Bad books and Beautiful blankets (alliteration!!!)

Book #4, “Dust City” by Robert Paul Weston was a disappointment. Good premise, bad writing. If you feel like a modern look at fairy tales, watch Shrek instead. Hell, watch Shrek 2. Even that’s better. I don’t like to be harsh but I was just saddened by the potential of the story and the crappiness of the writing.

But my mother taught me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all so instead of a writing a bad review, I shall write about my other favourite thing besides reading… CRAFTING! (yay!)

I named this blog “Libraries and Lace,” because although it’s mainly a book blog, I wanted the “lace” part to represent my love of crafting, mainly crocheting and knitting. That’s right. Just when you thought I couldn’t get any nerdier!

I won’t drone on about my love of the yarny arts at this point, but I thought I’d share a few pics.

The first 2 are of the blanket I made for my sister and her family for Christmas. It took me 2 months but it was so much fun to make and I loved the way it turned out. I basically crocheted all these squares and then stitched them together. I am very proud and braggy.

kb1 kb2

 

Now, I am working on advancing my knitting skillz (adding a z makes it cooler). I’m knitting a bright pink, wicked cool scarf for moi. See…

scarf

 

Well, there you have it, my possums. Another layer of Library Lyndsey’s onion has been peeled.

Also, currently reading Book#5: “Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes,” by Jude Morgan. AMAZE BALLS  so far!

Cheerio,

Library Lyndsey

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Why I shaved my head: Thoughts on Schultz’s “The Blondes”

Whoo! I just breezed right through this one. It was easy to read, quirky, and apocalyptic as hell. Get it? Apocalyptic as HELL. Guffaw!

Written by Canadian author, Emily Schultz, the novel is about a young woman currently living in New York City, Hazel Hayes, who had an affair with her married professor and finds out she’s pregnant. To complicate things even more, all of a sudden blonde women all over the world start randomly and viciously attacking people. It seems that there is an epidemic that only affects blonde women, turning them into rabid killers. As you would expect, it is featured all over the news; people become paranoid– shaving their heads, dying their hair, wearing masks, treating all blonde women and basically most women like they are pariahs. When Hazel tries to escape New York to go back to Toronto, she witnesses some horrifying things and is severely affected by how the world is dealing with the pandemic.

It’s a creative and strange story and written so well that it’s hard to put down. As I was reading it, and even after, I wasn’t able to shake off the apocalyptic world that Schultz created. I found I was checking my Twitter and Facebook feeds and for a brief moment feeling surprised that people weren’t writing about this Blonde plague. I started to feel a little paranoid myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve been cooped up in my apartment for 5 days with a viral infection, but I definitely regret shaving my hair and de-friending all my blonde friends from Facebook. Guffaw!

I’m sure I could say more intelligent things about this; pontificating on theories of beauty and gender, examining disease paranoia… but I’d much rather go play Fruit Ninja on my iPhone. M’kay?

Anyway, give this one a try. You won’t regret it. I also recommend Schultz’s first book, “Heaven is Small,” which is also very unique and quirky. She came to the Kingston Writer’s Fest a few years ago where I saw her read and was captivated.

Happy readings to all!

Love,

Library Lyndsey

Book 2, “The Beautiful and Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, reviewed

This is a hard book for me to review since all throughout and even after finishing, I’m not sure how much I really like it.

I love jazz age fiction, I loved Gatsby and I love Hemmingway and Waugh novels and the way they can so wonderfully capture the restlessness and excess of the middle-to-upper classes of the time. Stories of the “lost generation” or “the bright young things” as they were called in England, always seem to convey a wonderful combination of melancholy and frivolity that intrigues me. Meaninglessness and bathtubs of gin… what could be better, amIright? It was the beginning of modernity as we know it and I just want to put on some stockings, stick a feather in my hair, listen to some jazz, and use the words “frightfully” and “dreadful” as often as I can.

“The Beautiful and Damned” exemplifies this perfectly but with a bit of a darker edge to it.

