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Brewer Burns

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some Summer Reading

I've been reading rather voraciously this spring and summer. Some of the books that I've finished up:

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

A classic novel. On re-reading it I found much to like, but remembered why I have a hard time following it. Ms. Woolf employed almost a stream of consciousness style of writing that makes it hard for me to follow in places. On the whole it is interesting. I like the way that the author ties together the story of Septimus & Rezia with that of the Dalloways. Some of the prose is incredibly picturesque.

The River Why by David James Duncan

Really, this is a coming of age story. It's kind of a man's story written for men, but I still like it. The beginning chapters, dealing with Gus's family are hilarious, really laugh out loud funny in places. The later chapters are more metaphysical and philosophical in nature, but worthwhile.

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

I really enjoyed reading this book. The premise is this: Julie Powell (the author) cooks every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child in a year. Ms. Powell had a well-read blog during this time and the book is the result of that year and those blog posts. Since I wasn't a reader of the blog I don't know how the finished book compares to the blog entries, but it was a fascinating read.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Wicked is one of those books that I really want to like, but have some problems liking. I wanted there to be much more character development with the main character, Elphaba. Lots of stuff (interesting stuff) happens in this novel, but it would be much more interesting if we actually got into Elphaba's head once in a while. Where this is most apparent (and disappointing) is after the death of Elphaba's lover. She apparently

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I enjoy the atmosphere of this book. And, on a second reading, it is even more poignant than the first time. It's a great read (although it helps if you read up on Czech history just a little first.)

The only book on this list that I hadn't previously read is Julie & Julia. And I discovered something. It seems that I completely skimmed several of these books when I read them before, especially Great Expectations. There were whole portions of the book that I had no recollection of reading. So, it's been interesting. Now that the last Harry Potter has come out, I've started reading the second to last book (the Half-Blood Prince.) I'm about halfway through. I have a hard time with these books sometimes because I feel really bad when Harry is subjected to unfairness. I have to finish now though. I've also vowed that I will not peek at the last page of the Deathly Hallows (I do that to lessen anxiety.) I don't want to ruin the last installment of the series. In fact, I may go back and re-read the earlier books before I read the last book to remind myself of all that has happened.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vintage Pink Cardigan

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Next Project

Definitely something lacy. I still have: a partial skein of Jaegerspun Zephyr in Cinnabar, and another partial in Violet (or Lavendar, the purple color) and a whole skein of pink. I have some goals. I still owe my sister a birthday present. I want to make my niece, Gwendolyn, a scarf (the red or the pink? Apparently she loves pink. Or the violet?) It may be something from Victorian Lace Today or some other pattern. Some of the possibilities are the Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls, the Paisley Shawl from Spring 2004 IK, Icarus (from IK) and probably a few more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Being a Public Defender, Great Expectations and Other Things

Okay, I've finished another project in my absence. Twinkle Toes from Knitty, made from Hempathy in a sea green color. I used one whole skein to make one pair (I even had to cannibalize my swatch to finish them.) Pictures when the mood strikes me. Same with the pictures of the Vintage Pink Cardigan.

I re-read Great Expectations over the past couple of weeks. I've read it before but I have to say that I think I skimmed pretty much the whole book because I didn't remember any of it really. And, I didn't even notice the last time that I read the book, but Mr. Jaggers (Pip's "guardian") is a criminal defense lawyer. It was fascinating to read the book, and especially the passages which deal with Mr. Jaggers, Mr. Wemmick as Jaggers' clerk, the passage where Pip visits Newgate Prison with Mr. Wemmick, and the portions where Magwitch's trial is ongoing. Dickens wrote Great Expectations in the latter half of the 19th century in England and yet there were striking similarities between the criminal justice system, the judges, attorneys, and prisoners.

One of the most interesting things about the character of Pip is the course that his coming into adulthood and maturity takes. As a teenager, he is ashamed of his associations with stepfather, Joe, and the people of his village, and he throws them off so that he can become a gentleman and worthy of Estella. But it's not until he learns that the source of his means is a convict himself and that Magwitch is a human being deserving of compassion, and fellowship that Pip truly sees his own shortcomings and becomes a responsible adult. Pip ultimately risks himself to attempt to save Magwitch's life (by getting him out of the country undetected.) When he fails and it is clear that Magwitch will die, either from the injuries he suffered, or barring that, by execution, Pip nurses him and even more is his constant companion until his death.

Great Expectations is really an inverted fairy tale. Pip's fairy godmother is not Miss Havisham as he has often believed, but Magwitch, a man whom Pip has nothing but contemp for. The princess, Estella, has, in the words of Miss Havisham, block of ice instead of a heart. Pip's fortunes are not made when he receives the unexpected windfall from Magwitch, but when he loses it all, through his own dissipation and Magwitch's folly in returning to England. Only then does he become a respectable adult. It's not surprising really, since Great Expectations is the second to last novel that Dickens finished. It was written by a man who was older, wiser, and had suffered disappointments in his own life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Overheard in the Dentist's Chair

Remember when that woman, that CIA agent, like she was outed or something and they thought that he had something to do with that?

Is that what they got him for?

Yeah. I think so.

Guess which one was my dentist and which was his assistant.

Honestly, the conversation that they were having while they cleaned my teeth veered into so many either surprising (and not in a good way) or mildly offensive topics, I couldn't believe it.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Random Monday

Because life is always random on a Monday. Stephen and I watched this fictionalized TV show on the Science Channel last night that was all about what would happen to the Earth if an asteroid hit (which may happen in 2029, if you were wondering.) I have to say that I'm quite certain that in the event that a 10 mile wide rock plummets straight into the Pacific Ocean off Peru, I'm not going to make it. And I'm okay with that.

I finished the Vintage Pink Cardigan on Saturday. Dry and buttons sewn on kind of finsihed. It's beautiful. I do, however see two problems: one, the sleeves are too long. Instead of being 3/4 length they are full length. I can live with that though. Second, I'm going to have to sew down the bust area or I'm going to go around randomly assaulting strangers with the sight of my bra. I'll do that come fall. And tonight, hopefully, there will be pictures of me in said cardigan.

Now, I'm a little lost knitting wise. I have two projects on the needles: the Bed Socks for Grandma Marion that I still don't have yarn for and a pair of Thuja for me, knit with Opal self-patterning sock yarn. My heart is in neither project. I'm considering starting something completely different. I don't really know what though.

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