10 Book Reading Challenge – Mini Reviews

As promised, here are the mini reviews for the books I read for the 10 Book Reading Challenge.

  • History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt

An interesting look at hand knitting in the British Isles.  France and a few other European countries are briefly touched on, and North American gets a few pages at the end of the book.  This is worth reading if you are interested in how knitting in Britian grew from imported stockings during Queen Elizabeth I’s time to factory knitting and beyond.  It was originally published in 1987 and has withstood the test of time, but doesn’t cover the newer knitting movements obviously.  Expect to have some cherished beliefs about Aran and Shetland knitting challenged.

A chick lit story based loosely around a knitting shop.  If you want to read it you will, but I suggest skipping it unless you are a big fan of chick lit.

A very good book that is difficult to describe.  Essentially it is about a young girl who lives in a ruined castle with her odd family and how they relate to the new owners of the property.  It is much better than I am making it sound, and I think it is worth reading if you like period novels (1930s in this case).  (I understand that the 2003 movie isn’t as good as the book, and isn’t that always the way?)

See The Shop on Blossom Street above.

I’m a fan of Orson Scott Card’s earlier novels.  I really enjoyed Ender’s Game, among others.  This book, though, seems like it was written by someone else entirely.  It is based in the very near future where a group within the United States decides to kill the president and take over the country using advanced weaponry.  The novel is written like a movie, with fast moving scenes and snappy dialogue.  I know that sounds good, but it came across as very contrived.  My husband and I read the book because he so enjoyed playing Shadow Complex on the Xbox 360, a game based on a military instillation featured in Empire, and which was meant to be a link between this book and the next one in the series due out this year.  Skip this unless you feel you need to read everything written by him.

  • Norstrilia by Cordwainer Smith (aka Paul Linebarger)

An excellent old fashioned sci-fi novel about a young man from a planet colonized by people who originally came from Australia.  When he discovers his life is in danger, he decides to play the markets and makes enough  money to buy Earth.  When he arrives, he finds a way to have his heart’s desire and to return home to his old life.  An excellent book, which I highly recommend if you enjoy science fiction.

I am a big fan of Jane Austen (and I really regret not buying that Sampler Girl chart on Friday!), so I love to read “sequels” to her novels.  I’ve read some that are good and some that are bad; some that focus on sisters of the main characters and some the men; some that feel like Jane wrote them and some that are totally out of character.  Mr. Darcy’s Diary is one of the best “sequels” I have read.  It was so enjoyable to be able to read Darcy’s side of events, and watch as his love for Lizzie grows.  I enjoyed this book so much that I’m planning on reading another of Ms. Grange’s novels soon, Mr. Knightly’s Dairy.

I enjoyed the Wicked series very much, but I wasn’t impressed by this book.  Mirror Mirror is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty myth in a very loose form.  And for some reason, Mr. Maguire felt the need to bring in Lucretia Borgia as the “wicked step-mother.”  I suggest passing this one by, even if you enjoyed Wicked.

I’ve read a lot of books about Wicca and Paganism. A lot.  This is one of my favourites.  Ms. Murphy-Hiscock (who occasionally leaves comments here as Autumn) writes clearly and well about being a green witch.  She shares excellent recipes and suggestions for developing a personal path, even in the city.  I also really like how she makes it clear that green witches are not necessary Wiccans, and vice versa.  I highly recommend this book, if it is your kind of thing.

This was a good book, but I don’t think I learned much from it.  Maybe my life is already very simple,  I don’t know.  But if you are looking for some inspiration for slowing down and saying no, it is worth a read.

Lastly, don’t forget that today is Day 7 of Missy Ann’s 13 Days of Halloween.  Head on over to her blog to enter.  The prizes so far have all been super cute.  Here’s hoping I win, or you do!

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