Thursday, October 1, 2009

Third quarter book report (2009)

Summertime, and the reading is easy, right? Well, let's see if I managed to squeeze in any reading among all the sunshine and camping and writing about incredibly boring companies.

Key: C: Children's; F: Fantasy; H: Historical; Hr: Horror; M: Mystery; MG: Middle Grade (ages 8-12); NF: Nonfiction; P: Poetry; SF: Science Fiction; SS: Short Stories; YA: Young Adult (age 13+); *not in the last ten years at least; ^for work.

07/04/09: Dante Aligheri, The Inferno (P, 1)
07/06/09: Scott Westerfeld, The Secret Hour (YA, SF, 1)
07/09/09: Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honor (SF, 10? 15?)
07/11/09: Bujold, Barrayar (SF, 10+)
07/12/09: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince (C, F, 1)
07/14/09: Westerfeld, Touching Darkness (YA, SF, 1)
07/18/09: Westerfeld, Blue Noon (YA, SF, 1)
07/26/09: Goethe, Faust, Part One (classic, 1)
07/29/09: Max Brooks, World War Z (Hr, 3)
08/01/09: John Green, Paper Towns (YA, 1)
08/02/09: Bujold, The Warrior's Apprentice (SF, 10+)
08/03/09: Bujold, The Vor Game (SF, 10+)
08/04/09: Bujold, Brothers in Arms (SF, 10+)
08/06/09: Neil Gaiman, Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists (F, graphic novel, 1)
08/07/09: Richard Preston, The Demon in the Freezer (NF, 2)
08/08/09: Bujold, Mirror Dance (SF, 10+)
08/09/09: Bujold, Memory (SF, 10+)
08/09/09: Bujold, Komarr (SF, 10+)
08/11/09: Bujold, A Civil Campaign (SF, 10)
08/13/09: Bujold, Cetaganda (SF, 10+)
08/14/09: Goethe, Faust, Part Two (classic, 1)
08/15/09: Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity (SF, 8)
09/04/09: ^Hillary Rodham Clinton, Living History (NF, 1)
09/11/09: ^Carl Bernstein, A Woman in Charge (NF, 1)
09/21/09: Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (classic, 1)
09/24/09: John Green, An Abundance of Katherines (YA, 1)

I didn't include the medical thriller by a nameless best-selling author that I quit halfway through because the characters kept getting more and more cardboard, the dialogue kept getting more and more didactic, and the plot had been given away by the prologue, so why keep on? In any case, you probably notice the major speed bump I hit in late August, called Anna Karenina. While normally I could plow through a novel of 800+ pages in ten days, I got swamped by assignments and didn't have as much free time for reading. It took me four weeks to finish Anna, which I read in bits between scanning biographies for work.

So I only read 26 books this quarter, and the number would have been really really small if I hadn't had my annual indulgence into Lois McMcMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series, my favorite books in the whole wide world. (And a new volume to come in 2010!) Now that school (and rehearsals and chauffeuring and rehearsals and teaching) has started up again, I fear my reading time will decrease again. But since I'm done with "remedial reading," for the year, maybe I'll get more out of my reading time. Check back in three months to see.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Quilt Files, Episode 14

... or, Theme and Variations in Maize and Blue. Last time I showed you two variations of a baby quilt pattern, "Busy Baby," that I had made in primary colors. Those weren't the first time I made the pattern, however; originally I made this version below, for my nephew. (His dad is a Michigan fan; it's never too early to start indoctrinating, I say.)

This version is actually closest to what the pattern describes, although it called for red fabrics where I used blue ones. In later versions I replaced the funny center pocket square with an initial (in one maize-and-blue one, a block M), or moved the order of the squares. The hardest part of this pattern was actually finding the black-and-white flannel prints. I managed to find the stripe that's used in the center square and the check that's on the borders; the doggy that you see in the center of the top left square is actually from the same print that provided the animal prints in the top and middle squares of the right column; creative cutting and piecing allowed for the different looks. I found a last black-and-white print that included small bits of red, blue, and yellow; you see it in the top left and bottom right squares.

I've made this maize-and-blue variation two other times, although I don't have photos; I still have a little bit of those black-and-white prints left, as well as some yellows and blues, so it's entirely possible I may go back to this pattern for the next baby I welcome into the world with a play quilt. Or maybe I'll splurge and find some green ... Nah, don't think that would work.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photo of the Week--9/28/09

Pigeons in Vatican City? Sacrilege! So during this visit in winter 1999, we had Boy chase them around St. Peter's Square. You can see they're fat and lazy, and probably used to having people moving about. I guess that's why you don't see any of them flying away, even with an almost-five-year-old Boy barrelling down among them. Pigeons are so blasé; one more reason to despise the little sky rats.