Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Feed by M. T. Anderson

They met during a spring break trip to the moon. It should have been a short romance, but when both of them, along with several friends are infected with a man-made virus, their relationship changes and deepens.

At first, Titus takes this in stride, but then it becomes all too real and he pulls back.  Violet wants to have a meaningful relationship in a world where most people are quite shallow and only concerned with their next purchase that will keep them in the current style.

It is sad to think that there are many who see this reality as our best possible future.  An Internet like feed directly into our brains.  Already we are inundated with advertising and the push to consume even more.  Too often we are willing to let others do the critical thinking for us.  Hopefully this book will serve as a wake-up call to it's readers.

I'll admit, I didn't really like this story at the beginning. The language was difficult to understand and most of the characters were two dimensional.  Lingo and jargon are hard to get a grasp of if you aren't a part of it's community.  But then the story changed, the kids got sick and removed from their feeds.  Then I started to see the real people buried beneath the technology.  By the end of the book I was consumed by their stories.

This is a good cautionary tale.  Should appeal to teen and young adults,

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by David Aaron Baker.  5 hours 5 minutes

Cover image courtesy Candlewick Press.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Needlework Tuesday: Learning the ins and outs of something new

 When I am stitching, I find it easiest to stay in my comfort zone and work with materials I know and with techniques I've used before.  This week I branched out and am using 2 inch strips that I cut from an old sheet.  I was going to throw the sheet in the garbage, so why not give it a try.  First, I cut the sheet on the bias using scissors.  Not going to cut the whole thing that way, so I folded it with the bias edge lined up, and used my rotary cutter and matt and had it reduced to strips in a matter of minutes.  The ended of each piece were already cut on an angle making it easy to overlap and stitch together on the sewing machine.  I am using a 9mm crochet hook and started by following a pattern for the flat base.  It wasn't really working, so I decided to add increases as required.  It is mostly round.

When it measured about 13 inches across, I switched to doing the single crochets only in the back loop. After I completed that round, I switched to double crochets.  It is hard going working with the cloth.  I had to play around with the best way to hold the hook so as not to tire my hand.  I can't stitch too long without a break, but it is progressing.

At this point, it looks like it's make a nice cat bed, but since I don't have a cat, I'll keep going with the plan to make it a basket for my current knitting project.  I'm glad I gave this a try though I don't know that it will become a favourite technique as it is harder on my hands.  It might work better with a different size or style of hook.   I'll have to shop for a larger hook and see how it feels.

 Taking a break from the brown basket, I felt I had better finish these dish cloths.  While I like the look of them, particularly the two colour one, they have a lot of spots where they need to be tacked down.  If you don't take them down, then they'll shift all over the place in the wash.  I think that once they are washed and the shrink, they will make pretty hot matts.

 I spent more time sewing down buttons.  It is still exciting to see how each button added changes the look.  So far I am at 172 buttons.
Here's a close up of the one leaf point that is full.  might be space yet for a bead or two later.  This is such fun, not instructions nor a pattern to follow, just my own instincts.  My kind of needlework.

Most of use tend to follow instructions or patterns when we are learning. Some of us veer off onto our own path once we have learned the basics and some of us only follow patterns.  Nothing wrong with either approach.  As long as it's fun and no one gets hurt, then follow the approach that works for you and enjoy.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Knife by R. J. Anderson

Bryony, aka Knife, is a curious young faery. She yearns for the world outside the oak tree in which all the faeries dwell.  On her first mis-adventure outside, she comes face to face with a boy.
This is the beginning of her fascination with the outside world.  Her quest for knowledge about humans leads her to question life in the tree and what happened to change it so drastically.

I was totally captivated by this story and wonder why I hadn't read it earlier.  It is full of strong female characters that I couldn't help but love.  I particularly like Thorn, the Queen's Hunter, who teaches Bryony how to survive out of doors.

This is a good example of history being written by the victor.  Without being taught faery history, the new generations have forgotten their rich past and are struggling to hold on to a future.

And that human boy Paul, he was also changed by that chance encounter with Bryony.  He is a flawed young man, but a good person which makes him  a wonderful addition to the otherwise female fast.  

This book should have wide appeal to young readers and is suitable for parents and kids to read together. 

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by Emma parish. 7 hours 16 minutes.  She did a terrific job of voice characterization and showed excitement and enthusiasm as she read.  

This book was published in the United States under the title Spell Hunter.

My daughter Shannon introduced  R. J. Anderson at a book festival several years ago.  She dressed as Thorn, also her favourite character.

Cover image courtesy Oakhill Publishing


Saturday, 22 July 2017

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Nao is at the beginning of her life and she has lost hope, is aimless.  Ruth has passed most of her life and she is adrift.  Both are writers, Nao at her first story and Ruth at possibly her final.

When Ruth first realizes she has found a diary, she is curious about it's writer.  As she continues to read, she gets pulled into the writer, Nao's life.  Soon the time line becomes blurred and Ruth begins doubting herself and her memory.

This is a story full of choices and their consequences.  (ripple effect).  Time is a also a frequent topic for both Nao and Ruth.  The first has chosen to limit her remaining time while the later ponders how much she has remaining.  Nao's great-grandmother has had the most time of them all, 104 years, which she had learned to use to the benefit of mankind.  She was my favourite character in the book . She seemed so wise and knew the best approach to use with Nao.

At various times while I was listening to this audio book, I experienced widely ranging emotions. I felt compassion for Nao and her trials at school.  I was annoyed with Ruth for her dithering over her writing.  Often I was confused, wondering how the author could possibly tie together the two women's very different stories.

This would be a good book club selection as there are a number of areas I am unclear about that could benefit from discussion.

One of the things that intrigues me about this book, is that the author, Ruth Ozeki,  is a character in the story.  That adds more to my pondering of the time and place of this tale.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by the author.  She did a wonderful job voicing the characters, particularly old Jiko, the great-grandmother.  Blackstone Audio 14 hours 43 minutes.

The author's end notes in the audio version indicate that the printed version contains additional supplementary materials.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada


Friday, 21 July 2017

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

First Nations Friday is an occasional post where I review works by First Nations, Inuit and Metis authors.

A novella by author Stephen Graham Jones

Twelve your old Junior lives it his mom and little brother in a small modular home.  He is haunted by the loss of his father when he was four.  Now, on the cusp of becoming a man, he has to learn to cope with his feeling about his dad, a man he mostly knows through stories told by his mother.  Using those clues and traditions passed down from his native Indian culture, he weaves a vivid tale of his father's remarkable return to the living and of his brother's downward health spiral.  Or is it just a tale, has Junior broken through the veil to somewhere else, some time else.

I was captivated by this short story and am left wondering which parts were Junior's imagination and which were the truth finally coming to light.  A good mix of reality and mysticism.

Cover image courtesy