A Good Yarn
by Debbie Macomber
*This review contains spoilers.*
From a list of recommended books, I came upon a book written by Debbie Macomber. I am familiar with the author’s name but have never read any of her books. So I decided to read the first in her series of Bloosom Street novels, A Good Yarn. And why not! I like knitting, I like yarn, and I love a good yarn.
A Good Yarn is said to be “women’s literature.” I suppose women’s literature is a step above “chick lit,” but for the older set perhaps. From the title and from it’s association with women’s literature, I did not expect this book to be appealing to men.
A Good Yarn is the story of a young (30-year-old) woman who opens a yarn store on Blossom Street and the story unwinds with the people who surround her, especially the odd mix of characters who join her knitting group and subsequently form a friendship. It is a pleasant story of relationships that grow.
Everything works out just wonderfully in this story. Every character enters with a life-changing type of problem and the story ends with nothing short of a wonderful life for one and for all. There even is a minister who provides the pathway to righteousness for more than one character. In one case, a woman desperately wanted a baby but even IVF failed her. Miraculously a baby is born to an unwed mother, a woman whose plan was to dispose of the newborn, but that baby instead finds a home with the desperate wannabe mom. Nobody – not the minister and not any of the God-fearing group – thought it was wrong for the birth mother to lie to the legal system and say that what she intended all along was for this woman (a stranger) to adopt her baby.
I do not call this “women’s literature.” I call it “inspirational” literature, a euphemism for religion in novel form, even with the lie. (Just what does that say about religion!)
If I were stuck in the bathroom with nothing to read, and a book by Debbie Macomber appeared, yes, I might read at least part of another book by this author. It is hard to think of any other reason.
by Camille Perri
What do we call the print equivalent of a chick flick? Although I have no answer, this book defines it. I cannot imagine any man of any age electing to read this book. Yet “The Assistants” is engrossing and the ideal companion for the drive to and from work, fantasizing along with the story about ripping off your boss and/or the company in a bold attempt to equalize the playing field.
Tina Fontana is the executive assistant to the CEO of a major corporation. Due to a small string of minor glitches, Tina is mistakenly issued reimbursement for company expenses in the amount of $20,000. Instead of returning the check, she deposits it in her personal bank account. One thing leads to another and soon Tina is enmeshed in an embezzlement scheme with a group of bullying, nasty, unlikable co-workers. Robin Hood (and bad judgment and rationalization) is their guide.
We like Tina for her human frailties. We feel compassion for her and the situation she has gotten herself into. She made a bad choice and so there are consequences. The lies and deceptions build, one on another. It gets complicated, and we are hooked on the story.
It is at this point that I would have continued the story in a very different direction than what actually unfolds. I would have explored justice and its triumphs and failures (possibly requiring much technical research in order to make it robust), and relationships and their entanglements. No spoilers here, so I will not say more, except to remind you, gentle reader, that this is not an in-depth study of the human experience, but instead the makings of a chick flick in print.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
by Iain Reid
My brain is still churning the events of this book, even after my second read. Yes, I read it twice. The book demands it.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things was a librarian’s pick at the Queens (New York) Library. It is an intense psychological thriller. Even the title will take you in different directions as you read.
An unidentified young woman describes her experiences with her boyfriend Jake from the very ordinary way and time they met. They travel by car to visit his parents in their home in a rural location. It is a long drive and we get to know the young couple and the thoughts that go through the girlfriend’s head.
They meet Jake’s parents who live in an old weather-beaten farmhouse, their description closely matching Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic (without the pitchfork), at least in my mind. At this point, things begin to happen, things that do not make sense yet are explained, things that unnerve the storyteller, things that unnerve the reader. However, it is the ride home that follows a twisted path.
I had to read this book twice. Had to, and I am so glad I did. There is just too much to grasp all in the first pass. Go on, read it. Read it once, or twice, or maybe even a third time. It will not disappoint.
Written, directed, produced, and starring Tommy Wiseau (who?) – does it smell yet? I don’t know how I came upon this movie, but somehow it ended up in my Netflix queue during my one-month free trial. The DVD arrived in the mail and I sat back to relax and enjoy.
Worst movie ever! So bad it does not even qualify as a cult movie. The acting is abysmal, the dialogue is worse. There were too many sex scenes (some repeat footage, and not for the sake of the storyline) that are way too long and I wished they never even started. The main character is supposed to be sexy, charismatic, loving, and adorable; he is none of these.
Save yourself an hour and 39 minutes (it feels a lot longer) and skip this film. If you must, get more than you will need here:
I sent my two beautiful granddaughters a little email this morning wishing them a happy Valentine’s Day. Keeping their ages in mind, I wanted the email to look somewhat special.
The almost 9-year-old responded quickly:
I returned a brief explanation to her including a little discussion about fonts. Minutes later, I received this:
And then came this from the 6-year-old:
My heart is full!
Bert is a news junkie. When news programs air and the TV is on, Bert is there. I mean he is right there – up front, close, and personal! He gets so close that no one else can see what only he can see. He blocks everyone’s view.
Some of Bert’s favorite shows:
- Face the Nation
- 60 Minutes
He is not a fan of cat videos.
Move over, Bert! Let someone else see what is on the screen.
Wait! Maybe Bert can’t see! Maybe Bert needs glasses!
Bert heard about all the tweeting going on. “Right up my alley,” he purred. So, yeah, Bert is on Twitter now. You can follow Bert, if you are so inclined:
BertInTheKnow – on Twitter
Today I went to Minnesota. It was the very best hour of my day! I joined my two beautiful granddaughters for a visit we will never forget.
Together we made pom poms. We used no fancy gizmos, no expensive tools. With just some scraps of yarn and a pair of scissors, each granddaughter made a gorgeous new pom pom. And Mom said it didn’t even make a mess, although I warned that it would.
We laughed and chatted as we wound yarn around our fingers – 70 times! We counted each time the yarn made another circle around our fingers. After carefully removing the yarn from our fingers, we cut through loops and loops and more loops until only shaggy strands of yarn were before us. Then the trimming began!
E made a pom pom to match the knitted hat she had just completed the day before. Her first knitting project, her first pom pom. She is eight years old. Amazing!
Sister who is 6 delighted in creating her very first pom pom. Her favorite part? Cutting. She definitely reveled in all the scissoring.
A wonderful visit! A fabulous experience. All with a little help from Skype to bridge the 1200 miles that otherwise would have kept us apart, and special thanks to Sir Braver who shared in the excitement and captured it all on camera.