Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Two Books

 Leave Out the Tragic Parts: A Grandfather's Search for a Boy Lost to Addiction by Dave Kindred

The author is an award-winning, retired sports writer. This book is about his grandson who develops an addiction to alcohol. The grandson spends years traveling to nowhere and everywhere by hopping freight trains. The family waits to hear from him sporadically; grandfather yearns to help his grandson and guide him out of the addiction.

This book was very sad. I found it difficult reading due to the sad nature of the true story.

Like Wind Against Rock by Nancy Kim

This is a book about family secrets and about relationships -- a daughter in her late 30s, her mother, the father had recently died. Dynamics between mother and daughter change as they adjust. When they both begin dating, their understanding of each other changes as well.

There are a couple of twists and turns. The characters are all very interesting. I enjoyed reading this story and watching the characters change over time. Well written book.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Quilts and Book Review

 After the Last Border by Jessica Goudeau

This is the story of two families who settle in the USA by necessity -- escaping war in their home countries. The story switches between the two, telling of their struggles, hopes and dreams.

I learned a lot about the horrendous war in Syria and the shameful way the rest of the world let it happen.

Other topics: the importance of help and support for immigrants when they first arrive in their new homes. The added burden they face due to the current anti-immigrant sentiment in America.

I rooted for each family, celebrated their joys and mourned with them when things went wrong. The book is based on real families and true events. The author got to know both families and wrote the book with their help and collaboration. This is the kind of book I love.
Quilts  I have been working on:

This is a piece that was dyed by another ice dyer (this one happens to have been done with liquid dyes and not ice). I bought it and turned it into this baby quilt.

I made this quilt from squares that I ice dyed. It hangs in my living room.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Book Reviews and Ice Dyes

 Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

A group of eccentric folks live in little cabins in the woods above a small Polish village. The main character is an elderly woman who has many quirks; people think she is a little nuts. As the reader sees everything through her eyes, she does not seem all that quirky. In her world, she makes perfect sense -- that is, within her quirkiness and her reliance on astrology -- she still makes perfect sense.

The story is revealed slowly as we see it unfold through her eyes. It's a fascinating character study alongside a whodunit storyline. I must say, I have never before read a whodunit quite like this one.

I absolutely loved the beautiful writing! I kept stopping to read sentences out loud. This book was translated into English from Polish. The translator must be top notch. All the descriptions and the nuances just blew me away. There even is a section where the characters are working on translating Blake, presumably from English into Polish. How does a translator handle that in a translation back into English?? Fascinating to my interpreter-mind.

If you are looking for high-adrenaline action, this book is not it. Yet I loved it, loved the characters, and especially loved the exquisite writing. I have zero ability to predict whether any of my friends will like this book. At least for the beautiful writing, give this one a try, and then let me know what you think.

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

A girl in Nigeria is tuck in an arranged marriage to a much older man. She longs for an education and to find her "louding voice" -- her right and ability to speak up for herself and for other girls. Her experiences are harrowing, some are touching, while she searches for her life's path.

The Part That Burns by Jeannine Ouellette

The language in this book sings. A memoir, it tells of the author's difficult and joyful experiences, all which add up to a fragmented whole. She ponders what trauma does to the soul and to the genes of one's offspring. This would be worth reading a second time to be sure one captures all the depth.

Besides reading, I have been having fun experimenting with some ice dyeing.

a quilt back that I dyed

a flour sack towel

Monday, December 21, 2020

Book Review: Snow Hunters

 Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon

This book is so well written! I often stopped just to soak in various passages due to the lovely writing. I loved the gentle pace and the way the characters went about observing their worlds and building their lives.

A young man grows up in North Korea, lives through the war, and spends some time in a POW camp. Later he makes a getaway on board a cargo ship, the only passenger among the paid crew. He disembarks in Brazil where he knows no one and speaks no Portuguese. His life carries on as he sorts out his war trauma and his new surroundings.

The writing is almost spare yet very poetic. The pace is steady; life goes on. I grew to love the characters.

my friend's grandchildren, twins, a couple of years ago

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Trying to Clear my Brain

 Uffda.. 2020 has been hard. I'm mostly happy being at home on lock-down, but at the same time, my brain is frazzled. Times have been very stressful. I could list all the junk that has happened, but I won't. Most of it has been in national and world news anyway.

I'm still finding it hard to read, but I'm muddling through a little better than at first during the pandemic. I have done a LOT of sewing so I am going to try to catch up with some pictures of what I have made.

Just like my brain function lately, that one quilt pic decided to align itself to the left instead of to the center. There is no reason why, and no fixing it. Next time maybe I'll show you my ice dyed pieces.

That's enough for now. I don't want to bore you. And my brain is still as foggy as it was when I started.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Book Review: Open House

 Open House by Katie Sise

This one was an interesting story about a family whose daughter had died; ten years later it is still an unsolved mystery, and the younger sister, now an adult, deals with aftermath of the trauma.

The story started out strong; I thought I was in for a good read. However, before long it felt like a soap opera; a first-person account from the victim, explaining her life ten years before, went on for too long, right up to the very moment she vanished. A good story fell flat. I felt this book could have used some better editing.

Not my usual picture of someone reading.
Someone else posted this picture, and I borrowed it from Facebook.
I thought it made such a pretty winter picture.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

American Dirt -- Book Review

 Book: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Wow! This book grabbed my attention from sentence one! I could hardly put it down. Tense, moving, interesting, well-told. This book is an eye-opening look at immigration. I have heard there is some controversy since the author is not from Mexico (it's about a family from Mexico). But I don't hold that against her as it seems to be very well researched and so well told. A good author can write well about a place she is not from. Cummins does that beautifully. I highly recommend this fascinating book.