Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

Well, it’s time for my annual read the newest (to me) Hunger Games book at the same time as the movie comes out so I’m not spoiled by something random in Pinterest.   (Seriously, the Geek feed in Pinterest has the most randomly spoilerific things if you’re not caught up on various fandoms.    But I digress.)

The biggest thing that kept popping into my head while reading this was why are they splitting it in to two movies?    I think I can see the logical split, except that all the action that happens after that is the conclusion to the story, and really doesn’t merit its own segment.     Maybe in a mini series, but with a year between?   There are days I hate the YA movie machine.

Katniss has been rescued from the Quarter Quell, and brought to District 13, but Peeta has been left behind.    It turns out District 13 had Panem’s nuclear weapons, so they’d managed to arrange a stalemate with the Capital, where they’d at least leave each other alone, if District 13 pretended they were gone.     They’ve finally gotten themselves in a position to challenge the Capital, but they need Katniss – she’s the Mockingjay – the only person that can rally the populations of all the districts.

But Katniss is a mess.    They’ve put just enough of Peeta on television so that they know they’re probably torturing him, she has incredible PTSD, and she really doesn’t know if she’s the person to at least figuratively lead a rebellion.     And this is where I think this story is great.     Collins could have made Katniss a hero of the ages, right off the bat, and she didn’t.      This is such a human story (if a bit on the unremittingly depressing side)  – I totally understand why it’s become so popular.


Knitting Notes

Christmas knitting continues!

The adults are drawing a name this year, and I have my SIL.    So I’m making her a cowl.    This the A Noble Cowl, but Emily Kausalik, using Reynold’s Soft Sea Wool.

I also have the leftover gray yarn from the mittens I just finished to get rid of.    I’d normally do baby items, but it’s gray, so doesn’t really work for that.   I may just make more hexipuffs than normal – it is a nice neutral.

It’s a White Thanksgiving!

So we had a nor’easter Wednesday night into very early Thursday morning.     Really heavy, wet stuff.      So pretty much anything that still had leaves was broken, or flattened.   (Like our neighbor’s front yard hedges.    I’ve never seen anything like that over there before.)

So I am thankful that we had power for this year’s low key Thanksgiving.   (Seriously – we did crock pot lasagna.)      There were plenty of people that spent this year’s holiday in the dark.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Aible Mittens by Kristi Geraci from Knitty Winter 2009
Yarn: Koigu Premium Merino
Needles: Size 1.5 DPNs

The holiday knitting just keeps coming!     This is my first pair of mittens, and I must say, they’re a nice alternative to socks, for sock yarn.    This pattern is good – not terribly difficult, but the cables keep things from being too boring.

I really like this yarn.    It’s lovely to work with, and I really like the colorway.    It’s mainly gray, but has a nice purply undertone that keeps in warm, and gives it a little interest.    I’ll definitely keep Koigu in mind if I need to restock the sock yarn stash.

A Confederation of Valor – Tanya Huff

Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr is a professional – good at her job, and well respected by her company.

It turns out that the larger galaxy is populated by a bunch of fairly peaceful species, and when a warrior group called the Others starts to invade the Confederation’s territory, they’re completely unprepared to fight back.    Instead, they’re forced to give membership to some younger races they’d been keeping an eye on, but had previously judged as too immature for Confederation membership.      That includes the humans, and two other species, because they’re the only show around that can run an army.

This is an omnibus, with two books that run through two different missions that Kerr’s thrown into.   They really are all about Kerr and her colleagues – we barely learn anything about the Others.    I’m not a regular follower of the military side of sci fi (I read these because they’re by Tanya Huff), but I can see the appeal.   The first book is based on an actual battle that happened during the Zulu War in South Africa in the late 19th century.      There’s plenty of strategy, and camaraderie, and the real consequences on the line of the sweeping actions of the higher ups that usually feature in adventure stories.    It’s nice to see the side of the grunts for a change.


In my final gardening act of the year, I spent all morning yesterday raking out the back yard.    I had done a little prep two weeks ago when I cleaned out the driveway and back staircase area and started a pile in the back yard, but I don’t think I’ve ever done all my bagging in one day.     It went on forever.

I had a batch of smaller bags I’d accidentally bought last year that I wanted to get through, so I used those first.    They essentially held half what the bigger bags do, and didn’t fit the form I use, so I was fiddling with them constantly.     Things went sooooo much faster once I switched to the bigger bags.   Note to self: be very careful with bag size from now on.      There will be no more small bags.

I ended up with the equivalent of 21 1/2 big bags.      And remember, there are no trees actually in my back yard.     Sigh.

Knitting Notes


Pattern: Wee Ambrosia by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Superwash in the Columbine Heather colorway
Needles: Size 10 circs and DPNs and size 9 circs

And my first Christmas knitting is done.    This is for my niece, and I have enough yarn left over I’m going to add a hat.    I have a few patterns I’m contemplating for that.

This is a really cute little pattern, and not too tough.    The yoke looks complicated, but is actually pretty easy.

I also liked the yarn – it’s nice and soft, and there are a bunch of nice colors to choose from.

Garden Notes

This is what I’m currently dealing with in the yard, and all the leaves aren’t even down yet.    I had a random day off today, so spent the time to get most of the rest of the garden to bed (the herb pots are still ok for the moment), and to at least get the areas we walk on raked out.

At least some of the yard is looking quite a bit cleaner.

Jeremy Poldark – Winston Graham

You know – I think the best lesson to take away from this series is that families are complicated, and life is complicated, and you’ll have to work at both all the time, regardless of when you lived.

In the last book, Ross was to be brought to trial for supposedly ring-leading the pirating of two downed ships that had foundered in a storm.    Never mind that whatever came from such wrecks had always been fair game for the locals, so long as they aided any sailors that survived.    But this trial was politically motivated – backed by the richest family in the area, who have hated the Poldarks for years.

It’s the trial and aftermath of the trial that inform the action of this book, as well as the lingering effects of the loss of Ross and Demelza’s daughter, especially when Demelza finds herself pregnant again.

I just really enjoy this series – it’s an interesting family saga, with that family including the people that live on the lands the Poldarks own.    You can’t help but be invested in how that community survives.