Friday Reads: the #NotAll Books Tag

I found a new (to me) book tag! Yay, these are fun. Recently, Ally posted her answers to the #NotAll Book Tag, and I was highly amused. I was considering doing the tag, and then I saw who Ally tagged.

She tagged everyone who hasn’t done this tag yet, so that means me! Yay! It was created by the Orangutan Librarian, who I am now going to start following because they have a great sense of humor, good taste in books, and a Prachett reference. I mean, really. How could I not?

Yeah, I have a confession to make. This one took me the longest to answer because I rarely pay attention to the original art vs. new art. Yes, I have some books where I like one version over the others, but I rarely pay attention to which one came first. So this took a lot of research. In any case, I recently bought modernized e-copies of the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, so I looked up the cover for those and found that I like both the 2001 and the 2003 covers better than the original 1983 one. They just look cleaner and less… well, less dated.

Stardust. Hands down. I love a lot of Neil Gaiman books, but not this one. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad for the book because it inspired the movie. But there is no way the mediocre book that is Stardust can compare with the awesome, lovely, funny movie that is Stardust.

I don’t have a cute catchy name for it, but I love having talking cats in mostly regular settings. They can be magical cats, or just cats who can talk. It doesn’t matter. I (usually) love them. (The books still have to be well-written, though. The talking cat isn’t a pass for bad writing.)

I know there have been several, but the one that comes to mind first (because it’s the most recent one I read) is Ned and Verity from To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. They didn’t become a couple right away, but it was instalove for both of them (as you find out immediately for Ned and later for Verity since the book is written from Ned’s POV).

Ugh. Do I hafta?  I’m having a hard time thinking of any that don’t make me cringe. I guess… the only thing that comes to mind right now is both Og and Halliday being in love with Kira in Ready Player One. Does that count? I think it counts. Or at least it would if any of those three were the main character of RPO.

I want to come up with a more unique answer than Mr. & Mrs. Weasley. I really, really, REALLY want to.

I cannot come up with a more unique answer that I like as much as the Weasleys.

There are so many choices here… I could pick Lady Macbeth, or Moriarty (or Irene Adler), or Severus Snape, or Dracula… but no. I’m going to go with Captain Hook. (And now I want to re-read Peter Pan.)

Jan from The Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce. (Side note: have any of you read or even heard of this book? I have yet to talk to anyone about it who has.) Unicorns are the main characters of this book, and I loved it when I first read it. (And then it took me ages to find it again — it was a library book the first time, and was out of print for a while.) I haven’t re-read it in some time, but I own it now and it’s one I intend to go back to.

For me, the most recent example of this is The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill. It won awards, it was raved about by people I follow, and it was absolutely worth the praise it received.

(Genre here is Paranormal Fantasy — I don’t know that this is currently my favorite genre, because I don’t know if I currently have a favorite genre. This was my favorite genre for a long time, though.)

One book that seemed beloved by the Paranormal Fantasy community but I could not stand was Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn. I tried to like it, I really did. But nope. Kitty was not for me.

(Genre here is Thriller/Suspense)

I read very few thrillers, and most of the ones I do could also be classified as something else. (For example, in my mind Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is a thriller as well as a mystery, but it’s officially classed as a mystery so we’ll leave it at that.) However, one thriller that I did read and enjoy was City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong. I enjoyed the second book in the series too, and have the third on my TBR.

That was a lot of fun! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you enjoyed it enough to give it a go yourself, let me know so I can have fun seeing your answers!


WIP Wednesday for 7 March 2018

Okay, I have decided what I am going to do with the Raw Honey mitts that I made a mistake on (keep knitting the correct one, and hope then frog the first one and hope I have enough yarn to make it the correct length instead) but I’m still annoyed at it so I haven’t been knitting on it this week. I also decided that there’s now no way these will make it in time for the birthday, so they will be a Christmas gift instead.

I have been knitting on the Lacy Chroma Entrelac scarf. I really love this project so, so much. I may have to knit more of them in all the colors of the rainbow so that there’s a whole color palette to choose from.

(This one is my travel knitting, which is why I take pictures of it on my car seats. At least it’s in natural light.)

