Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Notes: "Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories," by Dorothy L. Sayers



"Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories," by Dorothy L. Sayers, was the end of my read (and, in most cases, re-read) through the Wimsey books.

And this is the point where, instead of writing a proper post, I'm tempted just to sigh the sigh of a deeply-contented reader, and let that be enough.

But, I'll resist that temptation. Here are a few notes on what I noticed this time through the collection:


-In these short stories, I kept noticing echoes of her novels. It was as if some of the short stories had bits of DNA that eventually were cultured/adapted/incorporated into larger entities. For example, the beach-and-sand-and-footprints clues in The Unsolved Puzzle of the Man with No Face felt like a bit of a trial run for some of the "how'd he do it?" questions in the novel Have His Carcase.


-In some of the stories, Lord Peter didn't really feel like Lord Peter. It felt like Sayers had an idea for a nifty little puzzle, and she had Lord Peter solve it because he was the character to hand, not because it was a puzzle he'd be naturally drawn to solving. For example, in The Adventurous Exploit of the Cave of Ali Baba, Lord Peter goes incognito in order to infiltrate a mysterious society, but it felt like you could have substituted any other determined, well-financed, brilliant gumshoe into his place, and the story wouldn't have changed much.


-In some of the stories, Lord Peter is ABSOLUTELY Lord Peter, and couldn't be anyone else. I mean, the opening of The Haunted Policeman is not only my favorite opening of a short story ever, but no one but Lord Peter and Harriet could have ever had that conversation.


-Speaking of Lord Peter and Harriet: the domestic story of Talboys is just wonderful. I love it so much.


Should you read this? Yes, of course you should. Stop asking such silly questions.


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bag-End Bunny ("Sophie" by Ysolda Teague)




My brother and his wife are expecting their first child, and I really wanted to make something for my new nephew. I thought about making a blanket, but my sister-in-law is a fantastic knitter, and was already making her baby a gorgeous blanket.

So, I started thinking about what else I could make him, and remembered another baby shower I'd been to once, where a friend had knitted a really adorable stuffed elephant for the new baby.

Reader, I was inspired. I went to my friend's Ravelry page, and found the elephant pattern, and it turned out it was by Ysolda Teague, so I started looking at Ysolda's other patterns, and there was one in particular that I loved.


So I made a bunny. Isn't he cute?

The pattern for the bunny is "Sophie." It's really well-written, which is good, because there were some really tricky bits (I broke two separate needles), and having clear instructions kept me from getting frustrated during the difficult bits.

But the part I'm REALLY proud of his little sweater. I designed it myself, and it's removable, see?




I'm so pleased with how this turned out! I don't think I've ever winged a design like this before in knitting--only in crochet. But I might do more of it now, because it was really fun!


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book Notes: "The Magic Mirror: Concerning a Lonely Princess, a Foundling Girl, a Scheming King and a Pickpocket Squirrel," by Susan Hill Long



The Magic Mirror, by Susan Hill Long, was a recent read-aloud of ours, and it was a good one.

It's a children's fantasy, set in a medieval world, complete with a recognizably Catholic belief system. That background presence of religion was actually one of the things I enjoyed about the book; it's not that I agreed completely with the religious beliefs of any of the characters, but it just felt more like a real world when there were people of faith, common superstitions, churches as part of the urban landscape, etc. It was interesting to read about a world where God was God, and God was good, but there were still bits of minor magic floating about, almost as if they were just another bit of creation.

We follow our heroine, Maggie, as she sets off on an adventure. It's a travel story, with colorful characters who are (on purpose, I'd bet) reminiscent of Chaucer's pilgrims.

Maggie is our lodestar, and her plot is always foremost, but the author threw in so many other things! The book is full of side quests, complications, and minor characters. There's danger, and dire deeds, and I appreciated that the author didn't gloss over the evilness of the villains or the foibles of the heroes, BUT she also never wallowed in any of the bad stuff, nor did she write about it in a way that's inappropriate for school-age kids.

