Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Déjà vu Blogfest - The Saga of the Kilt Hose

Wow! I'm five posts away, counting this one, from 900 posts on this blog.

What better time to participate in DL Hammons's Déjà vu Blogfest?

I'm posting early, and I'm not sure I'll add my name to the linky list, as I've no hope of catching up on all the comments, though I'm sure I'll make the rounds of all your blogs! I'm also not quite following the rules, since the post I'm sharing is from 2012!

(As for ROW80, all I've done lately is read. I hope I don't lose my writing groove from NaNo! I'll need to re-establish a writing and editing schedule for my weekends, perhaps with the next ROW80 round.)

It's been fun to scroll back through my blog. My first post featured a To Do list. Later, I discussed how I started writing. I quoted Somerset Maugham on writing with a pen (instead of typing). And I had all sorts of book reviews and contests and writing snips and travel photos and scenes from writers' houseparties and author interviews and notes of research weirdness, and so on (even an interview with Vince Ditrich, drummer and manager of Spirit of the West, on his favourite books as a child).

Then there was the time I sailed on HMS Sofa. And once I asked how would you take a snail to Constantinople?

The post I'm reposting here is called The Saga of the Kilt Hose:

[Cross posted from my knitting blog.
A-Z Challenge and the next round of ROW80 start this week. Look for me on Nutschell's blog on 4 April!]

Kilt hose. Long stockings worn as part of full Highland regalia. Kilts, at least, have been around for hundreds of years.

Apparently, this is one of the earliest depictions of kilts, a German print showing Highlanders, from c. 1630.

Back in 2008, I was saying things like 'If I ever knit a sock...' Round about then, Helen and I started knitting at lunchtimes. I made a knitter's crossword! Yet when I referred to socks (and there's also one typo), I only mentioned double pointed needles.

I started my first pair of socks in September 2009, and it was on double pointed needles. It only took one sock for me to become discouraged. As I said in a follow-up post, "there's another major reason some of us - cough cough - don't like knitting socks: you have to make another one exactly the same directly after you've finished! I knit my first sock last month and now I'm suffering from second sock syndrome; can't seem to get started on the pair! It might also have something to do with the size of needles - I used tiny 2.5mm ones; perhaps I'd enjoy the process more if they were bigger and the wool thicker... Or if I could knit both at once! My next pattern will definitely be a two-socks-at-once pattern."

Helen came to my rescue, and I started another pair of socks, working on both at once on two separate circular needles (while listening to Scottish band Runrig).

By January 2010, Helen had discovered the magic loop method, which lets you knit up two socks at once on one circular needle. Finally, knitting both socks at once! By February, they were complete, and I wrote: "After the ones on dpns, where I only made one sock, and the ones on straight needles, where I only sewed up one sock and ran out of wool for the second, it's nice to be able to say "I've made a pair of socks!" Hooray for the magic loop method."

And then, it came to me. Kilt hose! And no, not just because Jamie Fraser knits socks and wears a kilt. I do have a couple of friends from Scotland, and one of them happened to have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. What could be easier than making a pair of kilt hose?

I ordered the wool from elann: 10 or 12 (I can't remember) skeins of Oatmeal Heather Highland Wool.

By mid-March, they looked like this:

The birthday came and went. However, by April, the kilt hose had feet:

As much as I loved the magic loop method, I found it impractical for the kilt hose, as I'm not good at spatial imagining/planning. I couldn't figure out how to adapt the original magic loop pattern to the additional stitches of the kilt hose. Also, knitting on two circular needles was less tight, and gave me more room to see what I was doing.

The pattern I used was John Anderson's Kilt Hose by Robert Jenkins. The pattern is named for a Robbie Burns poem:
"John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonnie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo!

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And monie a canty day, John,
We've had wi' ane anither;
Now we maun totter down, John,
But hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo."
As far as traditions go, Jenkins specifies that "Kilt hose are traditionally worn 3" below the bottom of the kneecap, though 3-fingers distance is close enough if you aren't in the Regiment or have very wide fingers . As long as no part of the knee is covered by the stocks, all will be well. Any color from the kilt can be selected for wearing at any occasion. Some say that colored hose are only for casual or daywear along with cream shades and neutrals, while snow white would be worn only in the evening or for formal occasions, according to convention. Others aver that any color that harmonizes with the kilt is fine for formal occasions as well. Suit yourself."

