What about fate

Cause and Effect – Does Fate Exist?

I was listening to a radio show, possibly Radio Lab, the other day while running errands. There was a conversation about fate with a quantum physicist who used the example of whether choosing chocolate or vanilla ice cream determines your path in life.  Of course, he denied the plausibility of this concept.

What about fate?

I made some facetious remark on my FB feed about how the discussion only made me crave ice cream.

Geez, that is so not true!

Days, even weeks, later and I am still thinking about it.

Let’s say you chose chocolate, and ended up spilling some on your shirt.  This causes you to take it to the dry cleaner the next day.

Going to the dry cleaner changes the course of your life because you end up running into someone or having a conversation that makes you inspired to look into <x>, and you end up <changing your career, meeting the next person with whom you have a relationship, or trying something new/old/xx> that changes your current direction.

Or Not.

Then again, you could have chosen vanilla, not had any mishaps and continued with your plans.  Does this change the course of your life, or are you following a pre-established script?

I don’t have the answers. Nor do I really have any beliefs around it.

I had a conversation with a co-worker who told me that she feels that “things happen for a reason.” I replied that I don’t believe that, but I do believe that “things turn out, one way or another,” which to me is realistic and non-committal.  However,  my co-worker felt we were saying the same thing.  I disagree because I think her point of view implies some kind of faith, and mine reflects reality.  I guess if faith is your reality then they could possibly be conceived as the same perspective.  But faith, especially blind faith, is not my reality.

I’ve had a week or so to ponder this, and I also realized that Fate and Fatal are similar sounding words.

Interestingly, the full definition of fate is about the end or final outcome:

Full Definition of fate

  1. 1 :  the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do :  destiny

  2. 2 a :  an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end b :  disaster; especially :  death

  3. 3 a :  final outcome b :  the expected result of normal development <prospective fate of embryonic cells> c :  the circumstances that befall someone or something <did not know the fate of her former classmates>

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post.  I’m still mulling it over.  I will admit that I believe that certain things will happen, like being in a relationship again, and I do believe in the power of intention.  I also think that once you start thinking about things, you start to notice events or occurrences that relate to your thoughts.  They would still be there otherwise, it’s just that you happen to notice them since they’re on your mind.  Then some people might call it a crazy coincidence, but it’s really just a matter of observation.

Who knows?  I just had to get these thoughts out of my mind and onto (virtual) paper.

Your thoughts?

This weekend…VKL NYC!

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2016 is this weekend!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since VKL NYC 2015! The Knitting with Beads course with Laura Nelkin has changed my life. I have been spending the year teaching myself beading, and transferring much of my spending to beading supplies.

And guess what?

I am not going to VKL NYC this year! Instead I am saving my pennies to go to a beading fair next weekend.

My goal remains the same – to combine knitting and beading in unusual ways.  I’ve been spending this year learning basic beading techniques to understand how it works…so that I can rework it.

IMG_20160113_081024 - Copy

Did I mention that beading is fun? And more immediate gratification than knitting!  But there are so many choices, and really, a lot of thinking and processing.  And stringing is not as easy as it looks. Sure, putting beads on a string is easy, but the design, and making sure the beads fall correctly takes longer than I expected.  It’s all very enjoyable.

Beading

And pretty!

December 2015 Reading

December 2015 Reading Report – Books Read

December is a good month for reading.  For those of us not preoccupied with holiday activities, there is plenty of time to read (bead, knit, etc.) and bookstore sales to help feed the hunger.

The second half of December is very quiet in my office.  A lot of people take this time off, which provides those of us still at work the opportunity to catch up on the little tasks that just never get done.  However, enough is enough, and I only worked two days this week.  I would love that to be my new norm. 2 work days each week, but full time pay.  That would be nice!!

I think a lot of people were reading this month because I received 5 books from my library holds list.  The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman didn’t even make it to this month’s Reading list. I just knew I wouldn’t get through the other books, so I re-entered its Hold line.

Slade House by David Mitchell had been on my To Read list, and LD gave it to me as a holiday gift.  Its reviews referred to it as a haunted house story, so I did not want to read it before bed!  I spent two hours one afternoon to read it.  Among the many reviews –

“An eerie haunted house tale that takes as much from quantum mechanics as from traditional supernatural lore.”

Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author

I read it in one sitting because I knew if I put it down, it would be unlikely that I would pick it up again.  The characters were not really developed, except perhaps the Slade House inhabitants; I would not recommend it, but I’m glad I read it so I can take it off my list!

