Friday, October 3, 2014

October column

Now I am caught up.  Maybe I will find time to add some juicy stuff here soon!

September turned out to be a very busy month. As an active member of Fiber Folks of SW Mo. I have been involved with our annual event in Mt Vernon. This year it was Sept 19th and 20th. We had a good turn out to shop with our vendors and many took classes in everything from plucking and spinning bunny fur, polymer clay, basket making, and several types of weaving. I taught 2 weaving classes in beginner rag rug weaving. Taught a total of 7 students. This is the same class I will be teaching in my store as soon as I sell off a few more hundred of these 50 cent books so I can make room. I will still sell books, but will be more selective on the books I take in and will try to sell the best I can find but keep the prices low. Also on Saturday the 27th I did a weaving demonstration at Prairie State Park north of Joplin. What a treasure we have in our own back yard. A great place to take the kids to see what most of the state used to look like. The visitors center is a trove of information.
I had to do a little digging to find my books to review this month.

The Four Agreements:
Don Miguel Ruiz
I read this small book a few years ago and have given several as gifts to family. Ruiz is a shamanic teacher and healer and has written several books on guides to personal freedom (Toltec Wisdom)
This little book is full of simple truths about life.
There are four agreements: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. And Always do your best. It is the how and why one should do these things that make the book worth reading and remembering. Being impeccable with your word seems simple right? Don't tell lies. But your word is a powerful thing. We can express love, hate, envy, and many more emotions with our word. Also your words that you speak to yourself is involved as we tend to use negative self-talk to put ourselves down. I will just mention what I learned about the second agreement. Don't take anything personally. I like the term he used “its not about you” I think this one statement should be the main take away from this book. We tend to take everything personal, and thus making us responsible for everyone elses thoughts and actions. An example would be someone being ugly to you. When the other person's beliefs transfers to you, it changes you and their baggage becomes your baggage. Basically what other people do, feel, think, or say “don't take it personally”. There is much more in this little book and worth reading and trying to make these agreements that can change how you go through this life a much happier person.

Diana Gabaldon
I did report on this book series last year, but since the movie of this first book came out recently on one of the movie channels I thought I would touch on it again. Gabaldon as become one of my favorite authors and since I have collected her complete series I finally did start re-reading them. I am up to book four now and bought her newest release but refuse to read it till I have read all 7 of the others first.
The setting starts out in the early 1940's when a war nurse, Claire is in Scotland on vacation with her husband and ends up passing thru some special stones and ends up back in1745 win the wilds of Scotland where she is taken captive by a Scottish clan who think she is an English spy. She is rescued by Jamie Fraser a young Scottish warrior. As the books progress she is able to use her nursing skills to help people but has to be careful that they don't brand her a witch. Remember this is 1745 and people didn't know about germs or disinfecting anything. Each book has a historical significance so you do learn a lot about history. They eventually end up in the New America during its early years and that is where I am now in book four. I do love these epic novels that carries you thru the years with the main characters.

Dorothy Cliff is owner of Read Again Books in Granby.

Sept. column

Guess I have gotten behind.  So here is Sept.

I want to put another plug in again for our Fiber Daze event Sept 19th and 20th in Mt Vernon. I have flyer's and info at my book store or go to our website and check it out. Lots to see and do. Free admission and there may even be some classes still open that you can sign up at the door. But you can still register on line. Then click on Fiber Daze. My rug weaving class has filled up but don't forget I will eventually be teaching classes here at my book store.

I can't believe I have been writing this column for over 3 years!
I am vain enough that I have a scrapbook of all my column and in looking back I feel I have read some very interesting books along the way. At the present time my reading has been a little boring as I have been very busy and I seem to fall back on old authors that are comfortable and easy to read. Not that I don't have a big stack of very interesting books waiting for me, so I promise my next book will be a new author.