So far so good. I was halfway up the calf when summer came and I switched to cooler projects with cotton wool, and that's where I stopped.

Autumn and winter came and went. I made another pair of socks using the magic loop and briefly noted: "And now, back to our regularly scheduled kilt hose." In January 2011 I had another brief note about "the neverending kilt hose (I knit an inch up the legs yesterday!)".

In between, I'd knit so many other things (not to mention all the writing related projects), but meanwhile I'd missed the deadline for Burns night, and I was on my way to missing birthday number two. I'd bring along the kilt hose in my knitting bag and, while I knit other projects at lunch, friends would point and ask, "what about those? are you ever going to finish them?"

They'd become my longest-lived UFOs, or unfinished objects.

Last month, having completed all my other UFOs, I cleaned out the knitting bag. And there were the half-calf kilt hose, staring up at me from the bottom. My friend's birthday was in a little over a month. Maybe I could finally meet a deadline!

I dropped everything. Editing, blogging (I got posts up but fell way behind on commenting), laundry. I didn't log into Facebook for a week and a half and started getting "you have notifications pending" messages in my email. Instead of bringing a book with me, I knit on the train on the way to and from work.

Surely I must have reached the 3" limit, I thought. I held it up to my friend's leg - at least six inches left to go. Eek!

I woke up and knit. I knit before going to sleep. I had three skeins left. Finally, one day, I measured, and I was ready to begin the cuff! There were some tense moments when the pattern seemed less clear than it could be (especially when they tell you to turn the socks inside out, and that you'll be knitting on the reverse side, but don't quite tell you when to switch and knit facing the other way...), but at least when I made a mistake, it was the same mistake on both socks. To the unknitting eye, it might look like part of the pattern...

With two days to go till B-day, I finished the kilt hose!

Close up of the cuff. The cables actually align!

Sneak peek at the garter:

The garter:

Some pink snuck in there, I don't even know how. But at least you can tell left from right, if needed...

Shiny kilt hose!

I was very excited to learn that they fit perfectly! Now all we need is a Highland Games or a Gathering, and I'll have live-in-action photos to post. Thus ends the saga of the kilt hose. I love cables, but not sure I'm ready for another such project any time soon. Perhaps a baby blanket with no pattern whatsoever...

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Filling the Well with Louise Penny and Others


I haven't been keeping up with my ROW80 goals. I still have half a notebook left of Larksong to type up, and I should get back to one of my goals from last spring, which is to read the printout of Captive of the Sea.

Instead of writing, I've been reading!

Here are a few of the books I've been lost in:

Emily of New Moon (and Emily Climbs and Emily's Quest) by L.M. Montgomery

I still haven't visited Prince Edward Island! It's on my long list of places to travel.

A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French

Picked this one up at the book fair of the English Library in Geneva. I can't resist a middle grade or young adult novel set in WWI or WWII. This one was very absorbing. Loved the long author's note at the end too, chock full of information.

The Magician by Somerset Maugham

Very eerie. Loosely based on Aleister Crowley.

Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman

This was a book I'd started reading at a friend's house or B'n'B somewhere and I finally got around to getting myself a copy and finishing the story. Not as lighthearted as you might expect, in a good way. I really liked the characters.

The rest of the time I've been lost in the village of Three Pines created by Louise Penny, reading about Inspector Armand Gamache, his team, and the inhabitants of that village. The food! The drinks! The depth of character -- one of those books where the setting is just as much a character as the people. the Eastern Townships region of Quebec (and Quebec City) comes alive, in all four seasons. I've already ordered the last four books in the series and am haunting our mailbox.

Going to feature my year-end Books Read Statistics post soon!

Meanwhile, this weekend is the Fête de l'Escalade, "celebrating the defeat of the surprise attack by troops sent by Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy during the night of 11–12 December 1602". Cauldron of soup (nowadays the cauldrons are mostly made of chocolate) are involved.

I love living in a place with 400-year-old traditions.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

IWSG and Congratulations


My NaNoWriMo certificate!

But my congratulations aren't just for NaNo winners -- they're for all of you, for all the writing, reading, and other goals you've accomplished, or even just for surviving November!

There's no need to feel insecure, right? Especially not on Insecure Writer's Support Group day!