(Note: There's definitely stuff here that you'd want to talk through with your kids--I'm not saying it's void of troubling or controversial content. But I found that it was all presented in a way that sparked good conversation with my kids, and not in a way that left me feeling like I had to do damage control. And that's something I like in kids' books. YMMV.)

I really enjoyed this one, though I found it odder than I expected. Occasionally that oddity felt irritating, but mostly it just made for an engaging, colorful tale. My kids were fascinated by the characters, and crowed at all the plot reveals as the story progressed. Recommended.



Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


This post contains Amazon affiliate links; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekly Links


~ LINKS TO SOME INTERESTING READING, FOR WHAT'S LEFT OF YOUR WEEKEND ~


FAith

-"How I Leverage My Autism for Pastoral Ministry": My own Aspie (HFA) kid read this and was encouraged by it. I can't give it a higher recommendation than that--it's a great article.




FAMILY

-"Sudoko vs. 4x4: Choosing a Capsule Type": I find capsule wardrobes fascinating, and this article actually shows you how to design your own (as opposed to just imitating someone else's).



Fiction

-"Five Ways to Fix the Marvel Cinematic Universe": I gotta say, I especially appreciate #5.


-"The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2017": If you're an author, you'll appreciate this clear layout of the different kinds of publishing that are out there right now.


-"5 Ways to Maximize Your Writing Time": I thought the "pre-rough-draft" idea was especially interesting.


-"Interview: Megan Whalen Turner, Author of the Queen's Thief Series": AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Finally, after seven years, there's a new Thief book. (Yes, I have it. Yes, I've started it. Yes, IT'S GOOD.)




I hope you have a lovely Sunday, full of worship and rest!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Weekly Links!


~ LINKS TO SOME INTERESTING READING, FOR WHAT'S LEFT OF YOUR WEEKEND ~


FAmily

-"How Ready Are You for the End of School: A Quiz": the first question is my life right now.



Fiction

-"7 Things I Learned About Starting a Career in Science Fiction"


-"Once Upon a Time Knitting Pattern Reference List" - if you like your crafting to be inspired by stories (stories on TV, in this case).


-"Reshaping the Bizarre Structure of Fairy Tales" - as someone currently working on a novel inspired by an old story, I enjoyed reading this.






I hope you have a lovely Sunday, full of worship and rest!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Book Notes: "The Wind in the Willows," by Kenneth Grahame




"The Wind in the Willows," by Kenneth Grahame is, of course, a classic. But it's a classic I hadn't read before (though I'd encountered bits of the chapter with Pan in various other publications).

It's a story about Mole, and his friends who live on or near the riverbank, particularly Rat and Toad and Badger.

I loved Mole. And I loved Rat, too, and I enjoyed and appreciated the venerable and valiant Badger.


I pretty much hated Toad, though, and I disliked almost every scene he was in.

I have a terrible feeling that the moral of the story is that We Are All Toad, and that we don't deserve the beautiful and joyous life on the riverbank, except that we have Friends who help us win back our Heritage, and so we are all Recipients of Grace, but... I still don't like Toad.

I expect I'll read "The Wind in the Willows" again. Because it is beautiful.


Except for the parts with Toad. Maybe I should be good enough to read those again.

But I don't think that I am.


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell


This post contains Amazon affiliate links; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekly Links!


~ LINKS TO SOME INTERESTING READING, FOR WHAT'S LEFT OF YOUR WEEKEND ~

FAITH

God is God. He has the power and the plan and all will be well and jolly and good and beautiful in the end no matter what I do, but I can be a part of the jollification. God does not need me, but I can be there.

-"Family Worship as Spiritual Formation": This is one post from a really excellent new series over at Mere Orthodoxy.


-"On Family Worship and Failure": This is another.






Family

-"On the Outside"I know this was written to make me tear up. But...it worked.



Fiction



I hope you have a lovely Sunday, full of worship and rest!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell