Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm within striking distance of my yearly reading projection (remember that post? yes, I'm still keeping track) but haven't gotten through much this week. Between work deadlines and getting ready for people coming in to town for the holidays, my reading has been limited to (truncated) lunches and the 10 or 20 minutes I can keep my eyes open in bed most nights. The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug, by Thomas Hager; read by Stephen Hoye. What's up with the super-long title? Anyway... This is an audiobook on Playaway. I enjoyed it, but I couldn't listen to it; I don't know why. I did like the reader. Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan. This book is awesome! It's absolutely hilarious. I started reading this way back when I did my Red Hot Days of Romance program. I'm putting it down *temporarily* because I have slightly more pressing matters. The writers attack the stereotypes of the genre, listing, defining, and mocking every cliched plot device, categorizing the types of heroes and heroinces, pointing out the overlooked historical and medical inaccuracies clung to by the genre, and, in general, using charts, graphs, haiku, and casual foul language to illustrate how awful these books frequently are. (I just spent the last 10% of my mass-market paperback budget on those red harlequin and green steeple hill romances, because I know they will check out and what are paperbacks for except for increasing circulation? And I do read the occasional romance, and if you like to read romances, good for you! But let's not ignore the obvious here.) Embroidery Techniques and Patterns, by Marie-Noelle Bayard; photography by Charlie Abad; translation by Kim M. Allen Gleed. This isn't a read-it-through book, so I'm not counting it in my running total, but I think I looked at every page. I started teaching myself embroider a few months ago, because I am overseeing the library's Novel Yarn program, which meets on the first Monday of every month, but I am absolutely hopeless at both knitting and crocheting. I absolutely cannot do them. But I felt silly sitting around doing nothing, so I poked around in our 700s, looking for another handicraft I could maybe try. I finished my first project yesterday, and I am quite impressed with myself! About the book: the stitches are organized into families, but the family groupings don't always make sense to me. Also, the stitches aren't organized by difficulty within the families; in fact, there is no organization that I can detect, of stitches within families or how the family groups are arranged within the book. If you can find what you are looking for, though, the instructions are good, the pictures clear and clearly labeled, with tips included for some of the stitches. With the help of this book, I've mastered 5 stitches (in order of love, but not order of usefulness): the Star Stitch, the German knot, the French knot, the Self-Padded Sating stitch, and the stem stitch. I don't have any serious complaints about this book, and it seems to have a lot of stitches in it; I just want to explore the other books we have for my next project.

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