Now you can take IWSG advice with you wherever you go, with the recent publication of The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

I hope I can keep up with writing, and blogging, now that I'm going back to work. Meanwhile, here's a photo!

Hope everyone's having an exciting pre-holidays time!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wishlist, NaNoWriMo, and You Have To F***king Eat


I shared a wishlist a couple of years ago and, as I've racked up a few items since then, thought I might share one again. I've gotten all the items on my 2012 list except two:

Mugs and coffee from TimPeaks, which was (sort-of) started by Tim Burgess of the Charlatans.

A subscription to the Sunday New York Times. Or even the Telegraph or the Guardian. It costs about 1000 dollars to receive each one in Geneva. Scary.

There's always at least one Tolkien item on my wishlist; this year it's the latest editions of some of his short stories, with new commentary, from the official Tolkien book shop.

A colouring book from artist Pete McKee!

And the last item on my list is a coffee table. Not just any table, though. I need a flat surface that's about the width of a sheet of printer paper, which hovers nearby. Mainly so that when I'm settled with book (or notebook or iPad) and baby, I have a convenient place to rest my coffee mug. Not a nightstand that's two inches too far, or a kitchen table that's at the wrong angle, or a sofa cushion that's too close to the unpredictable cats. Nope, it's got to be a hover-stand, floating patiently by my elbow. Yup, that's all I need.

I got a peek at the forthcoming sequel to Go the F**k To Sleep:

Isn't it funny how so many kids act this way? I wonder what it is about the growth process that makes a person refuse food or hate something they've previously loved? This book captures those conditions with just the same exasperation and salacious language as the first book devoted to the matter of no-sleep.
The illustrations have just the right touch of the familiar yet otherworldly, especially in all the animals that come to life. It would be easier if we were like pandas, and had only one main diet, wouldn't it?
There's a delightful mini-twist at the end of the book that I won't spoil. Recommended for anyone with a fussy eater in the house!

In writing update news (for ROW80), I've almost made it through NaNo -- with about 7500 words to go! I really hope to be earning that winner's certificate in the next couple of days, even though the story itself won't be complete. There are a few scenes I've skipped, many scenes that need fleshing out, and the ending needs to be written.

Hope you're doing well if you're NaNoing!

What's on your wishlist?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mini Highlights of Fellow Bloggers! and the YA Novel Discovery Contest

Blogging buddies!

I'm so far behind in comments! Thank you all for coming by and commenting on my last few posts. I'm going to try visiting many of you today and as I do, I thought I'd highlight a few here:

Zan Marie at In the Shade of the Cherry Tree features an interview with brilliant author Joanna Bourne today! I love what Jo says here: "I want happy endings. I want heroes and heroines. I want brave, clever, principled characters who behave well under difficult circumstances. So I write Romance."

Pam at A Novel Woman shares photos, hilarious stories, and makes Montreal look good!

Forgotten Bookmarks gives away a collection of vintage books every week.

Ayak is an English lady living in Turkey; she blogs about her experiences at Ayak's Turkish Life. She's also a rescuer and caretaker of abused street/stray dogs. Please donate if you feel inclined!

Then there's Trisha, who's rescuing cats!

Pop Sensation has a great time showcasing and gently poking fun at vintage paperbacks: 'Page 123 -- "Yes, but the thing is," the medical examiner said again, "where is the other body, and where is the other head?"
My favorite part of that quotation is "again."'

Here's a contest I entered a couple of years ago. I was one of the 20 finalists that year! Now they're in their fifth edition:

No query? No pitch? No problem!
Get in front of top YA editors and agents with only the first 250 words of your YA novel!
Have a young adult novel -- or a YA novel idea -- tucked away for a rainy day? Are you putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win both exposure to editors, and a reading of your manuscript from one of New York’s top literary agents, Regina Brooks.
Regina Brooks is the CEO of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of the award winning book Writing Great Books for Young Adults, now available in a second edition.
The top 20 submissions will all be read by a panel of five judges comprised of top YA editors at Random House, HarperCollins, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Penguin, Scholastic, Feiwel and Friends, Kensington, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, and Penguin. The top 20 authors will receive a free copy of Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks. Of the 20, the judges will pick the top five submissions and provide each author with commentary. These five winners will also receive a free one-year subscription to The Writer magazine. One Grand Prize Winner will win a full manuscript reading and feedback from Regina Brooks.
Please submit all entries via the contest website at one entry per person; anyone age 13+ can apply. Open to the U.S. and Canada (void where prohibited). Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01am (ET) November 1 until 11:59pm (ET), November 30.

