Thursday, March 12, 2009

What I'm Reading

Since I've had a little extra time on my hands lately, I've been able to do some recreational reading. Here are some reviews of three books that I've enjoyed.

Knitting the Threads of Time by Nora Murphy
Here's an excerpt from an e-mail I received a few weeks ago from the Publicity Director for New World Library (who published this book): "As a fellow knitter, I am thrilled to be publicizing Nora Murphy's new book, KNITTING THE THREADS OF TIME: Casting Back to the Heart of Our Craft. I am wondering if you would be interested in receiving a review copy of this new book. I'd love to send you one in the hopes you will share it with your online knitting community."

Interested? You Bet!! I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who's a knitter, and especially a new knitter or a old-time knitter like me. I learned so much history about knitting, but more importantly, Nora Murphy's words really helped me realize why knitting is so special to me (and so many other people). I have this phrase highlighted in her Prologue chapter:

"Inside a stitch, just a single knitted stitch, lies the paradox of the ordinary, everyday textile hero. Her simple stitch helps keep the story of humanity alive; her work casts on stitches for the next generation."

Wow! Even though this book tells the story of Nora as a beginning knitter making a sweater for her son, it helped me relive the joy (and anguish) of knitting my first sweater so many years ago. In addition to giving me a greater appreciation of my knitting craft, this book made me proud to know that I am a part of the sisterhood of knitters from ancient times to the present -- and beyond, because who knows how many years all those things that I've knitted will continue to keep people warm?

And as long as I've got you here reading this, let me tell you a quick story of what happened to me in the Salt Lake City airport on my way to California last week. I was seated at the departure gate and knitting on sock (4 double-point bamboo needles, size 1). I noticed a woman walk over and stand in front of me, so I looked up at her and asked if she was a knitter. She immediately sat down in the empty chair next to me and told me her knitting story. She was from India (Kashmir region) and learned to knit when she was a little girl. She told me that she was part of an extended family of about 50 that all lived together in the same house (a large house!). She said every year starting in September, all of the women in the family would get together and beginning knitting socks, gloves, hats, etc. to keep the family warm during the cold Kashmir winter. She said she never learned to read a pattern as all of the patterns were just passed down verbally from the older women in the family. She was fascinated with my tiny bamboo needles and I think amazed to see that someone was actually knitting socks. For me that's a really cool thing about knitting--we all have stories we can share and the knitting needles and yarn are the things that bind us all together.

Brother Wolf by Jim Brandenburg
This book was recommended to my by a friend who knew that I was interested in wolves. I'm about halfway through this book, but it's a neat story of wolves, from prehistoric days to the present. The present day story is drawn from Jim's own experiences with wolves around his Ravenwood home near Ely, Minnesota and also his trips to Ellesmere Island. And even if you don't want to read the story, you should check out this book from your library just to see the amazing photographs Jim has in this book (like this one shown below).

Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy
Any Maeve Binchy fans out there? I love her books and have read every single one. I saw in my book club notice that Heart and Soul was a new one coming out, so I immediately went to the library website to see if I could reserve a spot in the queue for these enormously popular books. I was happy to find out in a phone call last week that they had the book for me (#1 in the queue). This is a great book, I love reading about all the characters and situations they're involved in. Also, some of the characters from Maeve's previous books make cameo appearances in this one, so you may remember some of them as you're reading along. Every time I read one of her books, I wish I could plan a trip to Dublin. It would be interesting to find out if that city and its people are anything like a Maeve Binchy novel!

That's all for now!


Leedra said...

The knitting book sounds interesting. I will be looking for it.

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Mama Pea said...

Hi, Ruthie - It's just too bad you have such a hard time finding things to fill your days with. ;o) You personify the adage that a person with many interests is an interesting person.

NCmountainwoman said...

I'm going to look up the knitting book. I am relatively new to knitting and I continue to be amazed at how many people will come up to touch and admire your work when you're at the airport or whatever.

