Happy 80th yesterday to my amazing mama.
And what a lovely weekend Nathaniel and I are having: Andy and Camilla are blitzing NYC with Julie and Caroline as hosts, so they are busy and will soon be exhausted. N and I are spending as much cozy time as possible and yet clicking away on "stuff we wanna do" as well. Yesterday after a terrific Senior Exhibition festival, I got home an hour earlier than I'd ever dreamed, and I had considered a trip to Belfast to visit the beautiful Fiddlehead Artisan Supply for a pattern for the Washi dress, so we went at 3:00! And had a wonderful time! And basked in the wonderfulness that is Belfast: Fiddlehead, then the candy/ice cream store, then the game store, then Heavenly Sock Yarns (N got yarn to make a hat for his tech mentor's impending daughter), and THEN we stopped into Eat More Cheese, where N now wants to work (or live, possibly). We had a lovely time boosting the economy, and then were home by 6 pm, and that was a great start to our weekend! Today it's been snowing a bit, so I'm extra-glad to have gotten our trip in on a lovely dry day, and I got some cheap fabric from Marden's for a Washi trial run, and I am about to go make our beloved soup, but I need to update Goodreads. Tonight we're watching "Amelie". . . and knitting!
Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Andy gave me this for Christmas, and I started it but almost gave it up, then stuck with it and enjoyed it. It's part allegory, part mystery, part family novel, and that is its drawback as well as its attraction, I think. Some parts are very sharp and funny, and the details of the invisibility are creative and original, but then there are some gratingly trite sections. About high school students, observed by two invisible women: "Kids don't want to be bad, they just have no idea how to stop themselves. They're so wrapped up in their image they can't make the right choices" (94) or "'So we've got to figure out who we are. We've got to stop standing around in the corner wondering if anybody is missing us. We have to find our light so people still know we're here. Lila found it.. . ." (128). A little gooey and simplistic for me! In fact my problem occurred when Ray straddled the line between invisibility as metaphor and invisibility as medical side-effect--but overall, it ended up as an interesting book.
**Extra FYI: Ray is Ann Patchett's mama. And she lives in Nashville, TN, which is beginning to sound like a place I'd like to live.
Habits of the House by Fay Weldon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Meh. Too many characters, and too few likable ones. I've come to think that the varied view point that is so hot now is just not done very well very often. For a stronger series, I'd recommend any Angela Thirkell (though I know she's an acquired taste!) or Elisabeth Jane Howard's series about the Cazalet family. However, I may at least pick up the other two at the library for a quick skim.
The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oh, this was a delight, and especially wonderful as an audiobook (thank you Daniel Philpot!) as we got to hear Hugo's Yorkshire accent in its full glory. A bit predictable as far as plot goes, but, beyond wanting to kick Lord Darracott swiftly and repeatedly in the breeches, I enjoyed watching it all unfold before me. My only sadness is not having another Heyer cued up on my ipod for the next month of commuting. . . Audible.com, here I come.
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
One of my students did a "turn the tables on the teacher who's always giving us books" and gave me this to read, which I did, quickly. It's clearly a youngish young adult novel (maybe around 10 or so?) and has very anthropomorphized animals as characters, but it also has a mystical/mythical plot going as well--a tad confusing and a tad overwrought, in my opinion. However, it is beautifully written, with lovely descriptions and imagery. If it's AD's favorite book, it's certainly blown her cover as a reluctant reader!
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