I have been seeing advertisement for a new movie on an old book that I really liked. It was a book for young adults and I reported on it back in Dec 2012. I felt it would be good to repeat that review since this movie is out. By the way it is rated PG and even though I haven seen it, if its anything like the book I highly recommend it.
The Giver
Lois Lowry
After reading this book I recommend it for anyone 10 or above. It actually comes in a set of 3 books and after reading this first one, you will want to find the other 2 books. It is a small book and easy to read. The setting is in the future where the world has no poverty, no crime, sickness, and no unemployment. Sounds wonderful doesn't it?
Think again as it also offers no choices. 12 year old Jonas is chosen to become the Giver which is an honor only bestowed every generation or so.
As Jonas begins to receive the “memories” of what life before was like going back and back and back, he begins to feel things and see light and color, and experience pain for the first time.
Will he decide that he cannot pay the price to become the “Giver”? There is no turning back or is there?
This is one of those simple but unforgettable books that will stay with you for a long time and may make you even wonder where our own society is headed.

Low Pressure
Sandra Brown
I have found Brown to write good romance novels but also to include very good mysteries into her books. In this one Bellamy has blocked out her memory of a tornado that happened when she was 12 and the murder of her big sister on the same day. As an adult she becomes a well known author and to help her remember this event she writes a book titled “Low Pressure” and opens all the wounds for herself and her family about this event. It is a fiction but has enough facts in it that it opens things up for the people involved in the investigation and conviction of a local man and they don't like the way they are portrayed and the sloppy job and probable incarceration of the wrong man. Which means the the killer is still around and the spotlight goes back on the sister's old boyfriend, Dent. Now Bellamy is getting way to involved with Dent so is she at risk. A great read!

Dorothy Cliff is owner of Read Again Books in Granby.

Friday, August 8, 2014

August column for newspaper

New things happening at Read Again Book store in Granby. I am in the process of culling out many books and have them on sale for 50cents and hardbacks for $1, and many large sacks for $3. When I get enough sold I plan to remove a few shelves to make room to expand my weaving studio into the store. I will have my floor looms here and will be offering classes. More about this coming later. So come stock up on my garage sale prices!
I regret that I had to be closed some again in July due to family health issues. And now I have tentative plans to take a little vacation the first week of September . Again if my flag is out I am here and feel free to call to make sure I am open. Things are getting better.

I got to do my first sales at Webb City Farmers Market on July 19th. What fun that was. I set up a table to sell my woven rugs, bags, and table runners. I really enjoyed meeting some great folks and sold a few rugs. They allow crafters that meet their criteria the 3rd Saturday of each month. I sure hope to go back in August with more new “stuff” I even found a few folks interested in learning to weave.

I will be officially teaching my first weaving class at Fiber Daze in Mt. Vernon September 19th and 20th You can find all the details at our website: I have all the info at my store. We even have scholarships available to cover some classes, so you can check that out and apply if you want. The event is free and open to the public. The website will lead you to the classes available and the cost for them. Please get registered early as the classes do fill up. There will be an assortment of vendors there for you to browse and shop.

I did manage to get a couple good books read recently. Found another new author that I enjoyed very much and then a Nora Roberts book that I had not seen before and it was a great mystery novel.

Dorothy Allison
Ten years ago Delia abandoned her family, took off with a rock and roll band and ended up in California, living the wild life of a rock stars girl. They had a child, Cissy, who at age 10 loses her famous father in a wild motor cycle accident. Delia is on her own and haunted by memories of her 2 daughters she left behind as toddlers when she ran to avoid abuse at the hands of their father Clint. She loads a kicking Cissy in her old car and head for Georgia to try to put her live back on track. When she gets there she finds herself shunned by most who knew her story. She worked at menial jobs to survive
and ended up making a bargain with her ex husband to care for him in his terminal condition if he would help her bring her girls home from an emotionally abusive grandmother who raised them. Allison does such a great job of pulling this book together that makes a wonderful story of a mother's love, with characters who are flawed, prickly, and also very human.