And I have been knitting on the Thor GAL square. Almost done with it, now that I’ve pulled out the second ball of the background yarn and am using that to finish it. I think I know how I’ll handle getting fewer squares out of each ball of yarn than I’d expected (some of the GAL patterns switch yarns part-way through; I’ll just incorporate more of those) but I’m still loving this project so it didn’t have to sit on time-out for long.


And since last week I finished the Periodic Table GAL square, I’ve cast on the Studio Ghibli square to fill those needles. (As a quick reminder, the Thor square is for the worsted-weight version I’m knitting as a gift. The Studio Ghibli square is for the fingering weight version I’m knitting for myself.) You probably can’t tell, but that white yarn is sparkly. It seemed appropriate for a square about a magical ghost-like spirit creature. (The square features No-Face from Spirited Away, which is Mr. Wyrm’s favorite Studio Ghibli film. (My favorite is Castle in the Sky.))


I haven’t really knit on them much lately, but here’s a current picture of the Minecraft socks anyway:


And I have done something I didn’t plan to do: I started a pair of plain vanilla socks. Um. Oops?


(Yes, okay, doing toe-up two-at-a-time socks isn’t entirely plain vanilla. Close enough.)

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Favorite Book Quotes

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! Don’t forget to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl and join the linkup!


Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Oh man. So many good book quotes and I’m sure I’ll forget some of my favorites. Here are the ones I can think of to look for off the top of my head. This reinforces the idea, though, that I need to re-star my habit of keeping a notebook of favorite quotes — I used to do that, and got out of the habit, but I miss it.

  1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ~ “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
  2. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher ~ “Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.”
  3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire ~ “We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”
  4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling ~ “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
  5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ~ “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
  6. Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede & Carolyn Stevermer ~ “How dreadful…to be caught up in a game and have no idea of the rules.”
  7. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ~ “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
  8. Bellwether by Connie Willis ~ “Don’t they know science doesn’t work like that? You can’t just order scientific breakthroughs. They happen when you are looking at something you’ve been working on for years and suddenly see a connection you never noticed before, or when you’re looking for something else altogether. Sometimes they even happen by accident. Don’t they know you can’t get a scientific breakthrough just because you want one?”
  9. Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff ~ “Better the comfort of a lie than the absurdity of the truth.”
  10. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster ~ “So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”

And a bonus quote that is just funny and not really any deeper than that. (I tried to make my official ten quotes have some meaning to them, but I couldn’t resist including this one.)

When Rome burned, the emperor’s cats still expected to be fed on time.

~ Seanan McGuire, Rosemary & Rue

New books!

Just a random post today, because I had to share the hoarding nature of a BookWyrm.

I went into a bookstore for one book, which was to be a gift. I came out of the bookstore with this:

New (old) books!

The one standing up in the back is the gift. The rest of them are for me.

I’ve read some of them before: Siddhartha, The House of the Seven Gables, and Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood. I can’t find my copy of Siddhartha, never owned a copy of Seven Gables, and didn’t know that Corrigan’s Blood came in a paperback (I had a digital copy).

The other paperbacks are ones I want to read. A Brief History of Time is on my Top TBR list and is part of my Bucket List Books Challenge. The other Hawthorne book has a bunch of short stories of his, some of which I’ve read and enjoyed, and others that are new to me. Since I’ve yet to read a Hawthorne story I didn’t like I decided to pick this one up. And Quatrain appears to contain a story set in the same world as Summers in Castle Auburn. I’ve been wanting more stories in that world ever since the first time I read that book, and while the short story in Quatrain isn’t a full novel, it’s better than nothing. Fingers crossed.

New (old) books!

And that’s not counting the books I ordered on Amazon the same day because I couldn’t find them in store…

Friday Reads: Goodreads TBR Declutter #3

Here’s another go at my Goodreads TBR list! I first saw about it from Zuky @ BookBum, who credits Lia @ Lost in a Story for the original idea. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order by ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

1: The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford

As uplifting as the tale of Scrooge itself, this is the story of how one writer and one book revived the signal holiday of the Western world.

Just before Christmas in 1843, a debt-ridden and dispirited Charles Dickens wrote a small book he hoped would keep his creditors at bay. His publisher turned it down, so Dickens used what little money he had to put out A Christmas Carol himself. He worried it might be the end of his career as a novelist.

