Friday, September 2, 2016

September column

Got Fiber Daze on my mind! Our Fiber Guild puts on this event every year so if you love any kind of fibery stuff then mark your calendar for Sept. 16th and 17th. It is in Mt Vernon at the Marc Center. Admission is free to come in to look and shop for your knitting, crocheting, spinning or weaving projects. There is still time to sign up for a class or two. We have quite a wide variety of classes. Check them out on our website: Then just click on Fiber Daze.
When someone tells me that a certain book is the best one they ever read, I usually pay attention and I put that book in my stack to read. This book has been on my self in the shop for a long time, I was looking for something different to read so I picked up and read it this month. It is quite different and quite unique.
The Shipping News
E. Annie Proulx

You have to feel sorry for Quoyle as he appears to be a big clumsy man who has had the short end of the stick his whole life. But for all his short comings he has a good heart and seems to find the good. He falls in love with a woman who has no intention of being a wife and mother. She is killed in a car accident and leaves him with two young daughters to raise. He is a loving father and in his grief he hooks up with an aunt and moves to the bitter cold island of Newfoundland, Canada. This is the area where their ancestors lived and the aunt reclaims an old house for them to fix up to live in. Quoyle has somehow fallen into the newspaper business even though he isn't very good at it. In the end he learns the business, has many misadventures and finds a love in an unexpected person. The story seems a simple one, but so well put together that you shiver with the cold. I did feel rather lost in much of the terminology for the ships, harbors, coves, and food. Now I did not find it to be the best book I ever read, but I did enjoy it very much.

The 13th Hour
Richard Doetsch

Have you ever thought of reading a book backwards? I ran across this one recently that caught my eye. The first chapter is the last one and the book ends up on chapter one. Well I said to myself, this sounds like my kind of book so I had to start reading. It seems that this guy Nick Quinn finds himself being held in jail for the murder of his beloved wife. The evidence is very incriminating. In walks a strange man who gives him a letter and a beautiful pocket watch. Then left alone, Nick reads the letter and grasping at straws he follows the instructions. He is in possession of a watch that will take him back two hours to relive the past hour. Each time he makes the jump back in time though he changes things and ends up seeing his wife die again and his best friend also. Then there is the plane crash that happened at the same time with 212 people on board that die because the bad guy he is chasing escapes in a plane that plows into the big jet. This is an action packed book with many twists and turns and Nick tries to stop the person who will murder his wife and his own life is held in the balance. Quite an interesting book.

The Forgetting Time

Sharon Guskin

I really like books that make you think outside the box. What if we really do live many lives and what do we ever find as proof. This is a story of Noah, the young son of a single Mom who has had a struggle with him since a toddler. He is terrified of water, and at bed time cries for his Mama, and wants to “go home” Also as he gets older has night terrors. After exhausting medical, and psychology visits a Dr. finally says this four year old may have schizophrenia and wants to medicate him. Just not able to believe this diagnosis she finds an article by Jerome Anderson who is a professor of psychology and has spent his life in research about life after death. The problem is that Jerome now has a major health issue and is loosing a portion of his brain that deals with speech and it will eventually end his life as it progresses. So they end up finding each other and find out details from Noah that lead them to solving a huge mystery for two families and in the end for Jerome. This is a really good book even if you do not believe in reincarnation.

Thought for the day: Our life is frittered away by detail....Simplify, Simplify. By Henry David Thoreau

August column

It seems that by the end of each month when I start writing this column, I seem to look back and wonder where the past month has gone. July has been not only hot but very busy. My new sign on my shop door now says: Open: Tue. Maybe, Wed. Maybe, Friday Probably That is just the way it is. I am always glad to have someone walk in and find me open.
I am ready to spend a weekend at Fiber Folks of SW Mo. Weaving retreat in mid Aug. Going to learn some fancy pattern weaving and use of colors, and spend some time with come great people. I actually have read a lot of books lately, but feel that I have reported enough on the Harlan Coban novels. I think I have read about 13 of them in all. This month I will report on a couple of my favorite authors, that I can always count on for great reads.