The Witness
Nora Roberts

This was a real page turner from the start. Elizabeth is the more than a perfect daughter of a mother with steel for a spine and no love in her heart. An over achiever who has had her life directed since birth she finally rebells and meets up with a friend at a mall and from there things get out of control for her as she makes fake ID's for them so they can go to a night club. Here they meet some very sophisticated young men and are lead astray in a big way. The book fast forwards 12 years and this girl now has taken a new identity and her name is now Abigail. She has to be very careful to not find any attachments with others as it could cost her her life. She is a brilliant woman who designs special security systems. She has secluded herself in a small rural town with an arsenal of fire arms and a fierce dog to protect her. But would the romantic interest of the new police chief reveal her secrets and put her back in the cross hairs of the Russian Mofia?? Great read.

July column

As if I don't keep busy enough I have joined a sweet bunch of ladies here in Granby for a little sewing a couple times a month. I was happy to find it was not just quilting but learning how to do many projects to create useful things for the home or gifts. It is very motivating to me as I love to learn new things. Thanks, Tammy, Amy, Debbie, and Mary, plus a couple I have not met.
I had to be closed another week in May due to family illness, but hang in there with me. When my flag and sign is out I am here and most days come in much earlier than my posted hours.

I did not get much reading done this month, but did read another Lisa Unger book and found another “favorite” author.

Lisa Unger

Heart Island is a privately owned small island in the middle of a huge lake in the Adirondacks, owned for generations by Birdie Burke's family. Birdy is truly a crusty old bird that seems to love her island more than her husband and grown children. Each summer they are to show up for a week together on the island. This year her daughter Kate, an aspiring author who has used old family journals to write her first novel is a source of irritation to Birdy. Kate's book is fiction, but based on facts from the journals left to her by Birdie's sister. Is there really a ghost on the island? Enter in the mix is Emily. You wonder for awhile where she came from and how she fits in with this family. She is young and struggling and has hooked up with a guy who is obviously no good. He uses her to help commit petty crimes and she hates it. Then she is forced to help with an armed robbery and they end up on the island. The linking together of the characters was done very well and in the end family ghosts are put to rest. I like the way Unger slips in characters from her previous books. It makes you think she loves them and has to keep them alive. Unger has become a favorite author of mine.

The Chimney Sweeper's Boy
Barbara Vine

I throughly enjoyed this book!

Writing as Barbara Vine, Britain's mystery novelist Ruth Rendell writes this literary suspense of the highest order. With this truly absorbing page-turner, Vine developes her characters in a way that makes you feel what they feel and have empathy even for Gerald Candless, a bestselling novelist who dies suddenly, and leaves behind a wife and two doting daughters. To sort through her grief, his daughter Sarah puts aside her university studies and agrees to write a biography of her famous father. But as she begins her research and pulls back the veil of his past, her life is slowly torn apart: a terrible logic begins to unfold that explains her mother's remoteness, as she learns that her father took on a new identity before he married and had two daughters. So if he wasn't Gerald then who was he and what could have made him take on a new identity? She also sheds shocking light on a long-forgotten London murder. To quote from the back of the book: “The mystery of Gerald Candless is so ingeniously constructed, its truth and falsehoods are so deftly and convincingly interwoven, that its as jolting as a flash of lightning”
I would definitely read more books by this author.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June column

Again I apologize for having to close my doors for a few days in May due to family illness. Family has to be my first priority. If you are driving very far please feel free to call first to be sure I am open.

I think I have mentioned before that I have never been a mystery reader. I guess that I am getting hooked, but not to much blood and guts please. I discovered a new author, at least new to me this last month. Ended up reading 3 of her books. Her name is Lisa Unger. Her books are classified as physiological thrillers.

Lisa Unger

The setting is a small community outside of New York City, where everyone knows everyone and their business. It is a good place to raise children in this warm environment. Some leave to find more excitement but end up coming back. Old high school cliques are never quite forgotten. The students are just mature now and have mature roles to play. When psychologist Maggie Cooper returns with her family and sets up practice, her knowledge of local families give her insight into their lives. Her son's girlfriend disappears and her intuition is useful but also dangerous. There are parallels between this girls disappearance and the abduction of another local girl years before when Maggie was in school. Her husband Jones, local police officer has his own issues with the old case and with his son. When Maggie gets close to the truth she realizes it could tear her family apart. A great ending! A great read!