And my ROW80 update -- getting through NaNoWriMo by the skin of my teeth. I keep starting scenes, only to be stalled by my lack of research. Here's what I need to learn about:

Constantinople during WWI
Military ranks
Evacuation of Gallipoli (December 2015)

What research have you been doing lately?

Entered any interesting contests?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Mini Book Reviews!

Books galore!

I've been reading a lot in the last week or so. Here are a few of the books and stories:

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

I tweeted about this yesterday and today. I'm always impressed by writers who can take real life and distill it into a lesson, a moral, a story. I tend to find it hard to connect the dots of real life events. Amanda does it brilliantly.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman

A brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale. Isn't it sad that when, in the middle of the tale, he writes "Gretel and Hansel" it jumps out at you? Why does the boy's name tend to come first?

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Another retelling, of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty's stories. I love what he did with Snow White's character. I do wish dwarfs had been pluralised dwarves, but I guess they're not the same creatures as Tolkien's dwarves. Really intriguing spin on Sleeping Beauty's tale. And the illustrations are beautiful.

Married by Midnight by Talli Roland

I read this in one sitting! I was drawn into the world of the characters almost from the first sentence. And oh! it's full of Christmas spirit. I wish it was out in a slim, large size paperback or hardcover so I could give out lots of copies as gifts. Or am I the only one that still finds it hard to read on screen? This is only the third book I've done that with!

The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny

It's always dangerous reading the first book in a series. This is the third and I've got nine books to go! If you've ever wanted to visit the Eastern Townships neighbourhood or anywhere in rural southern Quebec (south of Montreal, that is, and north of the US border), reading this series will transport you there instantly. And the mystery aspects of the books are intriguing too. This review from the Charlotte Observor, by Salem Macknee, says it all:
"If I thought for one minute this place really existed, I would be packing the car. As it was, on finishing "The Cruelest Month," I grabbed the first two books, "Still Life" and "A Fatal Grace," and spent a lovely weekend in the village. The mouthwatering food, the beautiful gardens, the quirky and literate villagers -- Three Pines is a charming oasis for the's more about the journey than the destination in these wonderful books full of poetry, and weather, and a brooding manor house, and people who read and think and laugh and eat a lot of really excellent food."

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil Revised and Expanded Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien

I've read these lovely poems before, but the commentary was new to me. The best part, of course, is the language; all those intriguing words, some invented, some ancient. And the delicious thrill of "The Mewlips".

And then there's NaNoWriMo!

I've been writing steadily (ROW80 check in!), which is the positive way to look at things. Some days I fall behind. What I need to do more of is think of the story during non-writing times, so that when I set paper to pen, there are definite scenes to be explored and some forward movement.

Plotters out there must be shaking their heads. But as a pantster, that's how I plot, by seeing my way forward a little at a time, towards the distant horizon I know is there. That is, the limited amount of plotting I do is to know what my characters want, and the end-point they're headed for. The path they'll take is uncertain until written.

How do you feel your way into a story?

What good books have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Writing Survival Tips for IWSG Day, NaNoWriMo, and ROW80

National Novel Writing Month is here!

It's also Insecure Writer's Support Group's Day, and so, inspired by Tina Hayes' NaNo Survival Kit and Lauralynn Elliott's post on Tools of the Trade, I'm sharing my own Writing Survival Kit:

1. My favourite pen and a brand new notebook. The notebook can't be too shiny and pretty though; the more attractive it is, the more I worry that my words won't be good enough for its pages. Many times I'll start writing from the back of the notebook and only return to the front pages once I'm in the swing of a story and more confident in its development. Hence:

1b. Do what works for you. There's lots of advice out there for writers, but none of it seems to come with the important caveat that a writer need not follow any of it. Use all the -ly words you wish, while typing your novel on the back of a truck in the wind (a la John Cleese in that Monty python sketch), just do what works. That said,

2. Get the words down. I'm always frustrated by people who bemoan their writing to the point where they're paralysed before even starting. It's true what they say, you can't edit a blank page. Every NaNo reminds me all over again how important it is to write every day. It's only by writing all the time that a writer can stay nimble. It takes me a few hundred words into each session to stop telling, stop using cliches, and really get into a scene and inside the characters' heads

3. The Compuserve Books and Writer's Community. This is one of those stories I never tire of repeating: if my friend hadn't lent me Outlander, if I had let it languish in my TBR pile, if I had not read the acknowledgements and decided to check out Compuserve, then I might not have found the spark that led me back to writing after a two-year drought and might not be writing today.