It’s the story of a young man, Anthony, and the captivating and beautiful woman he marries, Gloria, who float around New York City in the 1920s drinking, partying, and spending more money than they have with the expectation of inheriting a very large sum when his grandfather dies. However, when the money does not come through (because the grandfather, a staunch prohibitionist, disapproves of their frivilous lifestyle and cuts them out of the will), Anthony and Gloria are ruined and spiral into a hateful and destructive marriage where they crumble into debt and alcoholism.

Depressing, right? I know. Which is why I said that I may not have thoroughly enjoyed it as much as I wish I did. I mean, it’s January– the sun seldom appears, everything is muddy and dark, I’m always grumpy and here I am reading existentialist diatribes like this:

“For it seemed to me that there was no ultimate goal for man. Man was beginning a grotesque and bewildered fight with nature– nature, that by the divine and magnificent accident had brought us to where we could fly in her face.” (page 220)

It got to be a little too much. Can you blame me if once in a while, I closed the book, threw on some Lady Gaga and danced around my apartment wearing every hat I own?

It was beautifully written though; Fitzgerald’s prose is poetic and his protagonist, Gloria, the classic “Belle Dame Sans Merci,” was a complicated and fascinating character– a character which I could write much more about because she kind of drove me crazy but it will make this review too long and I’m already bored. Maybe at some point when I have too much time on my hands, I will write a rant about the “Belle Dame Sans Merci” archetype but not right now. Anyway, many critics say that she was based on Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. Eesk, what a handful she musta been!

I do recommend this novel but maybe read it with a sunlamp on you or some tropical music playing in the background just to take the edge of.

Hope you’re reading is going well! Feel free to share!

Love,

Library Lyndsey

Does cocaine make you do things fast; or “Sarum,” a review

Religion, agriculture, politics, regency, war, trade, architecture, food, laws, class systems, feudal systems, economics, literature, art, feminism, ancestry, modernity… there is pretty much nothing this book didn’t cover about the history of England. What an amazingly fascinating but oh-so-long read! (Seriously long. I read like I was on cocaine and it still took me 2 weeks to read it. Does cocaine make you do things fast or is that speed? Obviously, I didn’t learn much about the affects of illegal drugs.)

Anyway…

Starting out with the story of our paleolithic ancestors moving south for a warmer climate and eventually landing in what we now call Salisbury, England (or Sarum as it is referred to in the novel), each chapter then acts as almost a short story, that flows through the centuries and follows the generations of the original paleolithic family that settled there, as well as Saxon and Norman families that are also huge influence in Britain’s history.

In each chapter the author always sets up the cultural, economic, religious, and political atmosphere of that particular time in history but mixed in with captivating stories of the people that were directly or indirectly affected by the times. Merchants, knights, kings, slaves, archbishops, canons, magnates, servants, farmers, masons, mill owners, bishops, clergymen, sailors– all classes of people spread across the pages with all sorts of stories to tell of love, marriage, betrayal, affairs, deaths, friendships, rebellion, conformity, etc.

The thing I appreciated most about the novel was the vast array of characters that Rutherford created. Although he was brilliantly sneaky in how he was able to educate the reader about the history of England through fictional plotlines, his characters were remarkably human and the stories he told were often touching and sometimes heartbreaking. He also created some amazingly strong and wilful female characters that stood out to me the most. Not all his female characters were rebels of course, but the ones that were made me cheer on the sidelines and appreciate him including them in his stories.

Rutherford is a great historian and a great storyteller. I recommend this to anyone who wants to take on an epic read and has a thirst for history. If you don’t want either of those things, stick to your Archie comics. Just kidding. I love Archie.

Phew! Book 1 of the #50BookPledge done. I’mma choose some shorter books for the next few, methinks.

Cheerio,

Library Lyndsey

Book#1: “Sarum”

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Happy 2013, e’eryone! Welcome to the year of Lyndsey’s #50BookPledge. It’s gonna be a wild ride full of great literary adventures and hopefully very few nervous breakdowns!

Ok well to start out with, I’m cheating a little. I started Sarum before 2013 but to be fair, the book is 900 pages and I am only half way through it. So I’m declaring that it counts as Book#1. My blog, my rules. Is that ok?

So there you have it. I now declare 2013, the year of the 50 books, begunneth.

What’s your first book of 2013?

Love,

Library Lyndsey