If You Don’t Love Books You’re Dead Inside

Gentle reader,

I know there’s been a bit of a break between posts lately, and I do apologize. I’ve been so pleased with how diligent I’ve been with posting, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Here in my neck of the woods, we’ve been house hunting and that has taken up a bit of time, and even when I’ve not been doing it I’ve been thinking of it and nothing else! It’s very stressful but exciting, and indeed, we’ve found a place! I’m so stoked! I adore our new house, and I can’t wait to move in. Here is a sneaky sneak peak:


It’s an old house, not crazy old, but old enough to make me crazy happy. And it has lots of added bits and pieces; a franken-house if you will. I’m so excited! But, that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about today. I’ve just read an amazing book and I’m nearly through another amazing book.

Do yourself a favor and read the book first...

The first book, which I’ve mentioned quite a while back, is Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I read it voraciously until I was about three quarters of the way through, and then I had to put it down for a while because I go through headachey periods and I desperately need new glasses (still don’t have them, have I mentioned that I’m an excellent procrastinator…). But, then I picked it up and again and powered through to the end. And, let me tell you, it’s an epic read. It’s beautifully written and the characters are interesting and you genuinely feel for them. And it all builds to the most wonderfully sad and devastating yet beautiful and hopeful ending…Oy! I was a little messy when I finished, I love a good weepy book.

The whole time I was reading I was dreading the film, which I had not seen. I just could not picture Jude Law and Nicole Kidman in the lead roles. Well, they do okay. The movie is definitely worth a watch, and things have been re-jigged enough that those actors are totally wrong and actually do quite a good job. It’s cinematography is gorgeous and they did a good job of condensing the book into the film. Renee Zellweger was absolutely perfect in her role, and it makes me sad that I can’t remember the last good film I’ve seen her in. Natalie Portman also had a small but intense role that is a credit to her. I’ve started thinking about who I would have cast. Do you do that? Do you make up “dream casts” in your head for books that you loved? I do; it’s a problem, I can’t help myself.

Oooh, Gritty.

Immediately after I began True Grit by Charles Portis. I stuck with the Charleses and I stuck with the same century, though True Grit takes place a decade or so after the Civil War. I was terribly excited to read this book as I saw the 1969 film when I was but a wee bairn – my Ma is a massive John Wayne fan – and I adored it. I adored most John Wayne films I saw back then, but especially this one, perhaps because it had a plucky child for me to relate to (not that I was plucky, but I wished that I were).

I was very excited for the new film, but I decided that I wouldn’t see it until I had read the book, and I ordered it online and had it waiting for when I finished Cold Mountain. I’ve just reached the story’s denouement and gee willickers is it a swift ride! I’ve sped through book and have enjoyed every second of it! I’ll probably finish it in bed tonight.

I definitely recommend both of these books; one is more of a commitment – Cold Mountain isn’t a difficult read, but it can be emotionally draining (if you become as emotionally invested in your books as I do!) – and the other is a short but sweet affair; I’m a slow reader, so I think you could finish it in a only several sittings at an average speed.

If you’re interested in a proper review, let me know. I’ve not given too much away – just my recommendations – but I think a proper review could be fun (just not this close to bedtime!).

What books have you read that made great films? Or what books do you love that were made into awful films? Sharing is caring! ^_~

– R


A Few Of My Favorite Things. Also, A Busy Week.

Gentle reader,

Mondays are my Fridays, in that Monday is the last day of my working work. And it’s been a busy one. This weekend at the Yarn Store, we had two workshops/classes on both days and most of all, I was teaching one of them! I taught my first class – Beginners’ Crochet – on Saturday and let me tell you, I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! I wrote my own class information packet instead of using the usual instructors notes, because I figured I’d be more confident using my own material, and I’d written them in such a way that if I suffered a nervous breakdown they’d be pretty self-explanatory. The good news, however, was that I didn’t suffer a nervous breakdown and it actually seemed to go quite well, so I’m very grateful. I’ve even seen a few of the attendees since then and they remarked that they really enjoyed it. So, I’m not a total failure as an instructor, which is reassuring to know.

Speaking of teaching too, a few customers at the Yarn Store have expressed interest in my teaching an Amigurumi crochet class, which I think is a wonderful idea. So, if you’re in Melbourne and you’d be interested in an Amigurumi class, please send me an email or comment below and I’ll see if I can arrange one at the store. Otherwise, if you’re interested in private lessons, let me know also. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I can definitely share a few tricks.

Anyway, I decided to clear off the photos from my cell phone and realized that I had some nice ones on there. Nice more in the sense of them making me happy rather than any comment on my photographic skills. So, I shall share them and hopefully they might make you a bit happy too.

Hydrangeas behind the bins

The garbage bins for my apartment are by the driveway next to a garden bed that is positively bursting with hydrangeas, which I love. The odd balance of garbage and blooming deliciousness always struck me as just as things ought to be, in some quaint little way.

Cold Mountain in the mail

The Book Depository is one of my favorite online stores because not only does it satisfy my craving for books but there’s the added joy of getting packages in the mail! I’d been craving something new to read, and I wanted something rural or pastoral and somewhat dark. So, I came to the decision to buy Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. I suspect that Cold Mountain will be more rural/pastoral and Winter’s Bone will the darker of the two.

At any rate, Cold Mountain came in the mail last week, and this is the beautiful cover artwork which I’m completely besotted with. I’ve started reading it, and I’m already completely hooked but I’ve also spent God knows how long just looking at the cover. It’s by Sanna Annukka Smith, who also did the album artwork for one of Keane’s albums. I’ve only had a quick skim of her website and already it’s made sweet love to my eyeballs. Winter’s Bone came in the mail today, so I’ll probably start reading that tonight and see which one I want to read first.

Narnia must be nearby...

This lamp post is just outside the entrance to the building the Yarn Store is in, so I pass it numerous times most days. Naturally, it always makes me think of Narnia, and this makes me very happy in my little, silly heart.

Sleepy Lady

And last, but not at all least, is my little fur baby, Lady (she has many names, but she’s almost always referred to as Lady). She spends the vast majority of her time snoozing on my bed, which you can’t really hold against her. She’s thirteen now, and a little bit addled. But, she’s my precious pudding. In fact, I shall bid you all adieu and go join her, I think! It’s awfully late. 気をつけて!