Books Read December 2015

TitleAuthorRating
Stringing, Winter 2016
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MagazineGood
Betsy BeadsBetsy HershbergThumbs Up
How to be BothAli SmithSo far so good
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew SyedOnly a little way in
Slade HouseDavid Mitchell2 stars
1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life ListMimi SheratonDownloaded a Sample - on the fence about next step
Season of Salt and HoneyHannah TunnicliffeNot for me (see below)
Four Funerals and a WeddingJill SmoloweWhat was I thinking?
The Rosie ProjectGraeme SimsionUgh
100 Days of HappinessFausto BrizziNot for me (see below)
The Improbability of LoveHannah Rothschild3 stars

The Improbability of Love was my primary read this month. I give it 3 stars because I skipped a lot of pages that just seemed to be extraneous story telling, but there were 2 primary concepts that kept me engaged. The main character, Annie,  is recovering from divorce and restarting her life. She buys a painting in a thrift shop on a lark, and part of the story that was interesting is about discovering its origins and artist. The other portion of the story that really fascinated me was about her work as a cook for large dinner parties that were based on certain paintings. She would research the food, decor, etiquette and customs of the time of the painting, as well as the painter’s and the painting subject’s lives, and then create a meal and decorations around it. The author should have done more writing in this vein, rather than some of the other avenues she chose.

December 2015 Reading

I’ve really just started How to Be Both, but it seems to be somewhat similar in taking an older painting and seeing how it re-introduces itself in modern life: “How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.”

December 2015 Reading

I believe I was undergoing some unconscious need for grief counseling or moving on or something this month, when I selected Season of Salt and Honey, Four Funerals and a Wedding, and 100 Days of Happiness. Okay, yes for this theory with Four Funerals and a Wedding which is blatantly described as “With humor and quiet wisdom, and with a lens firmly trained on what helped her tolerate and rebound from so much sorrow, she offers answers to questions we all confront in the face of loss, and reminds us that grief is not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I only got this as a sample, because I hate trite sentimentality like “not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I think I knew I wouldn’t like it, but somehow couldn’t resist. Then, Season of Salt and Honey was from my library’s Holds list. By the time the book’s in my queue, I’ve forgotten what it’s about or why I wanted to read it. Given my recent trip to Italy, I can see why I might have been attracted to this novel: “A NOVEL OF LOVE, GRIEF AND ANTIPASTI.” However, it starts out at the Italian equivalent of a shiva for the main character’s fiance. That was enough for me. Done. Book over. Finally, I don’t know what I was thinking when I put 100 Days of Happiness on my account as a Hold. “What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count” drew me in for some reason. When DDSO was undergoing chemotherapy, he sent emails to his friends about his experiences. This book reminded me of that. I definitively closed the book and said if I wanted to read this, I would look for those emails. Enough said. No thanks.

December 2015 Reading

I downloaded a sample of Mimi Sheraton’s 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List. (I like using the word “sample” with this book because it always makes me smile thinking about getting a sample of each food!) I perused the first chapter, which is centered on English and Scottish food. As one of my friends said, English food is not even supposed to be good – why is that included?! Maybe the author was starting off with the simpler foods in life – like cheddar cheese and clotted cream. Anyway, I think it might be fun to have this book and check off foods as I have them. I haven’t quite decided if this is what I want to do. Maybe a library book version next?

 

 
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December 2015 Reading

Reading December 2015 – Books bought

WOW, what a month!  The desire to read has resurfaced in abundant measure!  Plus, it is gift giving time, books as gifts – for others and for me!

I feel like I was so impressionable and hungry for good reading this month.  My standard MO is to read a (primarily the Sunday NY Times) book review, look for the book’s review on Goodreads, and then notate it as Want To Read, or my own shelf – Get from library.  This month it was more: read the book review, look it up on Goodreads, see if it’s in the library Overdrive listing. What? No?  Buy it.

I have also started to lean back toward buying the physical book.  An e-reader just cannot replace holding the book, physically seeing the pages turn and having the pages move from “more to read” to “already read” to “so little to go” (which is sometimes a relief and other times sad because I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters.)  I’ve also learned that is very important to me to be able to re-read the back cover to recall what compelled me to read this book in the first place.

I’ve decided to break up this month’s Reading Report into two separate posts.  First, I have purchased more books than usual and have more to report in both the Purchased and Read categories.  Second, it’s December 30th.  I’m hoping that publishing this post today will end this month’s spending.  (I have two magazine subscriptions in the Interweave Store cart, and in the list below – a solid recognition that this coveting will soon end with a purchase.)

