Friday, August 17, 2007


Post-Sockapalooza, not much knitting is happening around here. I have two WIPs at the moment, neither progressed much beyond the last time you saw them, and this is why:

This book grabbed me by the (proverbial) balls and didn't let go. Still hasn't, really, although I finished it last night. Nothing in this book was what I have come to expect, and yet it is never surprising for the sake of surprise. Everything about it, but most particularly Strange and Norrell's relationship, is executed in a way that is somehow quiet, subtle, and also tremendously elaborate. (And witty too.) I can't get over it. And, Oh! Childermass! How can I express my love for this character? I can't.

What I'm trying to say is that this book made me want to read, voraciously, in a way that the likes of Harry Potter -- which I thoroughly enjoyed -- never could. Which brings me to my point, if indeed I had one: Knitting cuts into my reading time, HARD. I've known this all along, really, but for a while I think I sort of assumed that knitting would be a passing fancy. (I am nothing if not prone to dilettantism.) But that doesn't appear to be the case, does it? And being an obsessive record-keeper, I can no longer ignore the numbers: I moved to Portland 3 years ago, after I graduated from college. In the first year and a half, I read 48 books, including a few long term committments. Then I re-took-up knitting, and in the year and a half since then, I've read 15. This is unacceptable.

So I'm making a commitment: I have two hours, every day, to pursue anything my little brain desires, so long as it's portable. From here on out, there will always be a knitting project AND a book in my very capacious bag.

So how about you guys? What did you used to do more of, before you took up your current crafty pursuits? Do you miss it? Or was the change intentional? Oh, and most importantly, what should I read next?


Kristy said...

I don't read as much either. Not so much because the knitting took over my reading time, but because a lot of my reading time is spent reading knitting books and magazines.

I also used to quilt a lot more, but that was on the decline anyway because it's just not as social as knitting.

It sounds like you have a good plan. It's important to have some balance.

Ashley said...

HOW GOOD is that book? I've listened to it at least 5 times now,a nd it never fails to be completely absorbing. And yes, Childermass--seriously, the most fascinating character. I want a whole book about him, but then I don't because I don't want to dilute the original. Phe. Nomenal.

Felicia said...

I enjoyed Dr. Strange and Mr. Norrell too. I listen to audio books while knitting and crafting so I don't have to decide between the two :)

JulieFrick said...

Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Run, do not walk!

Macoco said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this book. I've seen it around, but haven't know anyone that's read it. I just requested it from my library. :)

lee said...

Yeah, I'm definitely gonna get this from the library too.

Knitting, blogging, getting married (I used to read myself to sleep every night) and then flickr have all lead to the decline of reading for me. I've tried to make more of an effort lately, though. I recently finished Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle. I never got into her kids books but I was unaware that she wrote other stuff. I loved it.

Jodi said...

Jonathan Strange was an amazing read! The style was so unique, and Clarke painted this alternate world so vividly and eloquently.

Reading recommendations:
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. While it's not a fantasy book, I think it shares some of the "learnedness" of Jonathan Strange. Witty, engaging, original.

- Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin. The style and tone are unique and incredibly vivid. It's the tale of Peter Lake, a "burglar" in early 20th century New York. Helprin is a very talented writer; his politics are creepy in his nonfiction writings, but are not in play here.

- Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon.

Knitting has cut into my reading time, too, but I go through phases. I read more in the summer when it's too hot to have a lap full of wool, and also in the winter after Santa has delivered me some new books.