Over a year ago I promised myself that I would re-read the Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series before I read the 8th book. I finally did get them all read and have now finished the 8th book. I understand that she plans to write at least two more in this series but it takes her about three years to complete one book. So now I look forward to the next one. Since the first book was made into a mini series on TV this last year there are many fans of her books. When I finished this last one I felt like I was saying “so long” to old friends and cant wait to meet them again soon.

Written in My Own Heart's Blood
Diana Gabaldon

This book picks up from the previous book An Echo in the Bone. The general story is about a combat nurse, Claire, in 1946, steps thru these stone in Scotland and finds herself in 1743. The first 7 books account her adventures, loves, and losses. This book finds her and Jamie in America in 1776 and being drawn into the battles that establish our independence from Great Britain. Many of the key players in the prev books seem drawn together at last and manage to work out some major issues. The story goes back to 1980 as Brianna (their daughter) is having her struggles as she and her families deal with problems in their home in Scotland and they are forced to go back thru the stones again, as they believe another time traveler has kidnapped their small son and taken him back thru the stones.

Ashley Bell
Dean Koontz

This is a new book by Koontz written in 2015. As with many books by Koontz the bizarre becomes the expected. A young woman named Bibi Blair is an aspiring author, engaged to a military guy serving over seas. She is very fierce and funny at the same time. When she suddenly developed stroke like symptoms she knew something was seriously wrong. It was the worse news possible, a brain cancer that is incurable and she is given less than a year to live. She smiled at the Dr. and said “we will see”
That night in the hospital she is visited by a mysterious man and a golden retriever who licked her hand. She woke up and felt totally well. Her parents are so thrilled they set her up with a massage treatment that also has some mystical tricks that leave her feeling like she is in another world and she know she must save Ashley Bell or her “cure” would be taken back. So the reader is taken on a wild ride with many twists and turns to find Ashley Bell before it is to late. I won't spoil it by revealing to much, but you know you have fallen in Koontz land for sure.

July column

I have become a SomeTime shop keeper. You will only find me in my Weaving Studio/Book Store some times. The month of June was very sketchy due to health issues and a fun get away to Iowa for a few days. My back is letting me down which makes me very sad because otherwise I feel very healthy. Sciatic pain is not for sissies for sure. So my goal is to seek the safest treatment and take care of myself. Again if my flag and sign is out, come on in. I still have books around the wall and they are still half price.
My fiber guild is gearing up for our big September event. It promises to be bigger and better this year. I will be teaching a class called Get Your Warp On. So check out this Web site.
Fiber Daze 2016 is a weekend filled with classes, vendors, and fun related to all types of wool and fiber craft. Whether you knit, crochet, weave or just want to learn we will have something for you. Please check out our list of classes, vendors, speakers and activities on our website Registration is open now and classes fill up quickly!
Since I have spent so much time "taking care of myself" I have read several books this month. In fact I wont review but one or two of them. I did get hooked on all books by Harlen Coben and after exhausting all I had in my shop, I have now checked out four from the library. Each one is different with new characters and plots (except for the Myron Bolitar series). The setting of all his books is the New Jersey and New York area. I like seeing a few characters carry over from one book to another.
The Woods
Harlan Coben
The first paragraph grabs you: I see my Father with that shovel. There are tears streaming down his face. An awful, guttural sob forces its way up from deep in his lungs and out through his lips. He raises the shovel up and strikes the ground. The blade rips into the earth like its wet flesh.
Wow, couldn't put it down after that, could I. Paul Copeland is a county prosecutor and his sister walked into the woods 20 years ago and was never seen again. He is trying a case that ends up being linked to his sister's disapearance, could he finally find answers and if so will it tear apart everything he holds dear. A very good book and as I said before, I became a big Coben fan and have not been disapointed with a single book. He just gets better and better.
The Seventh Unicorn 
Kelly Jones
What a great book and great read. I even found it educational to boot. Alex Pellier is curator of the Cluny Museum in Paris. She is very passionate about her job and is an expert in medieval tapestries. She is especially drawn to a set called the Lady and the Unicorn series. She steps into a mystery when a nun invites her to an old convent, that is being shut down, to look at some old items for her museum. The nun can see that Alex is special and shows her a tapestry that was found in the wall when workers had started demolition. Could this be the seventh in the series? Alex ends up hiding the tapestry and working with the local Bishop to get it on auction to raise money to help keep the convent open so that the aging nuns will be able to stay. There is mystery and romance involved. I really enjoyed this book.

