RIP VI Reading Challenge – 9/1/11 – 10/31/11

It’s close enough to the end of the month that I can safely say I’ve finished my RIP V challenge reading. This year, I read:

This year, I was trying to read exclusively from my TBR bookcase, so I was a little more limited than I normally would be. I had two other books (A Dark Horn Blowing and The Light of Day) that I’d started, thinking they would work for the challenge, and decided later that they really didn’t. Still, it was all good reading, and I’m already looking forward to next year.


A Dark Horn Blowing – Dahlov Ipcar

When Nora hears the dark horn blowing, she leaves her husband and newborn son. A small boat brings her across the sea, where the dying Queen of Erland has Nora nurse her newborn son.

At first, Nora doesn’t remember where she came from, but eventually, her memories of her husband and son return. As much as she wants to return to them, she also feels compelled to stay with the small Prince, who is hated by his lecherous father. When the queen finally dies, the king decides to make Nora his next wife, and both Nora and the Prince must decide what they will do next.

This is a lovely mash up of several ancient tales. Erland is wispy and atmospheric, and I love that Nora’s two sons – her natural son, Owen, and Eelie, the prince, do meet. I’d initially picked this book hoping for a darker atmosphere, to fit the RIP challenge, but it’s definitely not that dark – it’s more Once Upon a Time challenge territory.

CSA 2011, Week 21

This week’s haul was: dinosaur kale, sweet potatoes, potato, butternut squash, delicata squash, and celery.

This was meant to be the last week, but the Portland pick up got messed up last week, so we get another pick up next week (which is technically the Winter CSA) as a make up.

I harvested the last of the Swiss chard from the garden earlier this week, which led to the cooking highlight of the week – a Swiss chard pizza of my own invention, involving the chard, gorgonzola (and mozzarella), mushrooms, and pancetta. Mmmmmm.

Out on a Limb CSA 2011, Week 4

My mother did the pick up this week, so the above is my selection only. I got: Grimes Golden, Pomme Grise, Gray Pearmain, Nod Head, Tolman Sweet, Benton Read, and Blue Permain.

My mother was most excited about the Blue Permain – she has a Blue Permain tree, but it’s too young to bear. It’s a lovely apple (it’s the uppermost left) – very red. These are actually all pretty striking apples – they have a very heirloom appearance with characteristics like bloom that you don’t normally see in supermarket apples.

Dark Lord of Derkholm – Diana Wynne Jones

Read for the RIP VI and 2011 YA Reading Challenges.

While this book isn’t a sure fit for the RIP Challenge categories (this picking things only out of my TBR stash is hard!), it is a great deconstruction of the take no prisoners dark lord tries to take over the world kind of stories, so I’m going to sneak it into my challenge reading.

For years, Mr. Chesney has been running tourist packages into a neighboring universe that happens to have magic. His guests pay lots of money to met elves, see dragons, fight various bad guys, and generally have a magical good time. Of course, the people of the other universe aren’t having such a good time, because they’ve been compelled to provide guidance and fighting forces.

This year, it’s Wizard Derk’s turn to play the Dark Lord. Derk’s a bit of an odd ball – he left the academy to go off on his own, so he could do what he does best, create new and interesting forms of life, including carnivorous sheep, intelligent geese, and his crowning achievement, griffins. The griffins are as much his children as his two natural children, and they’ve all grown up considering each other brothers and sisters.

And so, it becomes a family affair of trying to portray the Dark Lord, while maybe, just maybe, managing to find Mr. Chesney’s weakness, so they can get him to stop the trips once and for all.

This book is great. There’s a cast of thousands, and they’re all interesting, and funny. There are clichés galore, and lots of tossing (and perhaps hacking them) out the window. This is definitely great reading for any fantasy fan.

2011 TBR Lite Reading Challenge 1/1/11 – 12/31/11

My reading for the 2011 TBR Reading Challenge is done. The challenge was to read at least six books that had been in my TBR pile for at least six months. This year, I read:

These were all pulled from my “Tote of Shame” (which has this year become the “Bookcase of Shame”). The oldest was the A. S. Byatt – I’ve been holding onto that one for at least three years.

The Light of Day – Graham Swift

Read for the 2011 TBR Lite Reading Challenge.

I picked this book for the RIP challenge because the back listed it as a detective story, and I thought a straight mystery would round out my reading choices. And it’s true that it’s a detective story, but it’s not really a mystery.

You know as the story opens that Sarah Nash killed her husband, and is in jail for it. You also know that George Webb was the private detective that she hired to be sure that her husband’s mistress left on a plane to go home to Croatia, never to return to London again. What you don’t know is why.

The story is all about the whys – why George became a policeman and then was drummed out of the force and went private. Why his wife left him. Why Sarah cared so much that her husband would be returning to her after his mistress left. Why she killed him. And why George and Sarah end the book separated by her being in jail, but together in the lasting relationship that they both should have found the first time.

It’s a lovely book – all about human nature, and growing up, and growing to understand oneself. I’m not sorry I read it, but it definitely wasn’t RIP challenge material.

Knitting Notes

The Mezquita shawly scarf is done. I will be doing some light blocking (mostly for the border), so a final post will be forth-coming.

In I am easily influenced news, I’ve started making hexipuffs (look up the Beekeeper’s Quilt on Ravelry and you’ll see how much of a slave to trends I am).

I couldn’t resist such an easy and cute way to use up sock yarn, as well as some of my quilt batting odds and ends. The suckers knit up in about an hour. I’ll have a blanket’s worth in no time.

Operation Napalm

I love my landlord. He was around doing the yard work that generates crap that we can’t haul anywhere since we’re not actually homeowners ™, and I asked if it would be ok if we tackled trying to get rid of the rose bush from hell (which I have dubbed Operation Napalm). Not only did he say that was a wonderful idea, but he actually clipped out all the limbs, so he could load them in the truck and get rid of them.

The above is the results after he’d gotten through with it. I went out after work and managed to fill a five gallon bucket with the limb clippings he hadn’t gotten down to the ground, and fair amount of root that would pull out easily. This project is by no means over (we’ll be applying black plastic and cinder blocks next), but I’m already excited by how much room it freed up in that bed.