14 April 2006
my nose

My nose has been in one book or another the last several days, which means I haven't been stitching. In the past few days, I've completed The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (which gets my Favorite Book of the Year So Far award) and the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy (yes, they're young adult books, but good). I also finished up Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

I'm not a fan of endings, generally speaking. I think authors too often cop out and give us the happy ending that we all want, even if the story wasn't really leaning that way. That is my sole criticism of The Shadow of the Wind. For the rest, I really enjoyed the novel and it whetted my appetite for Spanish writing - sadly, as that is quite hard to obtain here. I love the way Spanish writing incorporates the impossible, the fantastical, the magical (not in the Harry Potter sense!) as if it were as solid and real as a dinner of potatoes & gravy. It makes you feel like anything's possible, if you're only open to it. Diamonds in oranges? Why not?! Anyway, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell also had a weak ending that felt sort of thrown-together to me. It was as if the author suddenly realized she was nearly out of paper, or ink, or some other basic element. Of course it is difficult to end a very long novel ... one does want it to go on, and on, and on.... The Pullman trilogy had a satisfactory ending - no one went away really happy in the end - but at a certain point it felt like the Good versus Evil struggle was being forced down my gullet with a long stick. I'm pretty prickly when I think someone is forcing their (theological) position on me, and if Mr. Pullman had been here, I'd have probably picked an argument with him. I much prefered his other novel, The Tiger in the Well, and plan to purchase the other two volumes from that series in the near future. (And Bert, I agree that Hilary Mantel can be quite depressing; Beyond Black was actually uncomfortable to read in places.)

In addition to reading, the kids have kept me quite busy. Spring seems to have put everything on fast-forward and I'm getting through each day with about enough reserve energy to fill a flea's teaspoon. Nicky and Rowen are busy with everything at once, though their constant bickering has leveled off. Max is still wound up about his birthday, and now about Easter as well. We've been painting Easter eggs (and the table, the floor, our clothes...) and talking about what the Easter Bunny might leave this year. Niek and I did some emergency shopping last night to make sure those baskets will be filled with the right treats, too. (Picture is of Max and his best friend demonstrating their time machine.)

Niek's work has been pretty stressful the past couple of weeks, so I haven't had a chance to impose on him to upload the pictures while at work. Eventually, I'll be able to post Max's birthday photos and other visual treats. Because my better half has been rather stressed out, I also haven't pushed the computer issue. Hopefully, with the upcoming 3-day weekend he'll have a chance to relax and we can finally get a computer ordered. Cross your fingers & toes, please!

Thanks for continuing to visit me here even though I've been terrible about updating and even though there are no pretty pictures!

And before I go: a big hug and thank you to Dianne and Jennifer, who've both bowled me over with their generosity. Dianne sent me some lovely charts, a piece of fabric, and a beautiful pair of leaping dolphin earrings. And Jennifer sent me some charts that have been on my informal Wish List for some time now. Thank you both!
posted by mainely stitching at 8:29 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ |


  • At Sunday, 16 April, 2006, Blogger Von

    How nice to find something wonderful in the post!!
    Never mind about not getting pics up, Barbara. We'll wait it out with you. Hope Niek's work is less stressful soon, and he can choose a fantastic new computer!