We have a "sit and stitch" session at our local yarn shop. I can't begin to tell you how much I have learned from the seasoned knitters. What a nice, sharing group of people.

Lynne said...

I love Maeve Binchy have that book on my night stand. I haven't started it yet but can't wait!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Leedra,
I think you will enjoy it--only 183 pages, so a fairly quick read.

Thanks Mama Pea. I am getting some knitting done too--2 hats in the last 2 days!

Hi Carolyn,
There will be plenty of things for you to relate to in this book. I haven't been part of a knitting group for years, but I always enjoyed it when we got together.

Hi Lynne,
Set aside a few hours when you start that book--I guarantee you won't want to put it down! I'm already halfway through and just started it yesterday.

KGMom said...

Now, much as I read, I have never thought of reading a knitting book. Hmmm--maybe I will have to try.
And I have never read Maeve Binchy. Another one to check out!

Shellmo said...

maeve binchy is one of my old faves! Now I'm going to have to check out amazon!

Anonymous said...

I probably won't read a knitting book, but I sure enjoy Maeve Binchy books since you have reccomended these for me to read. I've read several of the books and I picked one up at the FCHS book sale. It's from 1996 called Evening Class, and it is very interesting. I love it. Keep on reading and knitting, by the way Elaine loved her hat, she wore it yesterday when it was so COLD.


Jayne said...

I've never read any Maeve Binchy but will certainly check her out Ruthie. Reading is such a pleasure, isn't it? Have a great day!

troutbirder said...

Wolves are it for me. They symbolize wilderness. And a good friend of mines daughter worked, until very recently, as Brandenbergs photo editor/organizer... so indirectly I know quite a bit about him and his amazing talent.

Jaime said...

Thanks so much for the reviews. I'll certainly have to check out the knitting book. Perfect timing really, having just finished my very first sweater for my sweet baby girly.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
I've read some fiction novels that are about knitting, but not very many non-fiction knitting books that didn't contain patterns too.
I hope you get a chance to check out some of Maeve Binchy's novels, I think you'd really like them.

Hi Shelley,
Maeve Binchy's one of my favorite authors too. She has such great characters in her books.

Hi Mom,
Thanks for letting me know Elaine liked her hat. I whipped up a chemo cap for Philip yesterday and got it sent off today--in Sacramento Kings colors (I hope he likes it)

Hi Jayne,
Let me know if you can get Maeve Bincy on your Kindle. I think you will enjoy her stories.

Hi Troutbirder,
I'm in awe of Jim Brandenburg's photographic skills. I have a couple of his posters framed here at home and some of his other books too. He has a gallery over in Luverne, MN too and has taken some fabulous pictures of the prairie out there.

Hi Jaime,
Way to go getting a sweater finished! I hope she doesn't grow out of it too fast! I think you will enjoy the knitting book if you get a chance.

Mary said...

Enjoy your books, Ruthie. I know you are a reader and it's hard to find the time when you're away from home all day. The story of the lady at the airport is sweet.


Laura Essendine said...

Maeve Binchy is wonderful and takes the smallest details of ordinary lives to build fascinating stories. I'm only sorry that I've read all of them and am waiting until I've forgotten Tara Road before going back to it again.

If you like her, you might also like Rosamunde Pilcher, Penny Vincenzi and Judith Lennox whose stories just roll along.

Laura Essendine,
Author - The Accidental Guru

Julie said...

Thanks for the book reviews. Mom and I so enjoy looking to the books you suggest. Mom has a few that she thinks you'd like. I'll try and get that info from her soon. Have you read any of the Jan Karon (I think that's her name) books? You might like them.

Jan said...

I love Maeve Binchy and listen to her on audio books while working, knitting and sewing. I am a new knitter although an older person, lol. I will try to track down that book. It looks fascinating.

Leedra said...

I bought the knitting book today! Now to find time to read it.

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