Books Bought December 2015

TitleAuthor
Stringing, Winter 2016
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Magazine
Betsy BeadsBetsy Hershberg
Chevron AfghansCaron Yarn Company
50 Hats & Caps to KnitKnit Simple Magazine
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of PredictionDr. Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
The Best American Science and Nature WritingRebecca Skloot (Editor), Tim Folger (Editor)
Tricky Twenty-TwoJanet Evanovich
The Girl in the Spider’s WebDavid Lagercrantz
The SportswriterRichard Ford
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
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Nichole Bernier
When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters...Jo Maeder
Stringing, SubscriptionMagazine
Beadwork, SubscriptionMagazine
Say You're One of ThemUwem Akpan
Thrilling CitiesIan Fleming
How to be BothAli Smith
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew Syed
Why Not Me?Mindy Kaling

First the gifts.

For Lovely Daughter – a Finance and Marketing major: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, which is a chattily-written book that I thought she would enjoy because she is very smart in school but also street smart, common sense smart.  I thought this would meld with her brain perfectly. She had a different opinion, and allowed her brother to take it!  She received Why Not Me? as a replacement, at her request.

For Elusive Son, who made an appearance home for the Christmas week!: his sister’s gift – Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction because he thought it would be interesting; The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz, the new fourth installment of the Dragon Tattoo series.  It was a complete surprise to him that there was a fourth book, especially given that the author had died.  I also gave him The Best American Science and Nature Writing, which I thought would be right up his alley, specifically the Science part.  This is a young man who was upset that he couldn’t minor in Physics in college (due to course scheduling challenges). (Very different from his math-phobic, creatively-asymmetrically-centered mother.)

My spending strategy can be categorized as:

  1. Beading/Knitting/CreativityStringing, Winter 2016, Betsy Beads, Chevron Afghans, 50 Hats & Caps to Knit, Stringing Magazine Subscription, Beadwork Magazine Subscription.  The most delightful surprise of this collection is the Betsy Beads book – a woman who combines knitting with beading.  I am happy to have found this book, not really as inspiration for her ideas but as inspiration for doing my own thing.  The most disappointing surprise was receiving the Chevron Afghans book and realizing that it’s all crochet patterns.
  2. Book club related – our January book is Tricky Twenty-Two, selected as a light read for the busy holiday season; I had recommended The Sportswriter, and it was not selected.  So I bought it to read on my own instead.  Jennie from book club recommended Say You’re One of Them, but I have not read it yet. December 2015 Reading
  3. Kindle bargainsThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. and When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters…. I have not started either one yet.
  4. Escape to a different reality genreThrilling Cities and Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do.  This is an odd category but both books really fit it.  Thrilling Cities is by Ian Fleming (yes, of James Bond fame) and was written in the sixties.  It’s his take on different cities. I thought it would be well-written and interesting – (1) to see his perspective and (2) to see how much the cities have changed since it was written.  I’m only a few pages in so can’t report on it yet.  Matthew Syed’s book fit this category in a different way – to see what mistakes I’ve made and how not to repeat them – give myself a different reality.  I’ve only read the introduction so far, and some of that may be that I’m not quite ready for it.
  5. NY Times Book Review Gotta Have It – Ali Smith’s How to be Both.  I’ve been drawn in to other reviews of this author, and have many of her books on my Goodreads Want to Read list.  I just jumped in and bought this one.  (I just looked for the article on the NY Times site, and I think it must’ve been mentioned in an interview – where someone is asked what he/she is currently reading.  Although there is an article from June 2014 with the title, “An Onion of a Novel, Demanding to be Peeled.”)  Oh, now I’m reminded that The Sportswriter is also in this category.  Someone did mention this book in an interview in the Book Review section.

All this purchasing creates a “burden” to read. Luckily, there’s time off for the holidays…The Reading Report will soon follow!

 

November 2015 Reading

November 2015 Reading

I just finished reading The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2015 review.  Even with what I thought was prolific reading this year, I’ve only read two!  (The Incarnations and Dragonfish) And both are in this month’s Reading post.  Plus, there is a book listed that I have bought – as a pre-order for August 2016.  (A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories) How did that make it on to the 2015 list if it’s not even available yet?

On with the report.

