Staying Up Late

Series on account of which I have stayed up way too late and devoured a series of books like candy:

1. Hugh Howey, the silo books. The first one is Wool, and it is not about knitting.  not at all.  Hint: they all live in an underground silo.

Mystery type books.
1. Kate Atkinson, the Jackson Brodie series – set in the British Isles, “mystery” spiced with sly humor.  I really like these.  Jackson Brodie is divorced, listens to great music in his car, and always solves the puzzle even when the plot meanders through a maze of overlapping and interlocking characters.

2. Thomas Perry, the Jane Whitehead books – they are all alike, but it’s okay, they’re all a lot of fun.  Jane agrees to make someone disappear/reappear/ in a do-it-yourself witness relocation process, and on the way many bad guys almost get her but are dispatched.   Have you ever watched Burn Notice?  If so, you might have noticed how the voice over makes the most impossible things sound kind of possible:  “If you need to make a bomb in a hurry, you need peanut butter, a plastic bag, and a mousetrap”  etc.  These books do the same thing with evading bad guys.

3. Julia Spencer Fleming – Rev. Clare Ferguson.  very cute – feisty tomboy helicopter pilot hears the Call, becomes an Episcopalian priest, is assigned to a small town in the Adirondacks, where she and the sheriff have an immediate connection . . . but he’s married! . . . and there are mysteries . . . and each one focuses on an aspect of the history and culture of the Adirondacks – loggers vs environmentalists, historical antipathy to vaccines, immigrant farm workers, Iraq vets readjusting to civilian life, etc. 

4. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – the Agent Pendergast books.  Again, they’re all the same and all a lot of fun.  Why, that Agent Pendergast can escape from an underground dungeon where he is manacled to the wall and guarded by six soldiers, then defeat all the bad guys using only items in the pockets of his immaculate suit coat!

5.  Denise Mina – any and all.  She writes about the gritty side of Glasgow which, as far as I can tell from these books, is every side.  They can be a bit dark, but I think they’re great.  I may reread the Garnet Hill series this fall. 

Hackworth leaves the drummers

It looks as though I am finally ending my job in Raleigh.

I feel like Hackworth waking up after ten years with the drummers.

(Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson)




It’s way past time to talk about “like.”

There is the original like, as in “I rather like her hat.”

There is the pre-teen like, as in “I like him, but I don’t, like, like-like him.”

Of course we now have the Official Like, as in “Tamsie “likes” Obama for President.”

And, there’s the like that puts words in quotes, as in “She says they’re like ‘pre-engaged.'”

Today, however, I’m thinking of the other like, the one that is half-way between thinking and speaking.

This “like” gets a lot of bad press as being the pet of silly kids, as in

“So, I was like ‘No way!’ but she was like ‘Way’ and I’m like ‘Holy Cow’ are you like kidding me?” (or words to that effect).

But, just consider this: Jean’s supervisor makes an unreasonable request that she stay late and finish a task that was assigned to someone else and that should not be her responsibility. Jean hides her resentment and stays after hours to finish the project. When Jean gets home, she says:

“I couldn’t believe it. I was just walking out and Mr. Legree asked me to stay late to finish the Smithers project. I was like ‘Really Mr. Smithers? You don’t remember that I wanted that project, but you gave it to Bill instead?’ Like, Bill messed up and why am I supposed to fix it instead of him? It was so wrong. So, I’m like ‘Fine, I’ll stay, but this is seriously messed up.'”

See? The “like” is neither what Jean actually said (“Um, sure, unless you think Bill might want input into finishing this?”) nor fully what she thought (unprintable raw frustration).

I’ve decided, upon no-doubt-too-much reflection, that Like serves a valid purpose of indicating, oh, what you wish you’d said, what you thought of saying later, what your emotions said, even if practical considerations restrained you, and so on.



“America, you just had the warmest winter in history.    

This is a global problem which can only be solved

by more bickering about gay marriage.”

Wierd Girls

Why do my favorite mystery/action/sci-fi books always have such small, weird heroines?

Snow Crash – Y.T.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc. – Lizbeth
Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Smilla.

The females are always
Have amazing, unusual talents.
Are survivors of a backstory ranging from odd to horrific.

Next time, I want to read about a tall, relatively ordinary girl.

Jungle Book Live Blog

I’m knitting the KAL The Jungle Book. The very good news is that I’m keeping up, for the first time ever!
Other good news is that so far this is a beautiful pattern.
Minor bad news – I don’t think much of the purl stitches in Clue 3. They’d better turn out to enhance the design, because they make it a lot harder.