Kalimac Crafts (and assorted other bits and bobs)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

More books, for the record

And someday I'll even review them... :)

Lords and Ladies and Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett

And crafts:

Started Market Bag with sari silk

Been doing lots and lots of spinning. Optim is nice for small things, and I need more peacock merino/tencel to mix with green flash :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

France Total

Back, jetlagged, but happy!

While there I read:

The Dark is Rising Cycle, by Susan Cooper
A Moveable Feast, by Hemingway (and ate at Les Deux Magots!)
A Certain Justic, by PD James (thanks Mom)
The Heather Blazing, by Colin Toibin (again, thanks Mom)

I think that's all....reviews will come eventually.

I knitted about three inches of sweater :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Out of Town

Hullo, loyal reader(s?).

I'm off to France tomorrow for nine days. It's likely I'll have some limited internet access while there (at cafes and such), but probably won't post very much. Hopefully I'll have a lot to come home to!

Thanks for reading,

Marie

Book Review - The Sunday Philosophy Club

The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery, by Alexander McCall Smith. 2004

Sigh. Sigh. Okay.

You have to understand, I love McCall Smith. I adore the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I want to read everything he's ever written (50+ books apparently). I want to stalk him when I get to Edinburgh (okay, not really, but maybe I'll sit in on one of his classes). I adore his literary voice, his depiction of Scotland. I will probably blow an enormous amount of money on his books soon, because I adore this man and his writing.

The first time I read this, I loved it. The second time...I didn't. The protagonist, a middle-aged, wealthy editor of a philosophy journal is sort of a more bearable Mary Worth. The mystery part of the book is wonderful, just the right twists and turns, and of course McCall Smith gives us plenty of lovely characters.

Unfortunately, Ms. Dalhousie isn't one of them.

She's meddlesome - forgiveable, as it's a necessary characteristic - but her childishness, especially concerning her beloved neice's ex-beau, who she's half in love with herself, drives me up a wall. A minor point to the story, but it kept coming up over and over again, annoying me. I suppose, technically, this is a good thing - Isabel is well-rounded, with her faults and her gifts, and she's a bit of a dotty old lady. Unfortunately, she's not terribly charming in her dottyness.

Despite that, I'll probably get the second mystery, now out, as, if nothing else, it's a wonderful snapshot of upperclass Edinburgh life and social scene. McCall Smith writes a good mystery; this one concerns a man who fell to his death in Usher Hall, insider trading, and an impressive number of red herrings.

I still don't like Isabel, though.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Book Review - A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. 2003


(Dude, there's gonna be an illustrated version now? I want that!)

Bill Bryson is my baby daddy. I adore his writing, his style, his Des Moines - meets - bumbling - Englishmanness. He could rewrite the phonebook and I would buy it, because it would probably include some deeply disturbed person, and an amusing anecdote or five of how historical people died interestingly.

A Short History... tends to drag a bit, especially when he hits meterology, and the endless debates over the early days of the earth. It was definitely better to read in bits and chunks, instead of one straight readthrough. Bryson makes everything wonderfully accessible, of course, and adds just enough interesting parts to keep me going. The book's just a wee bit long, I think, and he loses steam in parts, reduced to reciting facts.

Overall, though, I loved it. It clarified a great deal, was very funny, and was generally just wonderful.

Book Review - Summerland

Summerland, by Michael Chabon. copyright 2002.

A reread, although I had managed to forget everything that happened after a certain point. A fabulous example of modern myth, combining Norse mythology with baseball with American folklore; the protagonist (Ethan Feld) and his best friend (Jennifer T.) have to jump from branch to branch on the World Tree, picking up a baseball team along the way, to ultimately play a final game of baseball against Coyote and prevent Ragged Rock. Like I said, a glorious mix.

Chabon's writing is sweet and sharp, often surprisingly sad. As with all good kid's books, this reads just as well for adults as children, and shows grief, fantasy, love...all those good things, more deeply than many adult books. The book is a wonderful adventure story, but what really attracted me was the grab-bag of myths. He's blending Americana (the 'giants' who are not so giant anymore - I was able to recognize my beloved Joe Magarac, Paul Bunyan and I think Pecos Bill), some made-up and real baseball stars, baseball itself, Norse mythology and Native American mythos. And a lot of these of course - the folk-heros, and coyote, and the traveling band fighting to save the world (I think there are even nine of them at one point!) - are archetypes, who appear over and over again. Chabon is showing us what the modern myth is becoming, the kind of made-up Indian lore of the Wa-He-Ta boys combined with....everything. It hearkens to Gaiman's American Gods, where the immigrants bring their gods, and everyone, man and deity, mix it up together.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quilling, and pedantry

The (surprisingly chock-full) quilling kit arrived yesterday, and I'm even surprising myself with how much I love it. I got the beginner kit from Quilling.com, and it's got a stunning amount of stuff for the price - although, really, I suppose paper and a few bits of metal aren't very expensive. (Pleasant change!) I love working in three dimensions all of a sudden - a lot of the designs are more like little sculpture. And it's so pretty! And delicate!

re: the pedantry of the title, I think I'm throwing in the towel on Lies My Teacher Told Me. I've already read it once, so I know the whole point, and it's so bad. Just grindingly boring, and weirdly paced. I'm finding that if I do read it, I can't get very far at a time, and I'm really slogging.

I traded in a bunch of books yesterday, and got a few things from the local used bookstore. Mostly stuff on myth, including Levi-Strauss' giant tome on South American myth.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Okay, real first post...

(And it has suddenly occured to me that I haven't the faintest notion how to get news about this thing out. It's not like LJ, where I can friend people...)

I'm planning to make this a crafts-n-books blog, with my LJ account remaining a kind of diary/collection of thoughts/traditional blog. I'm hoping to track the projects I'm working on here, the (hopeful! someday!) growth of Kalimac, and to practice writing up little book reviews as I finish things.

Let's see what I've got up in the air:

Just completed another wire necklace; I think I'm in love with the medium. A lot more room for creativity than with just chainmaile, although I'm definitely looking forward to combining them, or going back to maile someday. I hope they jewelry sells well; it really is my favorite of what I've done so far. I'm also vaguely planning an Agwe necklace, and one for Erzulie Freda. And, as a gift, a Damballah necklace for Michael.

Started spinning up some more yarn, and I have two white skeins that'll probably get dyed in the next day or two.

Knitting projects are: *deep breath*

- The Elann sweater that I started forever ago, and that will go to France with me.
- The big gray wool blanket
-Finishing the last bit of Magic Stripes Sock
-the lace scarf I've been working on for roughly forever.
-The Tiny Alpaca Shell of DOOOOOM.
-The blue cotton bag

Oy.

I've also got two needlepoint projects going. Nice range of stuff, there...especially after the quilling kit I ordered gets here.

Books I'm in the middle of/just started/etc:

-A Short History of Everything
-A Moveable Feast
-Summerland
-The Dark Is Rising saga
-Lies My Teacher Told Me

First post

Just a test, kids...