A Changed Man by Francine Prose. It's about a skinhead that has a conversion and decides to go over to the other side. There are great moments in this book that explore the meaning of racism and bigotry and it's prevalence in our daily live. Pretty much all the characters have racist or bigoted thoughts at some point, but it's what they choose do do with these thoughts that seem to make the difference in who they are.
Having said how great the ideas in this book are, I have to say that I'm not a big fan of Prose's writing style. I felt that the ending was awful (and they lived happily ever after. . . type thing) and that her writing needed a lot more polish. This is a good book that could have been great. Taking a look at the inside pages of the book reveal a long list of books she has written. Perhaps she should write fewer books and put more time into re-writes and editing.
Just finished. . .
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book has gotten a lot of hype and I actaully think it lives up to the press. There's an eerie and almost beautiful contrast between the drama of the daily lives of the characters and the overall issue of human cloning and its terrible consequences. Read it -- it will get you thinking.
Now I'm reading A Changed Man by Francine Prose. It's about a skinhead who goes over to the other side. Very interesting so far!
And now for knitting books. There are a few yet to be released in my wishlist that I am eager to see. First up:
Vogue Knitting Stitchionary -- This book is supposed to have 300 stitches with lots of charts and color photos. Sound like a good source book.
The Knitting Experience: Book 3: Color by Sally Melville -- I love the first two, so I can't wait to see this one. And if you are a new knitter, or want to turn someone into a knitter, I highly recommend The Knit Stitch. It has great photos, easy projects and lots of helpful hints.
Those are the new knitting books that I'm interested in. Do you know of any knitting books coming out soon that look interesting? I'm always on the lookout for good knitting books!
I just finished reading two books. First up, I'm Not the New Me by Wendy McClure. Very funny yet cynical look at her own weight struggle. If you're a blogger, you'll enjoy seeing how McClure starts a blog to start writing about her weight loss. Her interest in her blog goes up and down as things happen in her life. She also talks about her "fans" who write her. I thought it was interesting and could really relate to both her weight issues and her blogging issues. She's also from Chicago, which is very cool. Check it out!
And I started and finished Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi in one night. Yeah, yeah. I know I go on and on about her, but I think she's great!
Just started Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book has gotten a lot of attention and I can see why. I could hardly put it down last night even as my eyes kept closing while I continued to try to read. More later. . .
Marjane Satrapi has a new book coming out on April 19th! It's called Embroideries and is said to be a look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Satrapi worte & illustrated two of my *favorite* books from last year (well, I read them last year), Persepolis & Persepolis 2. If you haven't read them already, I *highly* recommend them! I can't wait for the new book to be released. After reading her other two books, I was left wanting more. She's that good!
I have been knitting too. Pictures tomorrow!
I always like to keep a list of books handy for trips to the library or bookstore. Here is my current list (in no particular order):
Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer -- Why? This book won the Hugo Award in 2003 and I'm a sucker for good sci-fi. I'm actually reading this book now and loving it.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson -- Why? Several people I know have read this book and recommended it. In addition, one of the main story lines is about Daniel H. Burnham, a huge name in Chicago architecture and the girl in me who minored in architectural history would love this.
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson -- Why? From the author of Cryptonomicon, an incredible book. And once again the whole sci-fi thing. But will I be able to finish this massive 960 page book? (Which is only the first of three volumes!) We shall see.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson -- Why? I love everything that I have read by Bryson! Funny, entertaining and informative. Some of my favorites include: A Walk in the Woods, In a Sunburned Country and I'm a Stranger Here Myself. Travel writing and more at it's best!
Blankets by Craig Thompson -- Why? I've become somewhat interested in graphic novels since reading Persepolis & Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. So, I went out looking for more graphic novels and stumbled upon this one which has gotten some really good reviews.
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie -- Why? I've been meaning to read this book for ages! It won the Man Booker Prize in 1991 and the best Booker Prize winner of the award's first 25 years. It's a family saga set in the time period following the independence of India.
