Chalet School books. She stands out more for nostalgia than the way she was written.

  4. Is there something more you would like the author to tell you about them? I won't go through each of the characters again. I can give the same answer for them all. No, there wasn't more about the character I wanted to know. There have been plenty of books where I have thought it would be nice to know more about this character. Off hand though I can't think of any.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Easter Card1 Again!

I added little punch out chicks and bunnies to the bottom of the card. I was too tired to come up with anything more creative. Work is nightmarishly busy just now so my stitching has suffered. I've been really too tired to do much when I get home. I sit glazed in front of a DVD before I drag myself off to bed. Or I attempt to read and usually fall asleep. I have been reading the same book for a while now and although I am enjoying it it is beginning to get on my nerves.

Enough moans and groans. I did manage to make a card for a friend who is leaving work. Unfortunately I can't show it as it involves photo's of the individual. Hopefully I will have something new to show you all at the weekend. If not I will try to get some book reviews done.

Glad everyone liked the card for my sister and that you all liked the effect with the one strand. It is something that never occurred to me to try until that freebie came along.

Lili, you asked a while ago if I would do reviews of "Cross Stitch Card Shop" since I have set up a subscription. I will have a go at it. Since the magazine comes out every two months I will chose one card from every magazine to stitch too.

litla skvis, "Norwegian Wood" is one of my favourite books by Murakami. I haven't read "Sputnik Sweetheart". I've also read "Wild Sheep Chase", "The Wind Up Bird Chronicles" and "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" all of which were brilliant.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Easter Card 2

My sister finally left for work and ten minutes later I had put together her card. You will recognise the letter from San's blog. I am used the same Easter alphabet from one of the cross stitch magazines. After little souffle I liked the affect using only one strand and decided to do the same with this little character. Again I like the subtle affect. Kim, stitching with one strand isn't difficult. It feels a little strange but I found that my thread was less likely to knot. I think I would probably use this method for baby cards (depending on the design itself).

Anyway, I used acrylic paint on one of those large cards I bought for the bunnies. I added another layer of green to try and give it a grassy look. The fairie is from a stencil I bought a while back and had yet to use. I stenciled her onto separate card and then used colour pencil. I cut an aperture out of the card to attach the stitching and then used little tabs to attach the fairy. With any luck my sister will like it.

I couldn't find anything Easter like in amongst my stickers and other craft supplies. I was positive I had something! I did buy some Easter punches so later today I will use them to decorate the first card.

I have decided to start taking my camera about with me. My poor camera gets used for crafts and almost nothing else. I've decided to carry it around in my bag just in case.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Easter Card 1

I am still working on Easter cards and this is my first one complete. These bunny cards are from "Cross Stitch Card Shop" magazine and they take longer to stitch than I thought they would. The back stitch round the daffodils is probably the longest and most tedious part of the card. Although well worth doing. The rest of the back stitch takes no time at all. I did want an aperture card for this but the shops didn't have any large enough. It looks like I would have to order them and being impatient to finish I decided to go with these large ones instead. The result is that I have a huge space at the bottom which I will need to decorate. I am sure that I have Easter stickers somewhere so watch this space for an updated version.

I have also just about finished a card for my sister. I just need to wait for her to leave the house so that I can put together the last final touches (I will have a photo for you tomorrow). I also have two more bunny cards to finish. So who knows when I will get round to going back to my rota. I have been watching season 6 of the West Wing while stitching and have been really enjoying it. I am on to disc 3 so I think I will have caught up by the time season 7 comes out. I am also itching to finish it so that I can move on to "American Gothic" which I bought last week. I loved this show as a kid but missed the last few episodes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Blogs of Note

Did any of you ever visit Bloggers home page? There it would list some blogs worth visiting and there would be at least one or two interesting ones there. Blogger has now created a Blogs of Note page for this purpose. Although I don't comment on them I do read non cross stitch blogs. I came across one that I thought people might find interesting. It's blog about this woman's cartooning called Funny Cute. Her cartoons really are cute and she does a lot of cartoons based on movies. Worth having a look.

Thanks again for your comments. I promise that tomorrow I might actually have a stitching update. Also I will catch up with everyone else's blogs tomorrow.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Book Post

Booking Through Thursday

Pick one of your favorite authors.

Just one? Okay, at the moment that would have to be Haruki Murakami

  1. What are some of your favorite books by this author?
    "Norwegian Wood", "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" and well, I love them all

  1. Why do you like this author?
  2. His books are just so different (they are even different in comparison to other Japanese authors). They are the kind that you have no idea where they are going to go. You think you understand the book and then you change your mind seconds later. This can happen several time while reading the book. They also stick. You'll find yourself thinking about them months after you have finished reading them.

  1. Have you read everything by this author? Why or why not?
  2. Not yet. I have read a fair few but I am taking my time with them. I made that mistake with another author I enjoy, Douglas Coupland. I read all of his books within a year. Now I have to wait patiently for new ones. The only good thing about it is that there is nothing like that feeling of finally getting your greedy mits on his new book. Then of course you have finished within a few days and that feeling of satisfaction lasts only so long before the waiting begins again.
    I have been reading this blog Booking Through Thursday for a while now and have enjoyed reading replies. I decided that now is the time to actually join in (which explains this post).
    Thanks for the welcome back everyone. Timewarden, I have been counting down to the return of Doctor Who. I work long late shifts those nights so I am going to have to rely on someone else to tape it for me. The same person who always manages to tape the wrong channel!

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