The book immediately caused a sensation. And it breathed new life into a holiday that had fallen into disfavor, undermined by lingering Puritanism and the cold modernity of the Industrial Revolution. It was a harsh and dreary age, in desperate need of spiritual renewal, ready to embrace a book that ended with blessings for one and all.

This still sounds interesting, and I’m curious to know more about the story that is so much a part of our modern Christmas celebrations.

Verdict: KEEP

2: Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet

Tashi lives in a tiny village at the foot of the mountains, below the tea plantations where her mother works. When her mother falls ill, Tashi goes alone to the plantation, hoping to earn money for the doctor. But she is far too small to harvest the tender shoots, and her clumsy efforts anger the cruel Overseer. She is desolate, until — chack-chack-chack! — something extraordinary happens. Inspired by a centuries-old legend of tea-picking monkeys, here is a richly told tale full of vivid characters: the heartless Overseer, the enigmatic Royal Tea Taster, and — far away — an empress with a penchant for tea.

Still sounds interesting, and the reviews say the illustrations are lovely. I think I need to read this one soon and see if I want to gift it to my sister’s kids.

Verdict: KEEP

3: Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede

This witty and charming collection of ten short fantasies includes a story, set in the Enchanted Forest, about Queen Cimorene’s Frying Pan of Doom; a zany yarn about a magical blue chipmunk with a passion for chestnuts; and an eerie tale of a caliph who turns his vizier’s daughter into a wolf.

Patricia C. Wrede short stories? Yes please!

Verdict: KEEP

4: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

I want to *have read* this one, but I don’t want to do the actual reading. I guess that means it comes off the TBR list.

Verdict: REMOVE

5: Foundation by Isaac Asimov

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed.

I really want to read more classic sci-fi, and I already know that I like Asimov.

Verdict: KEEP

6: Jim Henson: the Biography by Brian Jay Jones

For the first time ever-a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth-century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson.

He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were only part of his remarkable story.

Jim Henson’s Muppets were a huge inspiration for me in my youth. I also feel more interest in his life and what was behind the characters we all know and love now, that I’m older — especially since I was able to tour the Henson Studios in SoCal.

Verdict: KEEP

7: Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner

Bordertown: a city on the border between our human world and the elfin realm. Runaway teens come from both sides of the border to find adventure, to find themselves. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorbikes. Human kids recreate themselves in the squats and clubs and artists’ studios of Soho. Terri Windling’s original Bordertown series was the forerunner of today’s urban fantasy, introducing authors that included Charles de Lint, Will Shetterly, Emma Bull, and Ellen Kushner. In this volume of all-new work (including a 15-page graphic story), the original writers are now joined by the generation that grew up dreaming of Bordertown, including acclaimed authors Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more. They all meet here on the streets of Bordertown in more than twenty new interconnected songs, poems, and stories.

There are so many authors here whose work I enjoy, and/or want to know more of. I think I need to bump this one up on the TBR list and get to it sooner rather than later.

Verdict: KEEP

8: Magic Color Flair by John Canemaker

Beloved Disney designer Mary Blair has charmed generations with her vibrant, whimsical creations, from stunning art direction for Cinderella and Peter Pan to the wowing and wonderful “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. Magic Color Flair celebrates this Disney icon, tracing the evolution of her mesmerizing style and showcasing her work in gorgeous, full-color imagery.

Created for the Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2014 Mary Blair exhibit, Magic Color Flair is an authoritative collection of Blair’s life’s work—including the precocious paintings she made as a student at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute; the enchanting concept drawings she created for numerous Disney films; her lovely illustrated Golden Books, which are still treasured today; and the rarely seen but delightful advertisements, clothing designs, and large-scale installations that she devised later in life.

A book about Mary Blair! Yes please! We saw the exhibit of her works at the Walt Disney Family Museum some while ago, and I loved it. I don’t remember if we bought the book then or not, but now I need to check so I can buy it now if we didn’t then. This is a no-brainer for me as a fan of her work.

Verdict: KEEP

9: Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man by the Walt Disney Company

Walt Disney once said of Marc Davis, “Marc can do story, he can do character, he can animate, he can design shows for me. All I have to do is tell him what I want and it’s there! He’s my Renaissance man.” As such, Davis touched nearly every aspect of The Walt Disney Company during his tenure. He began as an animator, whose supporting work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi inspired Walt to promote him to full animator.

