yarn along

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Reading: The Other Boylen Girl and The Boylen Inheritance, both by Philippa Gregory. I’ve been on a bit of a Tudor kick lately, with these books and a movie about Henry VIII. It’s such a fascinating time period to read about.

Knitting: Still working on my Mara shawl! It’s gotten huge in just a week. I’m almost done with the second skein which will finish up the body of the shawl. Then I just have the ribbed border then it’s done! I’m super excited to finish it.

RKLW {2}

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Reading: The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer. It’s about Mary, queen of Scots, one of my favorite historical characters! I’ve read a few books by her before and so far it’s pretty good. I have a biography of Mary and it’s nice to see a slightly different perspective.

Knitting: a pair of worsted weight socks in a pretty green wool. I’m using this pattern for them. I worked ten rounds of 2×2 ribbing and a five inch cuff. I’m really hoping I don’t run out of yarn before I finish them, since I don’t have more! I really like the color. I got the yarn from the thrift store, so I’m not sure what brand it is, since there was no ball band.

And I’ve learned to use a drop spindle! I cleared out the entire spinning/dyeing section of my library and I’ve been working my way through the books. I recently bought a gently used Louet spinning wheel and it came with a huge trash bag full of fiber, a pair of hand carders, and two drop spindles, one a top whorl, one a bottom whorl. The wheel has been giving me fits, so I decided to take a break from that and try the spindles. I’m really enjoying learning something new! 🙂

Listening: {Songs that played while writing this post} Because of You-Kelly Clarkson, Fight Song-Rachel Platten (if you have never heard this song, go listen to it. I hear it all the time at work, but oh, it never gets old. It is just so good!), Aki Love-Juliet (it’s in Japanese or Korean, I’m not sure. I think it’s Japanese.),

Watching: nothing right now.

Linking up with Ginny for YarnAlong!

rainbow spines

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When you look at books, the first thing you see is the spine of the book. Sometimes the spines are very pretty. Sometimes they’re really ugly. I searched through my favorite books to find ones with pretty, rainbow spines. Here they are in order. I hope this cheers up your dreary day!

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Red

Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll~ I just had to include this book. My blog is named Alice In Bookland, after all! And the book itself is stunningly pretty. I love the vintage spine. And the White Rabbit on the front? Darling!

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Orange

Theodore Boone: The Accused by John Grisham~ The third of the Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer books by John Grisham. The spine looks more red than orange, but whatever. This is a really good book, great for boys. And girls!

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Yellow

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne~ I think this book was printed in the 1930s or so. It is gorgeous!

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Green

Tiger’s Destiny by Colleen Houck~ Number four in the Tiger’s Curse series.

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Blue

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall~ Can I say how much I love the Penderwicks? The sisterly love between them is wonderful. The story is sweet. Skye trying to be the OAP (oldest available Penderwick) is hilarious. This is the third in the Penderwick series.

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Indigo

Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery~ My favorite of all the Anne books. I like it because Anne is older (but not too old), and it has romance. And Gilbert! Oh, I have such a literary crush on Gilbert…

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Violet

The Quiet Light- A Novel about Saint Thomas Aquinas by Louis de Wohl~ Louis de Wohl is one of my favorite authors ever in the history of authorship. His books are so well written, so detailed, and the subjects are wonderful. This one, about Saint Thomas Aquinas, is one of my favorites. And it’s one of the only books I have that has a purple spine!

Care to share your favorite rainbow spine books? Comment below!

The Spear~ review

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The Spear -by Louis de Wohl

All Cassius Longinus, son of a noble Roman house, wanted to do was impress a noble lady, win her hand, and make a name for himself as a great soldier. Unfortunately, his plans are forced to change when Sejanus, most important man in Rome, becomes even more ambitious. He’s out for the throne, and the family Longinus is in the way. Cassius is sent to Judea, a little outpost on the frontier of the Empire, in the escort of Pontius Pilatus. Stationed in Jerusalem, he gets mixed up in all sorts of plots and possibly something even more dangerous; a man calling himself the Son of God, the Messiah…..

