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Archive Entries for August 2014

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Sunday August 31, 2014

Books in August

  • Ten-Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler [read by Tim Goodman] BOM-B&M10SecondStaircase.jpg
    Working my way steadily backwards through the series, I finally get to the "famous highwayman case". I think I twigged the "answer" fairly quickly with this one, though no less enjoyable for that. The author has stuck to the apparently mysterious and impossible as fodder for the plots.... but some work better than others - though I am always suspecting that my view of the books I read can be affected by my own mood as much as the book itself.

  • Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan BOM-DeadMansLand.jpg
    Following on from that thought - the first few months of the year found me a bit depressed and reading the first few pages of this book made me feel I could not deal with such a realistic portrayal of WW1. So although George gave me this book for Christmas, it has taken me until now to pick it up. However, it is a very good book indeed - perhaps my initial reaction to it says how really good it is.
    George made an excellent choice, as this book brings together a lot of what are (apparently) my interests - the hero is an elderly Dr John Watson continuing his career as a medic on the front line. Like other books which work well using these Conan Doyle characters, it is not a Holmesian pastiche - the author stays true to the people he portrays while offering a different perspective - but somehow it is always clear when an author's affection for the original materials comes through and I do not find any false notes here to spoil my pleasure in the book.

  • Bloodline by Felix FrancisBOM-Bloodline.jpg
    I had a quick look at other reviewers opinions on this book (ordinary folk like me). They were mixed but whether they were enthusiastic or disappointed, there were some general points coming through with which I agree - I was just having trouble pinpointing them on my own... First and most important - this is better than the previous books and I would recommend it - and despite any negative points below it is well up to the Francis tradition.
    Second, the formulaic "interesting job" of the hero is a TV racing commentator, and this aspect is really interesting and well integrated into the story.
    But then - third - the characters: one person said he "lacks the empathy apparent in the writing of his father" (though I would question whether it was his father or his mother that really influenced this), but whether because of this or not, the characters did not come across as very likeable; I don't know how you fix this as a writer but it needs fixing.
    And finally, which I think might be an extension of point 3, the relationships and probably specifically sex is not well described - you don't really feel the emotion, and if you are going to have these themes then they certainly need to be convincing. Dick Francis books did not always have a conventional boy/girl romantic relationship as the core of the emotional interest - in one case it was the protective relationship of the hero with his brother that tugged the heartstrings, and in others, the hero is in an impossible domestic situation that he has decided for moral reason to just accept. Writing about these somewhat off-beat relationships is not at all easy to do while making the reader both believe in them as well as really feel them - but anyway I hope Felix gets to grips with it as he continues to write.

Posted on August 31, 2014 at 3:56 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Wednesday August 27, 2014

Matisse - The Cut-Outs


Managed to catch this wonderful exhibition before it closed. I think most things that can be said have been said by others - one being how roughly the work is done, and that the shapes are covered in pin holes where they were moved many times before a final decision on position. But there were some new things for me - one relating to the roughness of the work - it seems much of the art was designs for other media, for example, ceramics, weavings (rugs), textiles (chasubles), and stained glass windows. So the exhibition pieces not only stated when he created the work but also when the piece was executed and in what medium - many of course cannot be displayed in a gallery as they are architectural.

It left Rob greatly inspired to go home and start on cut-outs as a decorative theme for his house.

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Thursday August 21, 2014

Woolfest - post-sales


I spun the purple fluff I bought at Woolfest and knitted another Stellaria as planned. [Just confirming that for once the plan was followed through in a timely manner].

This Stellaria has a lovely light soft woollen feel to it - but of course has lost the silky drape that results using yarns such as Rowan Damask.

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.