Darkness My Old Friend
Lisa Unger

This is another novel set in the same little community with Jones Cooper, now a semi retired cop back in the picture when he is visited by a psychic to tell him some predictions about his future, some of them dire. Michael, a mysterious young man has returned to seek answers about his mother's disappearance many years earlier, now that his cruel father is dead. He has hired a detective and a psychic to help him find out what happened to her.
Fifteen year old Willow is acting out as she resents being moved to this quiet town with her novelist mother. She has developed a friendship with a daughter of one of her mother's old high school classmates. This new friend has a way of bringing out the worse in Willow and she tendency to run away when things get tough. She witnesses Michael digging what looks like a grave in the woods. The twenty five year mystery of Michaels mother starts to unravel as Jones sees the predictions being fulfilled to his horror.

Black Out
Lisa Unger

A very carefully woven mystery about a wealthy suburban housewife named Annie living the perfect live in Florida with her husband Gray, and her daughter Victory. Annie's life begins to unravel when she starts feeling she is being stalked by someone from her past. Someone she has been told many times is dead and can't hurt her. She is seeing a therapist to help her heal from a tragic childhood. Her husband rescued her when she was still a teenage and became her protector. She knows she had a different name and life as Ophelia. But there is so much she can't remember. Under her therapy she starts to piece things together and realizes that maybe some of those closest to her are her enemies. A real psychological thriller that you really don't want to put down or you will forget who and what is real for Annie and what is just in her head. This was a real page turner.

Friday, May 2, 2014

May column

Are you looking for a little gift for someone special? Why not stop in to the book store in Granby and pick up a gift certificate? It can be redeemed for books or hand crafted items.

I have noticed that when I pick out a few books to read for the month that they end up having a general theme that will in someway connect the books. I do not do this intentional but it is just something I noticed. This month two of the books I choose have young teenagers that are learning to make their way in the world. My third book may not meet with approval of some people, but I read a wide variety of books and think that there is something for everyone, so I will report on it and you can decide.

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd

I really love this book and hope to find some more of Kidd's writing soon. The setting is in South Carolina during the 1960's. Lily is 14 years old and carries a burden that she killed her mother when she was only 4. She has grown up with a cold, often abusive father. Her surrogate mother is their black maid, Rosaleen. Lily goes with Rosaleen when she tries to register to vote. (the first time for blacks in the south) Rosaleen gets into trouble and is arrested for spitting tobacco on the shoes of some guys who harass them. Later they come to the jail and beat her up. About this time Lily's father is threatening to do her harm for her involvement so she runs away and manages to sneak Rosaleen out of the hospital where she was taken for sutures. In their flight they end up about 100 miles away. Lily found the name on a picture of a bee keeper that was in the few possessions she had belonging to her mother. They are led to the home of three eccentric black sisters who take them in. Through their love and understanding Lily blossoms and you will have to read the book how the connection to her mother and these three ladies comes about. This book was made into a movie staring Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah. I can certainly see them playing in these roles.

Thirteen Moons
Charles Frazier

Did you know there are thirteen moon cycles with 28 days in between? I didn't know that till I was about half way through this book that I figured out how the title fit perfectly.
The setting is in the mid nineteenth century in the raw country of the new America and the edge of what was then the Indian Nation in North Carolina just after the Revolutionary War.
Will Cooper is a 12 years orphan living with relatives, when he is handed a map, keys, and a horse and “sold” into indentured service to find his way to the edge of the Cherokee Nation and run a trading post. The story progresses with his being adopted into the Cherokee Tribe and being a very smart young man who loves to read, he taught himself about the law. As a teenager he found the love of his life who would be an illusive figure throughout his life. He spends most of his life working to protect the rights of his “tribe” even though many where forced to move to Oklahoma. The ones who stayed were legal land owners and he helped them buy up mountain land, establish small towns and industries. As a lawyer and later a Senator, Will goes to Washington City many times to fight to preserve the Cherokee’s homeland and culture. Thirteen Moons is a great novel about a man’s passion for a woman, and how loss, longing and love can shape a man’s destiny over the many moons of a life.