November was distracted. Reading had very little place in it.  There had been rumors for month that my company was going to have layoffs mid-November.  This led to worry, anxiety, and thinking about next-step options and to reading selections like Big Travel, Small Budget: How to Travel More, Spend Less, and See the World and Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship – both representing the pursuit of one’s dreams. This round of layoffs are over, and I am still employed. I am laughing as I realize I have not finished either book. The Pirate Hunters book has been returned to the library and the Big Travel book is on my Kindle.  I’ll probably start reading it again with the next round of impending layoffs…

November 2015 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
DragonfishVu TranThumbs down.
Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate ShipRobert KursonGood
The LiarNora RobertsUGH
Silent HouseOrhan PamukNo, not for me.
Big Travel, Small Budget: How to Travel More, Spend Less, and See the WorldRyan ShauersLiking it.
The IncarnationsSusan BarkerGood

November 2015 Reading

The Incarnations is our December book club selection. We wanted something different from what we’ve already read together. We achieved that. I can’t think of any book that I’ve read like this one. This is the story of a taxi driver in Beijing who is being left letters from his soul mate, telling him of their history together.  It travels through centuries of Chinese history telling of their various relationships, weaving in Wang’s current life, and his reaction to receiving these letters. It was very interesting. I would recommend it, much in the way of the  I Am Pilgrim recommendation. I would want you to read it so we can discuss it together.

I had been on the library wait list for Dragonfish for awhile, so when it was finally my turn to check it out I couldn’t remember what it was about!  Don’t you hate when that happens?!   This does sound worthwhile:

Vu Tran has written a thrilling and cinematic work of sophisticated suspense and haunting lyricism, set in motion by characters who can neither trust each other nor trust themselves. This remarkable debut novel is a noir page-turner resonant with the lasting reverberations of lives lost and lives remade a generation ago.

But it just wasn’t for me.

Orhan Pamuk has a new book (A Strangeness in My Mind) that looked interesting but it wasn’t available in the library so I checked out Silent House instead. I did not like the writing style, though the story seemed like it had potential. I stopped after a couple of chapters.

Yes, I am admitting to have started a Nora Roberts book, The Liar. Her books are usually light and breezy and allow for distraction from reality for a bit. This one was so poorly written that I had to stop.

The books I bought in November were primarily based on Kindle deals. A book club friend told me about the Estelle Ryan books; she also “bought” them at no charge through Amazon.  This month’s purchases – the Leon Berger & Estelle Ryan books were at no charge. The Dana Cowin book was $1.99, but looks good. I’ve enjoyed her perspective when she guest judges on Top Chef, and who can resist the subtitle of this book: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and  Over 100 Delicious Recipes. (I love the “over 100” notation. I haven’t counted them – maybe there’s 101?)

Books Bought November 2015

TitleAuthor
Big Travel, Small Budget: How to Travel More, Spend Less, and See the WorldRyan Shauers
The IncarnationsSusan Barker
The Gauguin ConnectionEstelle Ryan
The Dante ConnectionEstelle Ryan
Lunch with CharlotteLeon Berger
Mastering My Mistakes in the KitchenGail Cowin, Julia Turshen

Our book club discussion is on Tuesday – I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts about The Incarnations and seeing what we decide on for our next selection!

Beading Report

I think beading is more prolific than knitting.  There are more options of things you can do with beads, and the projects are a lot faster to complete (in some cases) than knitting.  Plus, bead designs are available everywhere – you are more likely to see people wearing jewelry than a knitted item.

It could become a daunting task to try to come up with new designs. Or maybe not? There are soooo many different types of beads and new bead types being produced that it may be easier to come up with combinations and patterns that are unique.

On the other hand, knitters may come up with new knitting stitches or yarn / stitch combinations more than noticed or publicized.

It is a fascinating world to be creative with so many choices.

So the really cool thing is that I’ve come up with some ideas and looked online to see how other people have done them…and I can’t find anything!  That is so exciting because it tells me that I am on to something new and different.

The first time this happened, I was making a necklace to wear to the opera in Milan. (I know, how lucky am I?!) I bought a fabulous dress and knew that I wanted to wear a necklace that was totally unique and made specifically for it.  I had read about creating large beads from small ones – a fairly common idea – but then I decided to hang them from the necklace like little pendants.  I could not find any advice on how to do that.  What fun!  Like recipes, patterns are usually just recommendations, so this was actually perfect. I could do what I wanted to make it work.

So amazing!