It doesn't have to be Compuserve, of course. Any group of writing friends or critique partners will do, for writing exercises, idea sharing, commiserations, celebrations, and understanding that you have voices in your head!

4. Accountability. Some writers are disciplined enough that they get their words down and their editing done within self-imposed timelines. I, on the other hand, need outside pressure. I've sweat with Sven, I've joined Ning groups and Facebook groups, but the best to date has been A Round of Words in Eighty Days:

"A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. We are all different and we all have different demands on our time. Why should we all have the same goal? The simple answer is that we shouldn't. If you want to be a writer, then you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to your changing circumstances. If that means changing your goals when your life blows up, so be it. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life."

That's exactly what I did; when November came in I revised my goals. Though I still had a notebook and a half of Larksong left to type up, I've had to drop it. I feel badly, but it's also thrilling to be back on a drafter's high, writing every day and exploring the world of a brand new story.

I haven't found a title yet, though. For fun, I've been calling it The Ottoman Sultan's Captive, which makes it sound like a cliché '70s Harlequin!

And now, a break-up-the-text image!

Winter is coming (in the Northern Hemisphere); bundle up!

Are you doing NaNo or busy editing?
Please share your writing tips!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bern, William Tell, and Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Photo day!

I've got a few snapshots of our weekend trip to Bern, Switzerland's capital.

The river Aare

One of the many bears of Bern, the symbol of the city

A lovely courtyard

The founder of Bern, across from the Theatre

A house Einstein lived in

Mountains rising above the mist on Lake Leman

View of the lake from the train, headed towards Lausanne

Bern Old Town, a UNESCO heritage site

The Zytglogge, a 12th century clock with moving parts, renovated in the 15th century

This week I also learned about William Tell. Everyone knows that image of the father shooting an apple of the son's head with an arrow, but I had no idea it was a legend about the founding of Switzerland, 700 years ago!
Here's the Wikipedia version: "The legend as told by Tschudi (ca. 1570) goes as follows: William Tell, who originally came from Bürglen, was known as a strong man, mountain climber, and an expert shot with the crossbow. In his time, the Habsburg emperors of Austria were seeking to dominate Uri. Albrecht (or Hermann) Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian Vogt of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the townsfolk bow before the hat.[1] On 18 November 1307, Tell visited Altdorf with his young son and passed by the hat, publicly refusing to bow to it, and so was arrested. Gessler—intrigued by Tell's famed marksmanship, yet resentful of his defiance—devised a cruel punishment: Tell and his son would be executed, but he could redeem his life by shooting an apple off the head of his son, Walter, in a single attempt. Tell split the apple with a bolt from his crossbow.[1]
But Gessler noticed that Tell had removed two crossbow bolts from his quiver, not one. Before releasing Tell, he asked why. Tell replied that if he had killed his son, he would have used the second bolt on Gessler himself. Gessler was angered, and had Tell bound.
Tell was brought to Gessler's ship to be taken to his castle at Küssnacht to spend his newly won life in a dungeon. But, as a storm broke on Lake Lucerne, the soldiers were afraid that their boat would founder, and unbound Tell to steer with all his famed strength. Tell made use of the opportunity to escape, leaping from the boat at the rocky site now known as the Tellsplatte ("Tell's slab") and memorialized by the Tellskapelle. Tell ran cross-country to Küssnacht. As Gessler arrived, Tell assassinated him with the second crossbow bolt along a stretch of the road cut through the rock between Immensee and Küssnacht, now known as the Hohle Gasse.[2] Tell's blow for liberty sparked a rebellion, in which he played a leading part. That fed the impetus for the nascent Swiss Confederation.[3]"
What I'd like to know is, if he was tied up and taken to a ship and then escaped, where did he re-find his crossbow?

