29 September 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... reading 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' by Mitch Albom
... watching 'Strictly Come Dancing' and related programmes
... knitting a scarf - really! I've cast on and everything!
... back to my mega-hectic schedule - theatre group Monday, singing Wednesday, youth club Friday, arrgh!
... practisting for my driving theory test next week

28 September 2008

Knitter's Block

I have a confession to make - despite promising to start a new knitting project this week, I haven't. In fact, it's nearly a fortnight since I knitted.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that I've just started a new job and feel permanently tired, so the thought of lifting a pair of needles at the end of a day just seems too strenuou, particularly in comparison to stroking Millie's tummy. (Millie's a cat in case you're not a regular reader)

Another reason is the project I've just finished. Well, it's not really finished, but I'm done knitting it. It's  a beret knitted from a pattern in 'Let's Knit' magazine and not only was it rather awkward to knit with lots of short-row shaping, I had to use some short needles which worsened my hand cramp so it took ages, and now it's done it's enormous! I've no pictures yet to back this up because taking it out of my knitting bag makes me feel sad. It's a disaster like I haven't experienced since I was a very new knitter and attempted mittens for my Mum. So I feel rather disheartened by this. Plus, I've decided to felt it to try and shrink it a bit, then I need to sew some ribbon on the inside of the band to stop it itching, so it's not really done, and I hate leaving things unfinished but I never remember to put it in the washing machine with a load so I'm falling at the final hurdle a bit.

Then there's the simple indecision about what to knit next. I could do some more of my cardigan, but I also need to knit at least one scarf or hat before the middle of November to give to the Christmas shoebox appeal and I'm not sure I could do both in time. I've still got about a skein of the black wool I used for the beret to use up which I was going to use for a scarf, but I've never liked scarves so the thought of making a start on one is enoguh to put me off doing anything remotely crafty.

So I've generally lost my knitting mojo. Any other knitters out there experience this?

200 word review: 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' by Mark Haddon

It’s a brave author who narrates a novel from the perspective of a teenage boy. Braver still is the author who narrates a novel from the perspective of a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome. Mark Haddon does this so convincingly, it made me wonder whether he was autistic (apparently not, but he has worked with autistic children.)

The story of ‘The Curious Incident …’ starts out simply – Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog killed and decides to find the murderer. Using this simple concept, Haddon not only explores the workings of Christopher’s mind, but also the repercussions that autism can have on a family and community. The reading experience is at times unsettling, particularly when the main narrative is interrupted by Christopher’s thoughts about science, but this creates awareness of how unsettling the world must be to a child who notices absolutely everything in a room but cannot understand jokes, irony or metaphors.

Apparently Haddon was surprised when his publishers suggested marketing this novel to both adults and children. However, I think this novel should be part of the national curriculum; not only is it a sound literary work, it may also create more acceptance of autistic children in mainstream education.

22 September 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... hoping I'm not as ill as I was last week, blimmin' colds!
... looking after hubby as he's caught my cold
... reading 'Curious Incident ...'
... watching 'The Count of Monte Cristo'
... knitting either a scarf or more of my cardigan, not decided yet
... tidying, the house is a mess!

15 September 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'
... watching 'The Count of Monte Cristo'
... STILL finishing the beret (it's a beast!)
... shopping for my Mum's birthday present
... seeing the family at the weekend

14 September 2008

200 word review: 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickens

Usually when I read a book I write the review in my head as I go along. But, with ‘Great Expectations’, I became so engrossed in the story that I forgot to do this. So writing this review is going to be tricky!

I already knew the story from the BBC adaptation, but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel at all. There were still moments when I read faster because I desperately wanted to know what happened next and I still created my own images of the characters. The real mastery is the way the emotions of the narrator (Pip, a village boy who comes into money and becomes a London gentleman) are conveyed, both in the moment of the narration and in the melancholy hindsight. There is a bitter tinge to his telling of how he came into his fortune, and yet this doesn’t betray how his expectations turn sour later – although I knew it was coming, I still felt the shock and profound disappointment of Pip when he discovered the identity of his benefactor.

Despite avoiding Dickens for years, I greatly enjoyed this shining example of his skill in storytelling, and would recommend it to anyone.

08 September 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... reading 'Great Expectations'
... finishing the beret and going back to the cardigan
... watching 'The Terminal' (didn't get round to it last week)
... getting over the horrible cold I got after getting soaked on Friday
... officially a permanent member of staff at LMU!

02 September 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... reading 'Great Expectations'
... watching 'The Terminal'
... knitting a beret
... learning my new job, eek!
... busy (was out with theatre group last night, got a driving lesson Thursday and back to youth club Friday, phew!)
... aching (the 20-minute walk from the train station to my office is taking it's toll after just two days)