After reading an intriguing article on the making of the new-ish "Cloud Atlas" movie in the Los Angeles Times, I put my name on the waiting list for the book at the public library, and as that list was very long, I have only just got around to reading the novel by David Mitchell.
I must admit that my head whirled more than a little as I read this, and did not really stop even after I finished. I was impressed by the different voices Mitchell put on, how Adam Ewing's section sounded like an early-Victorian American and Robert Frobisher's like a 1930s aesthete, and how Luisa Rey's section sounded like a 1970s television drama and Sonmi-451's like a dystopian cautionary tale even though neither of those two things were anything that I would have been at all likely to pick up on their own. I appreciated the philosophical points that Mitchell made, and was carried along by most of the stories -- although I thought that Luisa Rey's and Timothy Cavendish's dragged more than a little for me -- but my appreciated of Mitchell's fluid prose took an unexpected tumble towards the end, when I came across no less than three examples of subjective and objective "hypercorrection". Alas, I did not make a note to myself of the specific wording, but it was those "John and me went to the store" kind of things, two instances at least by characters who certainly should have known better. I find this even more jarring than I used to, and I'm afraid that it really jolted me out of the story.
I read this pretty much all in one sitting. Tyldesley has written numerous biographies of ancient Egyptians, and her prose is very accessible without losing her air of scholarship, although I don't think this book has anything new to say about Tutankhamen and his family, but instead provides a capable account of both Tutankhamen's life and the discovery of his tomb by Howard Carter and the aftermath of that momentous event, in a compilation of current research and theories. I could have wished that there was much less about the so-called "curse", though, to which Tyldesley devotes an entire section of her book.
I picked up The Importance of Being Seven at Costco a month or so ago. I must admit that at the time I had not read many of McCall Smith's books except the Isabel Dalhousie series and the one-off La's Orchestra Saves the World, but I have really enjoyed both of those, finding McCall Smith one of those gentle, undemanding, lightly humorous writers that one turns to for a pleasant, comfortable read. I saw an interview with him somewhere in which he said something like, "Some people complain that nothing much ever happens in my books. I think that there is enough happening in the world today!" which amused me greatly and really does describe his books, certainly the Isabel Dalhousie series, up to a point. I really like the way that Isabel goes about her life as best she can yet occasionally -- for she is a philosopher -- goes off on these mental tangents. Why does such-and-such happen? why do we do the things we do? and then life breaks back in and she comes back to earth, as it were.
So I thought, "right, well, I enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie books, I should read something else of his," even though I found myself for some peculiar reason putting off starting any of the other series. (Why do I do this?...) Of course, this sixth book of the "44 Scotland Street" series is also charming and gently humorous and filled with interesting characters and philosophical musings now and then, so much that I went to the library the moment I'd finished it and borrowed the previous five volumes and read them in about a week.
Laura got this for her birthday. Unfortunately, she is absorbed in horror stories at present, and isn't interested at all in gentle stories of lonely children in bombed-out London or in gardens, but I read it for the first time the other day and loved it. I don't think I've read much Rumer Godden -- only (curiously, because I was probably about twelve at the time) In This House of Brede in the Readers' Digest Condensed version, wh. I remember being very moved by. The story in An Episode of Sparrows doesn't seem much like something a child might want to read, and even as I read it I thought that it would take an extraordinary child to appreciate it these days, but the writing is beautiful and rather elegaic, and the characters are vivid and for the most part marvellously unstereotypical.
As for the more literal use of the title of this post, I spent a few weeks knitting up a skein of Pagewood Farms' Denali, which has haunted my stash for some time, into the Amala Triangle from the Spring 2012 Knit.Wear magazine, which would have been quite lovely had there been enough yardage in the skein to work the thing full-size. I could have taken out a bit of the garter stitch section and finished the border, but the smaller size would have grieved me too much, I think. Who wants a poky shoulder scarf?
By the way, here is a fairly blatant example of why you should not be impatient and rip out a stalled project and go straight into the next one without un-kinking the wool. Just about halfway up in this photo, you can see where I got to the end of the kinked wool and the start of the "new" bit. Well, it's all in a sodden hank on my back porch now, gently relaxing and almost ready for something else.
Jaywalkers in Sensations Truly sock yarn, which I got at Jo-Ann's. Would have been nice, except that I made them too big. Have started over again, but seem to have lost interest for the time being.
And my Invercargill scarf, which to my dismay curls mercilessly. I did not "help" it any for this photo. I really dislike that in a scarf, and realized after pushing it aside any number of times as I looked for something to wear, that I really should accept the inevitable and make something that I actually would use. Yoga socks, perhaps?