While planning the jewelry to take on my trip, I realized I had many necklaces but very few earrings. So I decided to take the major components of the different necklaces and make one pair of earrings that would go with them all.  Call it funky, definitely call it unique. This is what I ended up with – and love! because I don’t think anyone else would ever put this combination together!

Beading Report

Now, I’m playing with the herringbone stitch, which is a simple stitch but looks terribly advanced! For some reason, I enjoy doing the tubular rather than the flat stitch. I think it’s more interesting to watch the product develop as a tube.  This is a fairly standard spiral herringbone design, but in the middle section I have Swarovski crystals spiraling in the opposite direction.

I made a point to have both sides match up.  While not unique at all, this was a major challenge for an asymmetrically-driven crafter.  It was a gift for a very symmetrically-oriented friend, who appreciated my extra effort in this regard!

October 2015 Reading

October 2015 Reading

After I Am Pilgrim, it was hard to focus on other books. My October 2015 Reading list is bare, well maybe not as bare as last month!  I only bought one book, though I did try two samples from Amazon. How fortunate to have samples first because I did not like either.

Books Bought October 2015

TitleAuthor
A Man Called OveFredrik Backman

October 2015 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ckAmy AlkonCould not get through it.
The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of HandbagsDaphne MerkinCould not get through it.
A Man Called OveFredrik BackmanI liked it, and I have not finished it yet.
One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-The-World Journey with Our ChildrenDavid Elliot CohenSeemed promising, but my check-out expired before I could dig my teeth into it.
At the Water's EdgeSara GruenGood
First FrostSarah Addison AllenSimplistic but enjoyable
The Trouble with Poetry - and other poemsBilly CollinsGood
The Boston GirlAnita DiamantUnable to make headway
Judging a Book by Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers EverywhereLauren LetoThis was a sample. Thank goodness.
The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My LifeAndy MillerDitto to the above rating.
We Never Asked for WingsVanessa DiffenbaughReally liked it.

A Man Called Ove is a well-written book about a man described as a curmudgeon…and how he deals with life, or how he doesn’t deal with life and how he deals with death. We had a great book club discussion, and I am determined to finish it!

I had seen Amy Alkon’s book, Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ck, at the library and decided to buy it to read while away. What a mistake. I did not like the writing style nor the content for that matter. Apparently, Amy Alkon is an advice columnist, so maybe she is better read one paragraph per day.

I have only liked one Anita Diamant book (no, not The Red Tent!) – Day After Night – but I thought I’d give The Boston Girl a chance. The first chapter was enough (too much?) for me. I did not care enough about the character to continue.  The audio book of The Boston Girl is read by Linda Lavin.  That may make the character more enticing…but straight off the page…it did not draw me in.

I did read At the Water’s Edge and First Frost, which were fine.  At the Water’s Edge would probably create a good book club discussion because it covers different topics about society – different classes, WWII recruitment, relationships, and more.  I did finish it, and would recommend it, but I actually forgot I had read it until I reviewed my list for this post!

First Frost is a fairy tale. It is not realistic at all, as is true of Allen’s book Garden Spells.  The book reminded me a LOT of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  I loved those books by Betty MacDonald as a kid!  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle had medicine to make children be nicer, stop having tantrums, etc.  This book is VERY reminiscent of dear Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

October 2015 Reading

I really loved The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh so her new book We Never Asked for Wings was on my list.  For some unknown reason, I was reluctant to get started. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t be interested and might not like it. I’d rather not read it than be disappointed.  Also, the book cover illustration made me believe that I would be disappointed.   But I opened it…and really enjoyed it.  It’s a story about a woman who had her first child when she was in high school, and let her mother raise her children until her parents move back to Mexico.  Her son is in high school and her daughter in first grade.   She has to step up to the plate and become the mother.  The book is also about the son, and how he is able to spread his wings.  I recommend it.

October 2015 Reading

 

September 2015 Reading aka I Am Pilgrim

September 2015 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
I Am PilgrimTerry HayesI think I liked it.
More discussion below.

Yes, that’s right. I only opened and closed one book this month.  Continuing my reading from the previous month, for my October book club, I Am Pilgrim consumed my time and attention and took me from all other reading possibilities.

I Am Pilgrim

“Screenwriter and producer Hayes makes his fiction debut with an exceptional thriller that boasts an utterly credible narrator who has had so many covert identities he can barely remember his original name. Soul-weary Scott Murdoch (aka the Pilgrim) has retired from the top echelon of ultrasecret espionage, but duty and faith in the human spirit call him back into service…Like many pilgrimages, this one is painfully long and packed with unexpected menace, its glimpses of the goal fitful and far between, but readers will agree that this journey of body and soul is well worth the effort.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Did I like it? I don’t know.  Here’s the thing.  The main character was telling the story.  So no matter what happened, I had the comfort level and expectation that he does not die.  That made me feel better.

