52 Books 2014: Week 34

The White Dragon (Dragonriders of Pern #3)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, dragons)

If you consider the Dragonriders of Pern to be a trilogy, then this is the conclusion to that trilogy. It is not, however, the conclusion to the larger series (which I feel also includes the Harper Hall trilogy and ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN). However, those other books don’t always focus on the dragonRIDERS as much as all of the people of Pern, so calling THE WHITE DRAGON the third book in the trilogy is not a bad idea.

Of the three books in the trilogy, I think this one is the best written. It follows Jaxom more exclusively than any of the other books followed any one person, so it is able to be more character-centric the way I like my books. Granted, it does still switch POV as needed to tell the story, and the characters from the first two books are still very much in evidence.

It really does amuse me to compare my reading comprehension of today with that of the first time I read this series. There are so many more things that I pick up on than I did then. The politics, the sexual undertones, the diplomacy… I understood it all at one level on my first read-through, but I understand it on so many more levels now. I wonder what new experiences I’ll bring to this story when I re-read it again (and again) in the decades to come?

And on a final note, when I re-read THE WHITE DRAGON this time, I had to buy a new copy before I did so. The prior version I had (which may or may not be the very first copy of it my parents bought long ago… I’m not sure) fell apart the last time that Mr. Wyrm re-read it. (And can I say how much I love the fact that the man I married also loves books the way I do? He reads at least as many books per year as I do, if not more. And he re-reads, and we enjoy some of the same books. So wonderful. I am so lucky that he is both a reader and a Disney Geek like me.) So, I had to buy a new copy, and luckily my favorite local bookstore had it on hand. You can never be sure with older books, even ones that are still as popular as the Pern series.

Speaking of my favorite local bookstore, they are currently in money troubles (gee thanks, Amazon… though I do admit that I like the mail order giant for some things, too). If you have the time to look, here’s a link to their Indiegogo fundraiser page. If you have the money to donate, I’m sure they’d appreciate that. But even just spreading the word is good. Or, how about this: next time you want to buy a book, go to your local store instead of Amazon. Yeah, you might have to drive to the store instead of having the book driven to you, but just think: you can be reading it TODAY instead of having to wait for the drones to drop it on your doorstep.

Christmas WIP!

It’s August… and you know what that means! Yup – time to start knitting Christmas gifts!

Since this is a gift, I will not be going into much detail (or posting many more pictures) until late December. I don’t think the recipient reads the blog, but just in case… All you’re getting for now is this picture.

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Happy Thursday, everyone!

From Yak To Cowl

Oooh, lookie here! A finished object!

Cowl FO

This is the Edelweiss Neckwarmer by Susanna IC. It’s meant to be done as a scarf-type neckwarmer, with buttons to hold it closed. I decided I wanted to seam it up and have it as a cowl. (I’m not 100% sure now that was the right idea, but we’ll have to wait for this fall/winter to be sure.)

I knit this cowl from yarn I spun during the 2014 Tour De Fleece. From start to finish (counting the spinning) this is one of the fastest projects I have ever made. It helps that the fiber was so enticing. It’s sparkly! And made up of so many different colors and fibers! In addition to the (sheep) wool, there are sparkly bits and even some yak wool. I can’t help but be intrigued by it. I will be buying more fiber from BohoKnitterChic, because this one was so fun to work with.

Cowl FO

The pattern was pretty simple, too. It was easy enough to memorize; the hardest part was remembering which row I ended on when I put the knitting down for a while. I got in the habit of stopping mid-row to make it easier to remember where I was. (NOT something I was taught to do when I learned how to knit… but it worked well enough for this project.)

Would I knit another of these cowls? Perhaps. If I had a small skein of something yummy that I wanted to show off, for instance. But I would probably knit it as a scarf-type neckwarmer as intended, to compare the difference between the way it was written and the slight mod I made to it.

Cowl FO

Here are the specs (and a link to my Ravelry project page):

PATTERN: Edelweiss Neckwarmer
DESIGNER: Susanna IC
YARN: “May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor” rolags from BohoKnitterChic, spun into a thick/thin yarn by yours truly
NEEDLES: US 6
START & END DATES: July 12, 2014 to August 1, 2014
MODS: Only one: after knitting this as written, I seamed up the edge instead of sewing on buttons.

52 Books 2014: Week 33

Dragonquest (Dragonriders of Pern #2)
by Anne McCaffrey
(fantasy, dragons)

This second book in the Dragonriders of Pern series is, I feel, equally as good as the first. It has all the same style drama and romance and humor, just sometimes focused on different characters. It follows the first book’s plot to a logical place – though not a conclusion. This series does have (in my opinion) a conclusion (even though books are still being written in the world, I feel they are a separate series), and that is still a long time coming. That said, you’re not left with an annoying cliffhanger: the book wraps itself up nicely, even while leaving series items obvious for future books.