Suzanne Weyn

I like to think that all things are possible. When I read a book like this it resonates with me on a level that many may not agree with. The ultimate historical romance: one love story unfolds over many centuries and many lives.
From prehistory to the present, theirs was a love for the ages. It starts with a fight in a cave over an elusive green jewel . . . and then travels over time and lives to include Egyptian slaves, Greek temples, Massachusetts witch trials, Civil War battlefields, Paris on the eve of World War II, America in the 1960s . . . and a pair of modern-day teenagers. For readers who believe that love is stronger than time or death, this is a great novel suited for young adult reader. Weyn writes other books for teens and young adults.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New life for old stool

Had to share my little creation!  It is a stool that I bought last summer at a garage sale for 2$.  It is solid wood.  Put casters on the "top" making it the bottom, then little boards for shelves and my Watermelen pink paint.  Found the metal top at the Dollar store.  It all works perfect for me to display my table runners that I weave and a few mug rugs.  If I get bored can always find someone to play chinese checkers with me on the table top.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April column

I want to remind my readers that I still have some books by local authors. I have several books written by Randy Turner about the Joplin tornado. I also have several copies of High Grade, a novel by D Lincoln Jones who was born in Granby and grew up in Neosho. He is working on a sequel that I am looking forward to.
Sometimes people come into my store with a book in hand and tell me I just must read this book because they enjoyed it so much. Guess this is just the way it is with people who love to read, we just can't help but want others to find as much joy in reading it as we did.
A book by Barbara Kingsolver is what was shared with me. I read two of her books a couple years ago and reported on them. When I found out the newer book was actually a sequel to an older one I was excited to read it. So I will do a quick review of that first book then follow with this newer one.

The Bean Trees
Barbara Kingsolver

A young woman, Taylor, has decided to leave her poor area in Kentucky, sure that there is a better world waiting for her. Her friends are getting married and having babies and she wants none of that. So she takes off in a beat up Volkswagen and ends up in New Mexico where it breaks down next to a tire shop called Jesus Is Lord Used Tires. The woman there takes her in. Ends up this business is a sanctuary for Central American refugees. I forgot to mention that along the way in Oklahoma a woman came up to her car and gave her a 3 year old little girl to save her from the abuse she has endured. The rest of the story is very engaging as she struggles with being a “mother”, makes friends, and learns how new families can be born without giving up the old.

Pigs in Heaven
Barbara Kingsolver

This story starts out with Turtle, who is now 6 years old on vacation with her mother Taylor. They are at the Hoover Dam and she is the only one who sees a man fall down a big hole near the dam. You realize right away that there is a very special bond between Mother and daughter. Turtle got her name because of the way she latched on to Taylor when she was 3 years old. The girls aunt just gave her to Taylor in a parking lot in Oklahoma then vanished. Taylor never knew where she came from but was sure she was an Indian child. Through Turtles insistence they find someone to check out this pit and the man is rescued. As a result they become celebrities and a young Cherokee attorney sees them on TV and sets out to find them and reclaim this child who is obviously a “lost” Cherokee who should be returned to tribal family. After meeting with the attorney, Taylor flees to protect her daughter as she knows the emotional damage that will happen if Turtle is taken from her. I love the way the story winds and weaves the lives of Taylor, Turtle, a boyfriend, Taylors mother, and an old Cherokee man who finds his way into their hearts. A terrific ending and I highly recommend Kingsolver books.

Out Stealing Horses
Per Petterson

This book was written in Norway and translated for United States publishing. I really liked Petterson's style of writing. It starts out with 67 year old Trond Sanders, who has found a little cottage on a river to live out his life in peace and reflection. He remembers back to 1948 as a young 14 year old growing up along the Norway/Sweden border. His thoughts and feelings as a youth spending summers with his father in a cabin much like the one he has, come back to him with such clarity, then he meets his elderly neighbor and his identity makes him relive the event of that one summer when a new friend. took him out to steal horses. Actually they just pretended to steal them by being stealthy and getting on the horses and riding them across the horse lot. His friend has acted strange all day and later he learns that on the previous day his friend had left a loaded gun in the house and one of his younger brothers picked it up and accidentally killed his twin brother. Trond remembers back to conversations with a friend of his father, who reveals that his father was active in smuggling information during the war. All the lines of this story weave together in the end for an emotional ending that I didn't see coming.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March newspaper column

