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Archive Entries for August 2021

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Tuesday August 31, 2021

Books in August

  • The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves [read by Jack Holden] BOM-TheHeronsCry.jpg
    Ann Cleeves novels just seem to get better and better.
    This is the second book in the "Two Rivers"series, in which we meet a new cast of characters who are extremely likeable and realistic. The scenic backdrop of North Devon gives all the appearance of a sleepy rural environment, and the pace of the story matches the steady thoughtful personality of Detective Matthew Venn. However, appearances are deceptive, and in this book, as the previous one, the pace quickens, towards the thrilling concluding chapters, where the dangerous potential of the Devon landscape and its dramatic weather are fully exploited.
    Although in Venn, we do have a fairly idiosyncratic man heading up the investigations, I would say he has pretty equal billing with the rest of his team within the story line, which is an aspect I particularly like. We are not faced with the hackneyed lone - probably alcoholic - detective with his/her faithful sidekick. Instead we have a quiet intelligent man, supported by a strong team of colleagues. The social environment of North Devon is portrayed as somewhat bohemian, with a group of artists providing the focus of the investigation in the "closed community" style of mystery.
    As usual, I listened to the audio version of the book, which was perfectly narrated by Jack Holden; he had a number of relatively diverse accents to deal with, which he did excellently - subtlety and without overt flourish - everything you look for in a narrator. I can't wait for more "Two Rivers" stories, and I'm looking forward to watching the much pre-publicised TV series.

  • Execution by S.J. Parris [read by Daniel Philpott]
    BOM-Execution.jpg Knowing the ultimate outcome for the historical character on which these books are based, I constantly fear for Bruno's safety.Even worse this one is called Execution [but I think I am not offering a real spoiler by saying it's not referring to Bruno's demise]. Rather this is again all about a famous Catholic plot against Elizabeth I.
    Bruno finds his way back to England once more, ending up spying for Walsingham, and all the while hoping to gain a sponsor/protector in order to be left to peacefully pursue his "heretical" writings. Again - no spoiler really - the end of the book finds him still hopeful, and - more importantly - still alive.

  • Nothing Ventured, Hidden in Plain Sight, Turn a Blind Eye, and Over My Dead Body
    by Jeffrey Archer [read by George Blagden]

    I was curious to read a Jeffrey Archer novel and I thought a "crime" novel might be a place to start. As the author himself explains very precisely - this is not a detective story, it's a story about a detective. It is in fact a story or set of stories about William Warwick's career in the police force. While I realised that, after all this time as a best-selling author, his popularity must be based on something of merit, I had assigned him to a particular category in my mind, and was reading (or listening) with a view to mentally poking fun.
    In fact, he certainly does know how to tell a story, and I continued seamlessly from one book to the next in the manner that one is hooked into a soap opera. True, I did find the "good egg" character - not to mention his love life - more than a little nauseating, and even though his father was a bit OTT, I thought the hero's family relationships were well drawn, (one suspects based on some true to life experiences as a child, or a parent), and the story line - like a Boy's Own adventure - was very engaging.
    The net is: it was so engaging, and as the stories never entirely reach a conclusion, I am (perhaps not quite eagerly) waiting for the next book*! Not at all what I anticipated I have to say.
    * Over My Dead Body is available in October.

    BOM-NothingVentured.jpg BOM-HiddenInPlainSight.jpg BOM-TurnABlindEye.jpg BOM-OverMyDeadBody.jpg

Posted on August 31, 2021 at 12:40 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Sunday August 15, 2021

Granny Square Day


Today is (apparently) Granny Square Day.
These well-known squares can offer a simple entry point into the world of crochet - most (older) folk well aware of them long before they acquired the "granny" moniker - in fact at some point, I was driven to ask someone what it meant before I realised I had been making them on and off for years.

In more recent times, I have been intrigued by the prospect of making this Rona cardigan designed by Marie Wallin [originally in Rowan Magazine 46 from 2009]...


... for which I planned to use my hand-dyed hand-spun fleece - even though the original is in the all-time favourite Felted Tweed. The pattern has the potential in the squares for versatility in sizing, although I may go for a more reliable commercial yarn to make the plain fitted elements of the design.

Granny Square Day was started on Instagram in 2014, celebrating all things Granny (and square), and as a side effect is able to support a charitable enterprise as well - this years it's Woolly Hugs.

There is lots of excellent collateral on the Gathered website, including: a tutorial on how to make a granny square, some more unusual patterns, and a delightful diversion into triangular grannies for bunting.

Posted on August 15, 2021 at 9:20 AM. Category: Knitting and Crochet. | Comments (0)