Friday Five



Five fabulous links to distract and delight…

1. Becoming a writer has definitely affected my enjoyment of reading. Although I can still lose myself in a book, more often than not my enjoyment is accompanied by my ‘writer self’ examining and dissecting the prose. I’m not alone, as this interesting post by Candy Gourlay proves.

2. Author Joe Hill’s love letter to notebooks and a – slightly disturbing – rundown of his journal-keeping habits.

3. Knits for Nerds. If the cover of this book (out next year) is anything to go by, it includes a knitting pattern for a Princess Leia outfit. It makes me so happy that this exists in the world.

4. The Graphics Fairy. Gorgeous blog stuffed with free vintage images for crafting projects, collages and arty blogs.

Um. Yes, I realise that’s only four… Have you seen the sunshine today? I’m heading outside. Have a good weekend, all!

How to be a brilliant banker

Surprisingly, I’m neither talking in rhyming slang nor being sarcastic. Having just watched John Green’s vlog on a project called Kiva, I had to pop over to my corner of the internet to tell you guys about it.

The gist is this: it enables you to loan money to people and businesses in the developing world. So that they can, you know, develop.

Actually, just go watch John’s video because he explains it so well.

NB. In case you don’t read as much YA fiction as I do, John Green is the talented author of Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns and others. He creates weekly video blogs with his brother Hank Green and also created the Nerdfighter community. I am in no way the target audience for any of these endeavors, but I don’t let that stop me. DFTBA.

Craft: This week I have been mostly…

…Knitting.

Now that the book is done (done!), I’ve got a little more time and I decided to start knitting again. Rather than finish one of my on-going projects (that would be too sensible), I’ve started something new. A mini shawl/scarf affair made with an elongated garter stitch.  As it’s the first time I’ve used circular needles, I chose a simple pattern and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s growing quickly, too, which is always nice.

Although the pattern states fingering-weight yarn, I’m using Rowan Damask DK. It’s made from viscose and linen so it has a nice drape and is pretty fine for double-knit. Better yet, it’s on offer at the moment at Black Sheep Wools.

[The brilliant Knit Night cupcakes are from Vegan YumYum. More pictures and a tutorial here]

I want: my own library

I live in a small-ish bungalow, not the Addams Family-style residence of my dreams. Luckily enough, the long central hallway is wide enough for bookcases and this is currently my ‘library’. Along with teetering piles of books by my bed and desk, of course.

[Picture via Home Designing]

It doesn’t, however, look as pretty and colour-coordinated as this, and there’s nowhere to sit and read. Except the floor. And the cats/kids/husband tend to stand on me if I read there…

Until I get an oak-panelled library (complete with secret doorway, please), I shall have to make do with this Personal Library Kit , browse this brilliant Tumblr and dream…

BOOK NEWS: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

I read a lot of YA fiction. This could be described as arrested development, but I prefer to see it as a sign of a flexible, youthful mind. Stop sniggering at the back.

One of my favourite YA authors is Maureen Johnson. She’s funny, clever, inventive, and writes wonderful, quirky-but-always-real characters. Her latest book, The Name of the Star, is out at the end of the month and it sounds rather good. Here’s the blurb:

Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer’s identity.

“Rippermania” grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery…

Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?

If that sounds like your kind of thing,  read the first 70 pages for free (legally) here.

TV: Going Postal

I think I knew about this but (somehow) forgot all about it… Which is odd considering Going Postal is one of my favourite Pratchett books and it has perfect casting with Richard Coyle* as Moist and Charles Dance as Vetinari, plus, you know, David Suchet and Tamsin Greig.

I think it’s probably because it was on Sky (and I don’t get Sky) but it’s now available on DVD – hurrah! So, has anybody seen it? Should I add it to my wish list?