I wanted to give part of my space this month to this organization. A member gave me this info so I am putting it in exactly as it came to me and I feel it is a very worth while to educate the public about.
Faithful Friends Animal Advocates a non profit organization that cares for and finds homes for abandoned and neglected animals in Newton and McDonald Counties. It was started 5 years ago when concerned friends came together, seeing a need for an animal shelter, after the city of Neosho closed it’s animal shelter and sold all animal control products. Organizers decided to build a no-kill shelter in Neosho. After 5 years of fund raising, the new FFAA shelter will hopefully open in May 2014. At this time rescued pets are fostered in homes of caring individuals. There is always a need for more foster homes. If you can help, please call 417-592-2512 or submit an application to foster on the website  FFAA publishes a quarterly newsletter. If you would like to receive one, please submit your name and address information or request via email on line.
Fund raising is a constant need, with the next big event the Second Annual FFAA Spirit Triathlon March 29 2014. Volunteers are still needed to help the morning of the triathlon. Details for triathlon registration and volunteering are available on the FFAA website.
In January, 31 puppies were rescued, along with several adult dogs and cats. Animal adoption days are planned for the first and third weekends of each month, weather permitting. Adoption days are held at Joplin Petsmart, or at the new thrift store. Faithful Friends Animal Advocates opened a thrift store in Neosho, located at 915 W. Harmony Street Suite A-2 telephone # 417-454-4555. Hours of operation are Monday -Friday 10:00-6:00; Saturday 10:00-4:00 and Sunday 1:00-4:00. Donations are welcome at the back of the store M-F 10:00 - 3:00  and Saturdays 10:00-1:00. Please note some items can not be donated, there is a list on the website.

As for the books I have been reading: I guess I am becoming a mystery reader now.

No Time for Goodbye
Linwood Barclay

What would you do if you woke up one morning and your house is empty with no trace of your family?
Now imagine you are a 14 year old girl. That was the opening setting for this book. Cynthia woke up with her mother, father, and older brother gone. There was absolutely no evidence of foul play, no note, no goodbye, they had just vanished along with the 2 family cars. The story moves forward to 25 years later when things unravel finally and she starts to learn the truth.
She has started to think she and her daughter are being followed and someone is watching the house. Her patient husband is coming to the end of his rope as he sees his wife coming undone. A clue is that she learns that her father as she knew him never existed as he was leading a double life. A really good mystery with her husband taking a lead role in solving it when the police are unable to.

Never Look Away
Linwood Barclay
Another story about the disappearance of a family member that turned out to not be the person that David thought he married and had a son with. David is a small town reporter and when his wife vanishes, as he “looked away” at an amusement park. He becomes the suspect as far as the police can see, as his story just doesn't add up to the facts they have. He ends up finding out that his wife has established a false identification by being his wife as she hid out till the time was right to claim her share of some big money. But the house of cards starts falling apart and in the end a mothers love shines long enough for her to save her son.

The Magdalen
Marita Conlon-McKenna

This was a much different pace from the previous mysteries. The setting is in Ireland in the 1950's.
A young girl falls in love with a handsome young man who is new to the coastal fishing town. She ends up pregnant then finds he doesn't want her as he has ambitions to marry an older woman so he can gain control of her farm. Esther's family is ashamed of her and must hide this sin. She is sent to a convent that takes care of unwed mothers and other women of the time who are not able to take care of themselves. This convent is called the Holy Saints Convent and is Dublin. They manage a huge laundry business called the Magdalen Laundry. It was named this because they saw the women they had in their charge as fallen women and they worked long hard hours doing laundry as a punishment as well as a way to have a place to live. The book gives you a look into what it would have been like back in the 50's and the total dependence that women had to be taken care of. If they didn't own property, own a business, or have a husband they were pretty much outcasts. And one small sin on this girls part would make her an outcast even to her own family. Through her months of labors in this laundry she learns she has an inner strength that she will need to stand on her own two feet. She will find a way to learn how to take care of herself and break from the bonds of society and the Church.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February Newspaper column

Brrrr! Crazy weather we have been having. My brother in North Carolina has had very cold weather and snow there. He likes to brag that he left the midwest so he wouldn't have to shovel snow. Well hope he didn't get caught without a shovel.

