Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Summer Reading

Summer Holidays are for catching up with some good reading , its one of lifes' greatest luxuries to lose yourself in a good book.
Now to quote a friend - certain books are not my thing but I am not judging - my taste in books is not always the usual summer reading.

Spending time in Spanish Majorca (also have relations who live in Spain) , I thought a book with a Spanish theme would be good summer reading , so over the last three summers I have read novels by the Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Starting with Shadow of the Wind , then Angels Game and finally this summer Prisoner of Heaven .
This books ties in with the other two , but is shorter and more humorous than the last two . The story revisits the characters , Daniel Sempere son of a bookshop owner and Fermin de Torres his protector, from the first book in a later era of post-civil war Barcelona , but includes their histories from during the Civil war in Spain . There are gruesome descriptions of prisoners lives , murder by the Police , disappearances of people , and the restrictions in life of this period , but there is also alot of gallows humour .
However the crux of the story rests on books , the writing of them , the good ones ,the bad ones , the good writers and the bad ones and the use of good writers to "re-write" the stories of the bad ones and so on .
I like this book , but found it too short , and the ending a little disappointing as there were more questions than answers .
Shadow of the Wind was excellent , Angels Game good but the body count was bordering on laziness on the writers part , Prisoner of Heaven good , too short and disappointing ending.

My other Summer book was a biography of Charles Dickens - which is better than it sounds .
I am reading quite a lot of Dickens just now - and enjoying it more than I did in my teens.
However the man behind the books is just as if not more interesting than them.
Clare Tomalin does an excellent job in making what should be an academic book very readable.
Dickens turns out to be a myriad of his characters in one man , generous and giving , cold and indifferent , affable and friendly , sharp and uncaring .
Towards the end of the book I felt exhausted reading of all his activities , his walking , his acting , his writing books , writing letters , setting up newspapers , his traveling on the continent , keeping up and entertaining family and friends , his good works, setting up a home to rescue street women , he was like a tornado who finally lost power .
His parents while loving were quite neglectful of him and never spoke of his time in the blacking factory , they also took advantage of his famous name racking up countless debts that he paid  .
He was a fabulous character who unfortunately didn't seem capable of encouraging his own children to do well.
Only one managed to get to University and persuading his father not to take him out of school age 15 years.
His poor wife , who gave him 10 children, lived in obscurity after he "separated " from her to carry out a secret affair with a young actress.
This was part of his life that the early biographies omitted , the affair had been kept secret in line with the mores of the time , and it was his daughter who finally wrote about it.

I am no book reviewer , but I do love books , so next stop this summer is the library.
Also , I have a ton of fabulous knitting books that I'll be referring to , as I want to knit up more socks and lace .

Socks to start - this pattern from Ysoldas' Whimsical Little Knits 3 , called Sherman.
It has a disappearing loop cast on at the toe (toe-up) and a shaped sole , so lots of new things to try.

And the yarn - this sportweight Regia yarn 150g of cuddliness - I started to knit another pattern with it but the sock was too big , that's when I found Sherman .
The yarn and needles for this pattern are slightly bigger than usual , sportweight yarn and 3mm needles - hopefully a quicker knit , but its the pattern and different methods I'm more interested in.

This is a link to the disappearing loop or circular cast-on youtube video - its simpler than I thought.
Putting the kids to bed a little earlier tonight so I can focus on my knitting in peace .

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