In some respects I’ve always like this book more than the first. I think part of that is because the dragon-speak is consistent throughout. The first book suffers from – if anything – a discrepancy in how the dragons talked in McCaffrey’s original short story, and how their speech evolved later when the story became a book. (It went from descriptions of what they said, to italicized dialogue.) This isn’t anything that harms the first book, but it is noticeable. And when you like the dragons’ lines as much as the humans’, as I do, you miss that style in the first bit of the first book.

It’s also probable that I enjoyed DRAGONQUEST more than DRAGONFLIGHT when I was younger because I’ve always associated more with Brekke than any of the characters in Pern. (I wanted to associate with Menolly, but always felt she was more musically talented than I. And don’t argue, Dad: I may have a good voice and have been decent on the piano when I was taking lessons, but that’s more learned skill than raw talent.) Anyway, since Brekke features heavily in this second book in the series, it’s logical that I would like it.

Anyway, like DRAGONFLIGHT, if you are a lover of epic fantasy and dragons and haven’t read this series, you need to. It is a classic, and remains as timely today as it was when it was written.

Ten On Tuesday ~ Annuals

Today’s Ten On Tuesday prompt is “10 Things You Only Do Once A Year, But You Wish You Could Do Them More Often.” Wow. That’s a long and complicated prompt. I’m not sure I can successfully answer it, either. There aren’t many things that I am limited to doing once a year. I suspect that part of that is because I don’t have kids, and so if Mr. Wyrm and I want to go to one Disney resort or another, we only have to worry about our work schedules and budget, not anyone school schedule. Hmm. I’ll take a stab at it, though. I may yet find ten things…

1. Visit Mr. Wyrm’s family. I don’t think we’ve even done yearly every year we’ve been together. Most years, but I’m pretty sure we’ve been visiting (or visited) slightly less than yearly.

2. Get dressed up (in costume). I could dress up for Halloween more than once per year. Different parties on different days, for instance. But at this point, I’m not. Sometimes I don’t even dress up the once.

3. Go on a BIG Disney trip. “Big” being a cruise, or special tour, or extended trip to Walt Disney World. But they take up more vacation than I have to do twice, and that’s not even considering the expense…

4. Make mulled cider. Only doing this one once a year is entirely my own fault. I could do it as often as I wanted. But it’s a lot of work to set up, so I usually don’t bother very often. Especially since Trader Joe’s has a quite acceptable pre-made version. (Not quite as good, but the best I’ve found bottled.)

5. Visit Disneyland at Christmastime. I’m glad we do get the one visit a year (usually). But this is one thing I’m jealous of the LA locals for.

6. Visit Disneyland at Halloweentime. Ditto the above.

Hmm. That’s about all I can come up with. Oh – here’s one new one:

7. Visit with my whole S’n’B. Our main Stitch ‘n’ Bitch coordinator moved out of town, and since we normally gather at her house, our meeting place moved out of town too. We’re planning a twice yearly get-together (summer & winter) but so far we’ve only had one, and I can already tell that I’m going to want more visits than we’re going to have.

However, that’s about it now. As I said, I generally don’t let things stop me from doing what I want to do. Have a great week, everyone!

52 Books 2014: Week 32

Doctor Who: Feast Of The Drowned
by Stephen Cole
narrated by David Tennant

I picked up this audiobook because it was the Audible Daily Deal, and so was a good price. I’m glad I got it there, instead of at full-price, because it’s a short book. Novella-length, probably. However, that shorter length – combined with the fact that it was read by David Tennant – made it feel like an episode of the TV show instead of a book.

About the plot: it works as a TV episode. I would have believed it was a novelized version of a TV episode, were it not for the fact that I have seen all of the new Who episodes, and this wasn’t one of them. However, I don’t think it would have worked as well as a book that wasn’t a part of a series already. The only people who will be picking this up to read are people who already know what Doctor Who is. People who have met Rose and Mickey, and who don’t need any explanation for why the Doctor talks about “you humans”. If anyone unfamiliar with the series WERE to pick this up, they would shortly put it down again, because there is little to no explanation of the world of Who.

My favorite part, as I fully expected, was the narration. Since this was a 10th Doctor story, there is no one better to narrate it than David Tennant. And he does a great job of it. Naturally he reads The Doctor flawlessly. And the narration of the non-dialogue is also great, as I would have expected from an actor of his caliber. But he gets the other voices down, too. Rose isn’t as perfect, but she’s read well enough to be recognizable. Mickey, however, SOUNDS LIKE MICKEY. And later, an American shows up, and the accent is great.

So – will I be buying other Doctor Who novels? Probably not in book form, but maybe in audiobook form, as long as they are read by the Doctor in question. And it also depends on the price… There are other novellas that I wanted to listen to, but bought the ebook instead of the audiobook because the pricing on the ebook was more reasonable. Don’t get me wrong, I do realize that there are more production costs behind an audiobook than an ebook. You have the narration, the editing of the audio as well as the text, etc. But I still have a hard time paying the price of a full-length (7-10 hours, say) audiobook for one that clocks in at 2.5 hours. Even if it’s an enjoyable 2.5 hours.