Altar of Bones
Philip Carter
The cover of this book has a comment by Greg Iles (another favorite author of mine) "Dan Brown meets Robert Ludlum....Gripping, Incredibly fast-paced". And yes I did find this book to be exactly that. This is an international thriller. Some day I will need to read this one again. The Altar of Bones is a legend that came from the Siberian frozen terrain a century old and finds its way to Paris. There are guardians of this religiou icon even though the ones trying to find it and capture its power don't even know what it looks like. With people from Hollywood to the KGB to the US government, the secret is allusive. Quite an action packed book. As you may know I always like to find serendipity in things. I read these last two books back to back. I was surprised to find reference in this book to the Cluny Museum and the Unicorn Tapestries.

June 2016 column

Maybe I have been doing to much bird watching lately. It seems like a soap opra playing out as I watch a pair of robins nurturing their two babies. They nested in an evergreen just off my front porch, and probably same pair from last year. The babies have been out of the nest for over a week but still follow the parents around begging to be fed. Yesterday a hawk hit the tree where Mom was feeding a young one, and took off with a bird in its talons. I assumed it was baby bird, but this morning I see both of them in the lawn again with Momma. I must be getting old when I find so much intertainment in watching birds pull worms out of the ground. Oh, then this morning another bird hit my picture window and didn't survive. Don't know what kind it was. Must be tough being a bird.
Neosho Farmers Market is doing very well. 15 Vendors each week so far and more to come as produce matures. Such a wide variety of things to buy. I bought a box of snap peas and ate several while I was weaving. Also took home some cinnamon rolls. I have heard some say that things are too expensive at a farmers market. Well let me tell you, these people put in many hours of hard work to get these fresh vegetables to that table. The bakers are up in wee hours baking so everything is fresh. Did I mention that all the food vendors are certified now in our market. They took time to attend classes in food handling and this all adds up to bringing the best produce to the market. So yes, it may cost more that what you get from Walmart, which has been shipped across the country and stored in boxes and sold in such bulk so that they make a few cents on a pkg. So please support these hard working folks who live in our community and are doing what they love.
I love to find an author that I have never read and find that their books have been on my shop shelf for years and I just "discovered" them. Harlen Coben is my feature author this month. He is like Evanovich on Testosterone! I am on my fourth book and really have a hard time putting them down. He did a series of books with Myron Bolitar as the main character. Myron is a sports agent and so much more. There is a lot of sports talk in his books, but not so much as to put you off if you don't really care about sports. He was a big time basketball player in his prime when an injury took it all away. He recovered, went to law school, worked for the FBI for awhile, then opened his Sports agency. He has a colorful group of associates and you just have to love them all. His best pal is a wealthy whimpy looking guy named Win, who reminds you of Bruce Wayne with his Batman, (Myron). Both guys are masters in martial arts and seem to always trying to save the good guy. The Bolitar books are so outragious with their the dry humor, yet the mystery line just keeps you hooked, and you never see the ending till it hits you.
Deal Breaker
by Harlan Coben
This was the first novel featuring Myron Bolitar, a 30 something single guy, still living in his parents basement, but leading a very successful life, with a gorgeous girlfriend, a growing sports agency and a tendency to try to save the innocent. Mryon has just landed a a deal with Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback, when Christian gets a phone call from his assumed-to-be-dead fiance. Then the mob gets involved and try to stop Myron from snooping. So is she dead or not? The plot is always believable and his associates make for very interesting reading. The book has romance, intrigue, murder, and enough humor to keep you guessing till the end.
Drop Shot
by Harlan Coben
This book deals with Myron's work with tennis players. There is of course murder, this time of a young female tennis champ who's career has been on major slide.. Another young black player who is on his way to the top has enough connections to the case to make Mryon worry and he is the agent for Duanne. Always wanting to correct wrongs Myron gets it sorted out and Win as usual adds the spice.
Promise Me
by Harlan Coben
This book was the eight book in the Bolitar series, so Myron has matured some and has a new love interest. He over hears two teen age daughters of some friends of his talking about riding with someone who was drunk. On the spur of the moment he talkes to them and makes them promise him that they will call him no matter what time to give them a ride if they are ever in that situation and he will take them home with no questions asked or any reporting to parents. He only wants them to be safe. Later one of the girls does call him but wants dropped at a girlfriends house and then she disappears. This is one of the better books Coben has done with this charactor as there is still the dry humor but the action and mystery is more believable. There is much less sports as Myron has taken up being an agent to movie stars and his colorful associate has taken over the sports part. When he gets on one of his “unofficial” cases he is like a bulldog. A great story with a big surprise ending.