As for ROW80 goals... I did type another few thousand words of Larksong, but I've also started thinking of my NaNo story (which as a joke is currently called The Ottoman Sultan's Captive):
"A historical romance set in WWI. On the eve of his departure for the front, a newly-commissioned officer discovers that the girl he was meant to propose to that night has disappeared, leaving behind only a cryptic note stating that he must at all costs not search for her. He cannot promise such a thing, of course, and from the moment he arrives at his post in Greece -- having made as many enquiries as he could by telegram while on board ship -- he begins trying to track her in earnest. The horrors of war do not -- as yet -- trouble him as much as the fears in his heart. The barest of leads sends him to Constantinople on his first furlough, where he finally runs her to ground and discovers that she is a spy for England. Yet his dedication has served not only to endanger them both, but to jeopardise her mission, and they must now choose between passion and duty, unless they can find a way to honour both."
This is the first time in many years that the male protagonist has started speaking to me before the heroine. His name is Peter; I don't even know her first name yet! But I've begun cursory research on espionage during the war. Funny thing about history, the deeper you dig, the more you find that women were more involved than anyone gives them credit for.

Here are two posts for those of you writing, even if you're not doing NaNo:

How to write tips from Nathan Bransford

Writers need cats by Beth Camp

Happy Hallowe'en and All Souls Day!

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
  • The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  • The Murder Stone (A Rule Against Murder) by Louise Penny
  • Emily's Quest by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily Climbs by L.M.Montgomery
  • Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
  • A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French
  • The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien (expanded edition; reread of some)
  • Married by Midnight by Talli Roland
  • Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  • The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
  • Dead Cold by Louise Penny
  • The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison
  • Lessons for a Sunday Father by Claire Calman
  • The Magician by Somerset Maugham
  • Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
  • The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (skimmed last third)
  • A Matter of Grave Concern by Brenda Novak
  • Fatal Fallout by Lara Lacombe
  • secret beta read!
  • The Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak
  • Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe
  • Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
  • The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.
  • Brief Lives, Sandman 8 by Neil Gaiman
  • Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter by Laurel Corona (I give up on finishing this; skimmed to the end)
  • Childe Harold by Lord Byron (listened to the parts of it set in Switzerland read aloud)
  • Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
  • The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • Jane of Lantern Hill by L. M. Montgomery
  • Tu Vas Naitre by Sylvia Kitzinger
  • Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
  • secret beta read 2!
  • Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
  • The Caliph's Vacation by Goscinny (Iznogoud series; Canadian translation) (reread)
  • Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson
  • Le Tresor de Rackham le Rouge by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • L'Affaire Tournesol by Herge (Tintin series) (reread)
  • The Bum by Somerset Maugham (short story)
  • The Colour of Magic, Discworld 1 by Terry Pratchett
  • Fables and Reflections Sandman 6 by Neil Gaiman
  • Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
  • Once Upon an Heirloom by Kait Nolan (novella)
  • The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland
  • Snip, Snip Revenge by Medeia Sharif
  • Journey to an 800 Number by E. L. Konigsburg
  • various Neil Gaiman short stories on the An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer album (reread (well, this time in audio))
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (reread; actually this was an older edition, published under the original title of Ten Little N******)
  • Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay
  • How To Fall In Love by Cecelia Ahern
  • biographical note on Lord Peter Wimsey in reissue of Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers (on Gutenberg)
  • One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
  • Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • Temptation by Sandy Loyd
  • The Incorrigible Mr. Lumley by Aileen Fish
  • Effie's Outlaw by Karen Lopp
  • Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
  • The Christmas Crossing by Bev Petterson (short story)
  • secret beta read!
  • An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
  • Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
  • Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
  • Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren
  • Whales by Jacques Cousteau (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book)
  • Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson
  • Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
  • Go the F*^$ To Sleep (board book)
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman:
  • The Sagan Diary by John Scalzi
  • mini Twitter stories by Talli Roland (available here:
  • The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: O Canada The Wonders of Winter
  • Beloved Demons by Anthony Martignetti
  • Hands-on Therapy by T L Watson
  • Let Me Make Myself Plain by Catherine Cookson
  • The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham
  • Mystery of the Fat Cat by Frank Bonham
  • Spin by Catherine Mckenzie
  • Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen (reread)
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  • The Ghost in the Window by Betty Ren Wright
  • The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
  • The Treason of Isengard - Book 7 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Behind the Lines (poems) by A. A. Milne
  • the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (reread)
  • Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at