I have been a member of Friends of the Neosho Newton County Library for over a year, and finally started going to the meetings and meeting folks. What a nice bunch of people and they really do some good work to help the library meet the needs of the community for things that the library can't afford. A couple fund raisers are in the works. One being the nice book bags that are for sale in the library for only 3$. I will carry a few in my book store to sell for them, so stop in and buy a bag, even buy a book or two to put in it. Second being their book sale which has grown to twice a year now. It will be coming up soon and at such good prices so mark your calendar: March 13,14,and 15th, during library hours. I have applications if anyone is interested in joining or just making a donation.

I have read quite a variety of books this month, from a classic, to a thriller and finally a good fiction by an author that I reported on a couple months ago.

The Pearl
John Steinbeck
I have wanted to read this little book for some time, along with more of Steinbeck's books. It is a very simple book of love and greed. This simple fisherman and his family live a very meager existence on the fringe of society. His greatest hope is to find the one Pearl of the World. When he does find the pearl he starts dreaming of how he can better his family with new cloths and be able to send his son to school. The townspeople find out he has the pearl and take advantage of him, trying to steal it when he won't sell it cheap. In the end he is a fugitive and looses what is most important to him due to the greed it made him feel, so the pearl was worthless to him. A great classic that is timeless.

The Vision
Dean Koontz
This book found its way into my store recently and was published in 2012, with a nice new cover. At first I thought it was a new book, but as I started reading it I was remembering the events, so looked again and found it was originally written in 1977 and was one of his first books published and yes I had read it a long time ago. I re-read the book and couldn't remember “who done it” till the last chapter. I do have to admit Koontz was laying the plot out to make the husband appear to be the crazed psychopath. It did turn out to be someone close to her and they were after her next. A pretty good read but it didn't have his usual twist of humor that I like. It was a little on the dark side and I think he has definitely improved with age. He even admits in his afterward that is was written when he was young and stupid.

The Invisible Ones
Stef Penny
I reported on another book by this author recently, Tenderness of Wolves. I ended up ordering this second book by Penny and I have to say it was my best read in a long time. The setting is in the 50's in
England and is about a private detective, Ray waking up in a hospital bed after being poisoned and he is remembering what lead him there. He had been hired to find Rose, an estranged daughter of a Gypsy family, because he was half Gypsy so would understand their culture. The family that Rose was married into has a curse hanging over their head and possibly some sinister secrets so it is very difficult for Ray to gain their trust to find out what happened to Rose, who has been missing for 6 years. With many twists and turns as the story is told in the voice of Ray and of a young boy named JJ who is part of the Gypsy family. I like the way that Penny draws her characters together then sorts them out to reveal the truth in the end. I found this to be a very good read as I enjoy learning about how other cultures live.

Dorothy Cliff is the owner of Read Again Books

Friday, January 10, 2014

Circular weaving: Tote bags

I wanted to share in pictures my experience last summer in making tote bags/purses on my table top loom, using a circular weave so that the bag was made on the loom, weaving front and back as I went.
The set up is for regular tabby weave as you have to do the tabby weave to start with for a few throws to close the bottom.
I don't have the weaving sequence with me at the moment for the weaving of the body. but here is what it looks like from the side.

When you get the bag as long as you want you have to continue with this pattern for a border and filler so that you can take it off the loom and still have it open.  Follow me?? 
Here is a couple pictures of finished bag.

The last one is the finished bag with lining and pocket inside, then I went on line and learned how to braid the same fabric that I wove the bag into a strap.
I made about 10 bags to sell but haven't sold any yet.  I will wait for a better venue for selling as there is alot of work in one and sure can't sell them for 10$. 

My little thought for the day:
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."---Andy Rooney