May column

Yeah, its May! Think Farmers Market and fresh produce! Starts Sat. May 7th in Neosho, across from the library, 9 Am to Noon. Bigger and better this year. I plan to be there every other week this summer with my WeaverBirds Rugs.
I want to give a shout out to a new little book store in Neosho. It is called Agape Books and Gifts. It is on the west side of the blvd just down from Arvest bank. They specialize in Home Schooling books but also have good reading for anyone. They just opened and plan to have gift items for sale too. They just may have a few of my weaving items in there soon. So be sure to check them out.
I would also like to thank the Granby police dept for their kind help in locating my daughter after she had been in an auto accident and no one knew where she was. A great job and greatly appreciated.
I only have time to review one book this month, although I have read a couple more of J.D Robbs mystery books. Maybe my next month I will have a really good read to report on.
A Map of the World
Jane Hamilton
Wow, I started this book with no real idea what it was about. The cover only gave glowing reviews about it and about Hamilton's writing style. New York Times said: "A nimble job of showing us how precarious the illusion of safety and security really is." I found that the book did exactly that.
When I report on a book I have a very hard time trying to decide how much of the story to tell without spoiling it for someone who might want to read it. I decided on this one I had to tell the story and of course there is so much more to it than I could give away here.
It starts out in the voice of Alice. A young mother of two daughters. She is rather a dreamer and her husband now has life time dream of his own dairy herd and 400 acres to farm. They invested all they had to buy a run down old farm with a beautiful dairy barn. Alice is a school nurse and in summer time she shares days of caring for her best friends two little girls. On one morning of rushing around to collect herself and girls, the friend drops her girls off and Alice is distracted for a few minutes before realizing that the friends two year old daughter is missing. She finds her in the pond and in the end the child dies. Alice is in such dispare over the incident that when the police come to their farm to arrest her she assumes its for this event. She has been in a deep depression for weeks. It turns out the charges are for child molestation from a 6 year old boy from school. The judge sets the bail so high that husband can't make it. She spends 3 months in the county jail, awaiting trial.
The second part of the book is in the voice of the husband, Howard. He is a little bit of a dreamer too and was a loner til he met Alice. I would call him a deep thinker. When his wife is arrested he finds himself with two little girls to manage, plus managing the farm and milking twice a day. The summer is in a drought so his crops are struggling too. He is desperate to get his wife home, partly because he can't believe she molested a child and he needs her at home too. The girls are lost, angry, and confused. He finds he has to drive 20 miles away to buy groceries. People stare and community has been whipped into frenzy and more children come foreward. Three months later Howard finally has to sell the farm and his beloved dairy herd. He has loved the old farm house because of its history even though it is falling down. He moves the girls into a town farther away, an apartment with no yard. With the money from the sale of all he has, he gets his wife bailed out. It takes a couple more months for the trial.
This is where the voice changes to Alice and she is telling what it is like to live in the jail, where she is beaten. She has about given up and has accepted that she may likely spend her life in prison. She talks about this little boy and how she really hated to see him come into her nurse office. He was obviously so neglected and acted so strange, cursing and refusing to co-operate. By trial time the other children have dropped charges and her attorney has proof that even though the specialists say he has been sexually abused, the abuse was not at the hands of Alice.
So spoiler alert, Alice is found innocent. But her life and that of her family has been forever changed. Howard will no longer farm. His dream is dead. Alice is a changed person. She has lost her best friend. But she has the compassion to see that no one won, even the little boy who accused her of molesting him. So the take away is that life happens and things can take wrong turns even though you may not "deserve" the outcome. So the New York Times is right about "how precarious the illusion of safety and security really is".