Louis de Wohl considered The Spear to be the magnum opus of his literary career. Frankly, I’m inclined to agree. Of all de Wohl’s novels, I think The Spear is one of my favorites. The novel revolves around the last days of Christ and all the events leading up to the Passion and Crucifixion. The style of writing is so lush and descriptive. Mr. de Wohl has an interesting way with prose. He uses dialogue outside of quotation marks. That makes no sense. It’s more like the characters’ thoughts are more detailed than the dialogue. Character-wise, I like Naomi the best, I think.

Have you read The Spear? What did you think? Comment below!

The Joyful Beggar~ book and movie review

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The Joyful Beggar- by Louis de Wohl

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most well-known saints of all time. He’s popular among Catholics as the patron saint of animals, and even non-Catholics know who he is. The Joyful Beggar is the story of Francis’ life, as told by one of the greatest Catholic storytellers.

The Joyful Beggar follows Francis as he goes from being the spoiled son of a wealthy merchant to the founder of the Friars Minor, or Franciscans. Born in Assisi, he was named Francis after his father’s love of all things French. There are other storylines that add to the richness of the story. The lives of St. Clare of Assisi, Frederick, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor, St. Dominic, and Pope Innocent III are woven in with ease. Mr. de Wohl is a master of detail. He described the Italian countryside, the sands of Egypt, and the Italian society of the 1200s in amazing detail.

The Joyful Beggar was made into a movie called Francis of Assisi. I actually watched the movie not that long ago on the feast of St. Francis, October 4. It seems to be pretty typical of a movie made in the 1950s or so, (I didn’t see the actual date). It has a very grand, sweeping style, but plays around a bit with the novel. That’s understandable, as it’s rather hard to cram a 370 page book into an hour and a half movie!

I enjoyed the book and the movie. The Joyful Beggar was the first de Wohl book I ever read and I have been hooked ever since. 🙂

Have you read any of Louis de Wohl’s books? Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes~ review

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an anthology published in 1892. It contains the following stories:

A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Five Orange Pips
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Blue Carbuncle
The Speckled Band
The Engineers Thumb
The Noble Bachelor
The Beryl Cornet
The Copper Beeches

There weren’t very many of the mysteries that I enjoyed. Most of them were a little creepy and odd. I did like The Red-Headed League (I have a couple of red-headed friends) and The Blue Carbuncle (poor goose!). I had a hard time figuring out the solution to most of the mysteries, but I did hazard a guess in The Beryl Cornet and The Five Orange Pips. The Engineers Thumb was scary and The Noble Bachelor was silly. I would like to find the other anthologies at some point.

On another note, isn’t that the ugliest cover ever?

What is your favorite Sherlock story? Do share, if you feel so inclined.

The Hound of the Baskervilles~ review

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is at it again. Dr. James Mortimer has paid him a visit with a wild-sounding tale of the Curse of the Baskervilles. Sir Charles Baskerville apparently died of fright after seeing a giant hound, the so-called Hound of the Baskervilles. His death leaves his estate to his nephew Henry, the only known heir. Holmes is intrigued with the tale, but is unable to go with Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry back to Baskerville Hall. He sends Dr. Watson in his place. But could Sherlock Holmes, world’s greatest detective, really leave a case alone? Of course not!

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the first Holmes mystery I’ve read. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Most mysteries all seem to be pretty similar, but Conan Doyle’s stand in a class of their own. I had the wrong person picked as the criminal! But that didn’t upset me too much. There are a couple of subplots that sort of throw you off the scent for a bit before being resolved. I love how Holmes sums everything up at the end. It’s closure, something I like in books. Sir Arthur’s writing style is simple and easy to follow, though how Sherlock manages to deduce so many things just by looking still stumps me. I think I understand how Watson feels!

After reading THOTB, I had to find more Sherlock. The stories are so very exciting, thrilling, and addictive! He has definitely made a comeback recently. I can see why, with the stories being such classics. I found The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and I’m working my way through it. So far, it’s enjoyable. I had checked out a biography of Conan Doyle a few months ago, but I was unable to finish it before having to return it. How aggravating. I’ll get it again and review it for you sometime. It’s called The Man Who Created Sherlock: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Andrew Lycett, in case you were wondering.

Movie-wise, I’ve only seen Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey, Jr. I would like to watch the first movie starring him, and the BBC mini-series with Benedict Cumberbach and Martin Freeman. Have you seen them? Any thoughts, comments, fan-craziness?

Any other Holmes stories (book or movie) to recommend? Tell me in the comments!