Saturday by Ian McEwan -- Why? I absolutely loved two of his other books -- Atonement and Amsterdam. I'm looking forward to his latest novel with high hopes. I don't think that I'll be disappointed as I have heard many good things about the book so far.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini -- Why? I haven't really read much about Afghanistan, and while this is fiction, I am under the impression that it gives you a feeling for the climate of the country at the present time. Education and entertainment at the same time -- sounds good to me.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke -- Why? I don't know why, but I think I'll like this book. I've heard it described as an "adult" Harry Potter book, a combination of historical fiction & fantasy and even a Victorian age work of literature akin to the works of the Brontes. Hmmm. . . this could be good!
Ireland: A Novel by Frank Delaney -- Why? Sounds like an enchanting read! From what I gather, it's an epic tale of the history of Ireland told in the style of the traditional storyteller. I've heard nothing but good reviews for this book.
Well, that should keep me busy, don't you think? I also have to review The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon which I just finished. It won the Nebula Award in 2003 and was an excellent book!
I just realized that back in December I mentioned a couple of books that I had read, but I never wrote up my "book reports." First we have:
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. This was an excellent book that did an incredible job of taking you to a different time and place. McCullers is an excellent storyteller, bringing various characters to life and involving you in the raw and unadorned aspects of their day to day life. I was caught up in the reasons for each character's actions. It is a book that will not only open your eyes to a part of American history, but also make you think about enduring human ideas an emotions. A timeless classic.
Next up is The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. Now, I had seen the movie several years ago and it was somewhat disturbing, but perhaps not as disturbing as the book. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading it and flew through it quite quickly. However, it is the story of a bunch of sister's committing suicide, so if you are a little quesy about that kind of thing, this dark novel may not be for you. Eugenides has a powerful writing style which you can see developing in this, his first novel.
I have also read Middlesex: A Novel, his most recent (and perhaps only other?) work and found it to be excellent. Heck, not just me -- he won the Pulitizer Prize for fiction for his second novel! It's about a hermaphrodite (yep, he's not shying away from the contraversial topics once again) who discovers his true self. I couldn't put this book down! While Eugenides gives you a deep understanding of the main character, he also creates an epic feel -- covering three generations of the main characters Greek-American family. This is really a must read.
Right now I am about 2/3 of the way through The Plot Against America: A Novel by Philip Roth. Very good book so far, I'll write my official "book report" after I finish it!
Well, the finger is still quite tender (see this post) so I haven't knit too much. However, in the spirit of Christmas I knit through the pain and finished my sister's Amanda Backpack. It came out of the wash Wednesday night and was given to her on Friday night. Barely enough time to dry! And of course I forgot to take a picture.
I did have a wonderful Christmas and I received a few fiber related gifts which I will share here:
First up is Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein which was give to me by Pete. All I can say is WOW! I could spend hours looking at all these edgings. Great source for any designer or aspiring designer. Thanks Pete!
My sister Kristy got me Spinning Designer Yarns by Diane Varney. What an excellent book! I have already learned so much from reading the opening pages. I learned to spin by trial and error on my own and this book explains a lot of the missing pieces. Not only does it teach you how to spin "designer" (ie bulky, slubby, etc. . .) yarns, it also covers the basics which is what I really like. Thanks Kristy!
How sad, no picture for this one. Dot, my mother-in-law, got me Traditional Scandinavian Knitting by Sheila McGregor. Another great book! This one has tons of charts and lots of information (including historical info). Aren't I lucky to have such a great mother-in-law? Thanks Dot!
Since I haven't been able to do a whole lot of knitting, I've been reading quite a bit too. I just finished The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. Both very good books which I will review on another day.
A while ago I read Brick Lane by Monica Ali. A very good book about a Bangladeshi woman subjected to an arranged marriage which results in her living in England.
This past week I read a book with a similar theme. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, is the story of a couple from Calcutta who moves to America after their arranged marriage. The book follows their son as he grows up torn between the American life which he wants to belong to and the life of his parents which is still very much tied to India.
I could not put this book down! There is a good reason that Lahiri won the Pulitizer Prize for fiction. Her writing style in extremely engaging and her characters are so real. I highly recommend this book!
Now on my nightstand -- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.