In the ensuing years, Davis breathed life into a bevy of iconic Disney characters, including Cinderella, Alice (in Wonderland), Tinker Bell, Maleficent, and Cruella De Vil. Then, in 1962, Walt Disney transferred the versatile Davis to the Imagineering department to help plan and design attractions for Disneyland and the 1964 65 New York World’s Fair. While at Imagineering, Davis conceived of designs for such classic attractions as Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.

This one was written by multiple authors, but it’s about a man whose art was so important to so much of the Disney work I love. As with the Mary Blair book, I want to read this one for sure.

Verdict: KEEP

10: Valor’s Trial (Confederation #4) by Tanya Huff

Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is a Confederation Marines marine. She’s survived more deadly encounters and kept more of her officers and enlistees alive than anyone in the Corps. Unexpectedly pulled from battle, Torin finds herself in an underground POW camp that shouldn’t exist, where her fellow marine prisoners seem to have lost all will to escape. Now, Torin must fight her way not only out of the prison but also past the growing compulsion to sit down and give up not realizing that her escape could mean the end of the war.

I have been procrastinating reading this book for ages because it reminded me of the way the StarDoc series went. Space series with a kick-ass heroine that got weird and I ended up not liking. I didn’t stop early enough with StarDoc, but I am stopping now with the Confederation series. It might not go the same way for me, but I’m not willing to risk it.

Verdict: REMOVE


What about your TBR? Are any of these books on your shelves, either as to-read or have-read books? Are there any I removed which you think I should reconsider?

101 in 1001 ~ update the twentieth

It’s time for the 20th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

It’s the shortest month of the year! There’s still 4 weeks in February to be productive, though, right? Let’s see how good I did on that front this month…

Here’s this month’s challenge progress:

February 2018
3 items completed this month
19 items currently in progress

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Reading #86: Read 6 classics I haven’t read before ~ 2/8/2018

These were classics of varying length and genre, but they were all ones that I think are classics and that I had been meaning to read. The easiest to read was Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (being an 80-page children’s book) and the hardest by far was All Creatures Great and Small (coming in at a whopping 15 hour 45 minute audio length).

Food #43: Try cooking Dim Sum ~ 2/11/2018

I didn’t get in as many recipes in the one day as I had hoped, but we (Sis Wyrm and I) tried recipes for Chinese stuffed peppers and three different types of bao (buns — the BBQ pork steamed bun is probably the best-known dim sum food among non-Chinese Americans). We also made nian gao, a Chinese New Year treat. (The linked recipe is a slightly modified version, but we made the traditional kind.)

Personal #67: Make my desk a useable space ~ 2/19/2018

This has been an ongoing project, and I’m sure I will continue to tweak things as I use my desk again and find out ways I can improve it. Still, it’s great to have a space I can use for writing, and journaling, and generic computer time without taking over the dining table!

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And just like that it’s March! (Or nearly.) Hopefully we’ll get some rain next month… it’s been too dry lately and I don’t want to have to go through another drought so soon. At least we got some rain last year, or we’d be drying up and blowing away in the wind by now. It’s just worrisome to look at how little rain we’ve had so far in 2018. Sigh.

I hope your February has been wonderful!

WIP Weds for 28 February 2018 ~ the FO edition

Okay, so this week I have been knitting on the Lacy Entrelac Chroma Scarf (because lace and color change yarn and fun fun fun) and the Raw Honey Mitts (because gift knitting) and the 2016 Geek-A-Long blanket (because it’s 2018 and I’m still working on a project named after 2016).

The Chroma scarf has no new pictures because I could spam you with the pretty but since I took one last week there hasn’t been *that* much change since your last picture.

The Raw Honey Mitts have no new picture because I realized that I made a mistake on the first mitt and started the thumb gusset way too early, and now I have to decide what I’m going to do.

That leaves us with the Geek-A-Long blanket.


This is the “Periodic Table” square from the 2014 blanket. As the square was written, the back side would be a mirror image of this side. (AKA mirror writing, with the letters not readable from the back.)

Well. I couldn’t have that. Instead, I tweaked the charts a bit and made this one Extreme Double Knitting, and ended up with this for the back side of the square:


I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.