First things first, whaddaya think of my new blog design? Did it myself I did. I brushed off some of my old HTML skills and fiddled with one of Blogger’s templates. I think it turned out nicely. I may still tweak some things (mainly colours right now), but all in all I’m liking it. The background graphic is from Squidfingers. That little birdie at the top I love especially, it’s by Ida Waugh and appeared in a little book called Holly Berries (1881).
I guess before I continue on I should at least mention the books that I have in fact read since last posting. It would be rather mean of me to ignore them. The first book that I finished after last posting was The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin. This has got to be one of the most amazing books that I have read in a long time. Toibin is a beautiful storyteller and I felt really connected with the main character, Helen (to the point that I was shocked at times by commonalities between her and I). While some have said that they’re tired of Toibin writing books about gay people (especially gay people and AIDS), I felt that because of his personal experience (write what you know) Toibin was cleverly adept at making the whole story come alive in a way that was compelling and didn’t rely on heart-pulling to keep the reader occupied. I see no problem with writing about the theme of homosexual identity, especially since it is a theme that needs to be openly explored and accepted.
Next up was Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair; this was a fantastic book again! I didn’t really know much about it before I picked it up and I hadn’t seen either of the movies, but I had heard good things about it and decided to give it a shot. I must admit that I have never been through a situation even remotely close to that described in the book, but I still really felt connected to the characters and to the story as a whole. I think that this is because much of the book is at least loosely based on Graham Greene’s own experience. It was a fairly sad book, but still very beautiful and well-written.
I started Night Letters by Robert Dessaix, and while I think it will be a very interesting read, I wasn’t able to get through it at the time. I’ve put it aside for another day, hopefully I do return to it.
I’ve been reading a lot of poetry, short stories, and journal articles instead of full-length books too. One of the best articles I read was The Victorian Sickroom in L. M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle and Emily's Quest : Sentimental Fiction and the Selling of Dreams which was written by Kate Lawson (a professor at the
Currently I’m reading Heart and Soul, Maeve Binchy’s latest. Maeve Binchy just has such a way of making everyday life so interesting. Nothing fantastical or really crazy happens to any of her characters, but I would never say that their lives are boring. They’re normal people with normal lives, but I have always found everyday life interesting and I guess that’s why I love her books so much. I’m just about finished up with this one and I think the next will be Alistair MacLeod’s short story collection,
Now that I'm done talking about books, I wanted to share this little guy that I made. His name is Ollie, and I made him for Alex. I based him off of a Christmas Ornament pattern that Anna Maria had posted to her blog (you can see a link to her blog on the right), I just changed a few things. Alex has also suggested that he'd like a bigger version (think decorative pillow-sized), which is what I'm currently working on. I'll post a picture of him when he's done. Oh, and the quote-name of this post was at Alex's request. He loves Hemingway...and owls...and stuff.
What else? I'm waiting for some fabric to arrive in the mail. I'm very excited about it all! I ordered Anna Maria's Dance Floor in burgundy and Mingling in rose, Heather Bailey's Tiled Primrose in rose, Alexander Henry's Spotted Owl in white, and Tina Givens' Silhouette Polka in pink. I can't wait for them all to arrive!
Tomorrow, if I have the time that is, I'm going to tell you all about Paula Prass and what a nice lady she is!