This was a very interesting take not only on the woman Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, but the CHARACTER Laura Ingalls, and the literary partnership t...moreThis was a very interesting take not only on the woman Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, but the CHARACTER Laura Ingalls, and the literary partnership that shaped them both with her daughter Rose Wilder Lane.
We tend to accept the Little House books as autobiography. They're not, really. They're fiction. Fiction has to tell a story and have a specific plot. Life doesn't, necessarily!
Laura's life was a great deal harsher than the Little House books portray, though I don't think that is a secret. The characters we tend to accept as people were sketches of those people -- and sketches for kids, at that. It doesn't ruin the stories for me to know more about the humans that inspired them.
The book talks a great deal about the Wilder-Lane partnership and gives some interesting glimpses into the relationship between the two woman. While some assert that Lane was the real force behind the books, Hill asserts (correctly, I think) that while the series required Lane's editorial input, to brush aside Wilder's writing is rather nonsense.
If you love the Little House series and are interested in following up on some of the behind the scenes stories, check it out.(less)
Steel Beach is flat-out one of my favorite Varley books. As a Heinlein fan, the Heinleiner stuff had me rolling around laughing, even though I am not...moreSteel Beach is flat-out one of my favorite Varley books. As a Heinlein fan, the Heinleiner stuff had me rolling around laughing, even though I am not entirely sure it was meant to be as funny as I found it.
But I love the issues and questions it explores, and I really like the way Varley handles some necessary narrative changes.
If you've never read it, do. It's quite good and the first line in the story cannot be beat.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this book, as it's not really what it's billed to be, but is still a worthwhile work.
I have mixed feelings about this book...moreI have mixed feelings about this book, as it's not really what it's billed to be, but is still a worthwhile work.
I have mixed feelings about this book, as it comes from a point of view that my own frugality and background makes me squirm.
So, how it's billed: Writer loses her job and decides that it'd be a good idea to see if she can save money by not getting so much convenience crap, instead making stuff for herself. Love the hook. It's fantastic, interesting and relevant.
Not two chapters in, she's going on about spending $3500 on a fence for CHICKENS?
That little anecdote really lost any fellow-feeling for me in terms of how much that lost job really meant to the family. The long-suffering husband of the story must have still had a great job, even if the loss of her income was a bit of a blow. If that had been my family, a $3500 bill because I hadn't done my research would have meant the difference between having a place to live and homelessness. So...
In the face of that, Reese is still an entertaining writer, and she does make some excellent points about what it's worth to make on your own or not. I disagree with her about the difficulties of making stock, but agree that it's worthwhile. Yes, it is cheaper to make your own baked goods for the most part, and while she seems to be into making cheese, I'd really only do that as a hobby rather than a cost-saving measure, were I do to it at all.
This is simply NOT a book about how to save money cooking, though. The author lives in upper-middle class suburban Northern California and it really shows that she's not really in touch with people outside her income demographic.(less)
I adore Elizabeth Zimmermann's work in general, as she was the writer who made it okay for me to own my own knitting and be my own designer.
But oh, ha...moreI adore Elizabeth Zimmermann's work in general, as she was the writer who made it okay for me to own my own knitting and be my own designer.
But oh, have I learned so much from her!
This book is simply not a book for beginners, though. I'd strongly encourage you to read Knitting Without Tears first, and be pretty comfortable making one of the projects from that before you dive into this one. If you like and find KWT useful, then you can move on to this one and will find it a source of wonderful patterns and techniques.
Though, I admit, part of why I read Zimmermann her delightfully wry and chatty style. She's a marvelous read.(less)
"Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the...more"Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights."
I read The Lies of Locke Lamora solely so I could have the background to read Red Seas Under Red Skies for the sole purpose of seeing this character on the strength of this comment alone. Obviously Lynch writes well.
And my God, yes. Drakasha amuses and delights.
Oh yeah, the REST of the novel that isn't about her is magnificent, too. I loved Lies, but this is even better. I laughed, I cried.
I'm looking to see if there is another. Treat yourself. It's fantastic.(less)
The novel that started it all. There is quite a bit of evolution in the character of Miles Flint from this to the series we know and love, but it's st...moreThe novel that started it all. There is quite a bit of evolution in the character of Miles Flint from this to the series we know and love, but it's still excellent and lays a great groundwork.(less)
This is not a "learn to knit" book at all. I would encourage anyone considering the book to make sure you can at least make something that requires so...moreThis is not a "learn to knit" book at all. I would encourage anyone considering the book to make sure you can at least make something that requires some shaping (increases, decreases and all that) before picking it up.
But *after* that?
Get it! Get it! Getit!
If nothing else, it's a funny read. When discussing how to make steeks (she doesn't use the term, but it is a technique in which you make a sweater in the round and then *cut* your precious knitting to sew in the sleeves), she advises, "Cut on the basting, then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover." The book is loaded with little comments like that.
Mrs. Zimmerman saw knitting as an art and a creative process and did not feel that being creative was a trait reserved for the elite. She constantly encourages one to "cheat" to fix problems, or find solutions to make the garment work.
I share Mrs. Zimmerman's dislike of seaming sweaters, so the techniques she has taught for knitting them in the round make me very happy, indeed!(less)
Since about a third of the book extols the stash, I figured a third of this review should, too. The other parts of the book do have some excellent kni...moreSince about a third of the book extols the stash, I figured a third of this review should, too. The other parts of the book do have some excellent knitting advice, though, and McPhee does write some entertaining prose.
This book has lead me to the conclusion that I am not a real knitter. I have a yarn stash, yes. It’s contained in one, one bin in the bottom of my closet and is mostly made of leftover yarn from former projects. If I go to a yarn store, I know exactly what I need for my current project, and I buy exactly that. I do not fondle yarn. I’m not in love with yarn. While I do prefer 100% wool for my knitting, friends, Wool of the Andes is my go-to yarn.1 I don’t fondle the skeins and think about what the yarn “wants” to be. I think about what I want to make, then select the appropriate yarn. It’s not that I don’t love good construction materials. I live in Northern New England and there is a reason I love wool!
But apparently the real knitter has a stash that’s big enough to be embarrassing, but not so embarrassing that there isn’t a bit of brag going on. The real knitter hides how much one spends on yarn from partners. The real knitter could happily use the stash as a mattress. The real knitter is obsessed in yarn stores, fondles the different yarns and consults with it so that it is possible to discover what that yarn wants to be.
I admit it. I’m not a real knitter. I just make sweaters and socks and hats with sticks and string.(less)