Many times I said to myself, “I would never have read this book if it were not for book club.” and “I would not have continued reading this book if it were not for book club.”  My paperback copy was 785 pages.  When I hit page 475, I wanted to continue reading.

Here’s another thing.  This book was frightening. It was making me read about the jihad society and terrorism.  It made me wonder what is actually going on over there, and how scary the world is now.  I don’t like that. I am thankful every day that I live in this country and that I am safe, and my children can live happy productive lives.  I don’t aim to present myself as a shallow person, but too many details just make me depressed about the state of the world.

This book was disturbing.

But it was also about relationships.  And I like books that explore relationships.  How far would you go for love? For hate? How does someone with relationships where most of the people in his life have disappointed him take his experiences to figure out other people’s motivations?  That is the underlying story that kept me reading.

I haven’t even decided if I would recommend it.  It is way too long.  It often has the feeling that it was written to be turned into a movie instead of just writing for the beauty of telling the story.  It is violent, and scary.  It addresses topics that I don’t want to think about.  But even after finishing it over a week ago, I am still thinking about it.  The characters are well defined and believable, even scarily authentic (to my limited knowledge of the Arab world). There are a few missing links in tying the story together (MINOR SPOILER ALERT: like how does the US agent tell the terrorist’s story, when at the end he doesn’t follow the thread in his search?) which was a tad disappointing.   I guess I might recommend it with the caveat of saying, “I’m not sure I liked this book, but it is worth your time to read it. …And let’s discuss it when you’re done.”

Books Bought September 2015

TitleAuthor
Good Manners for People Who Sometimes Say F*ckAmy Alkon
The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontes, and the Importance of HandbagsDaphne Merkin

I bought these two books as reading material for an upcoming trip, but didn’t open them until October, so no comments until my next Reading update.

What I’ve Been…

I have been remiss in posting and want to give a quick update of what I’ve been doing…

ABBREVIATED VERSION
knitting
The Poncho
reading
I Am Pilgrim
beading
Herringbone stitch
eating
No sugar
planning
Trip to Italy
playing
Golf
doing
Tidying Up along with the usual procrastination and daydreaming (all part of the process)

UNABRIDGED VERSION
knitting
The Poncho for my friend. This pattern is two 50″x24″ rectangles that are sewn together to make a poncho. It’s quite creative, but very slow-going because I have been so distracted lately.
reading
I Am Pilgrim for my book club.
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I keep reminding myself that I joined the book club to read books that I normally would not pick out on my own. This is one such book. It’s about spies and terrorists and murders and 9/11. All things that are very bleak. I have been depressed about the state of the world while I’m reading this book.
beading
Herringbone stitch – I am digging this stitch! I think it looks more professional than the peyote stitch and I am having such fun with it.  (Just a visual reference below – another post with my own projects to follow…)

eating
No sugar…again. I fell off the No Sugar Wagon awhile back – a little in my coffee, a sweet now and again, and before I know it, I’m eating a lot of sugar. Now I am avoiding it along with gluten, and it makes the No Thanks choices so much easier. I am sleeping better and am not hungry or have any cravings.  There was cake at work yesterday (I am a frosting fanatic!) and I looked at it…did think about that frosting…but walked on by and did not go back. Yay me!
planning
Trip to Italy – coming up…going with college friends. Can Not Wait!
playing
Golf – oh my goodness. I am addicted! I played twice last weekend. I think that it’s mathematical, exercise without thinking you’re exercising, and social. And you only play against yourself really, so no one else is depending on you to do well, like in a team sport.
doing
Tidying Up along with the usual procrastination and daydreaming (all part of the process). I tidied up my books, er, let me clarify, my non-knitting, non-beading, non-craft-oriented books. I had some from college and decided I could let go of them. Now I’m trying to decide if my art books should be donated to Goodwill or given away. I want to make sure they go to nice homes.

The trip is almost upon us and I’m sad that I’m already making plans for when I get back…except that they include golf, knitting, beading and getting together with friends.  Oh, yes, and book club.  It will be interesting to hear everyone’s opinions.

Also, use that reply box down there to offer up other book club suggestions. I’d love to see what other clubs are reading.

Arrivederci!