Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts



Currently reading: Lady Almina & The Real Downton Abbey; The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (2011) The Countess of Carnarvon: Lady Almina was the real-life counterpart of Lady Cora Crawley.

Leaving Everything Most Loved (2013) Jacqueline Winspear: #10 in the Maisie Dobbs series.

An Irish Country Wedding (2012), Patrick Taylor: 7th in the Irish Country series.


Sweetwater Creek (2005), Anne Rivers Siddons.

The Servant’s Tale (1993), Margaret Frazer: #2.

The Novice’s Tale (1992), Margaret Frazer: First in the Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries. I found the whole series and I’m re-reading them in order.

Colony (1992), Anne Rivers Siddons.

The Spruce Gum Box (2010), Elizabeth Egerton Wilder: Inspired by the U.S./Great Britain dispute over the Maine/New Brunswick border which was resolved by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. This was a Kindle edition I found on one of the free sites.

Islands (2004), Ann Rivers Siddons.

Low Country (1988), Ann Rivers Siddons: I haven’t previously read her, but will be looking for more!

The Cottage at Glass Beach (2012), Heather Barbiere.

Picture This (2012), Jacqueline Sheehan: Sequel to Lost & Found.

Lost & Found (2007), Jacqueline Sheehan:

A poignant and unforgettable tale of love, loss, and moving on . . . with the help of one not-so-little dog (from Amazon).

A Fatal Fleece, A Seaside Knitters Mystery (2012), Sally Goldenbaum: Fun – may look for more in the series.

Cast On, Kill Off, A Knitting Mystery (2012), Maggie Sefton.

Ties That Bind, A Cobbled Court Novel (2012), Marie Bostwick.

The Map of True Places (2010), Brunonia Barry.

The Rope (2011), Nevada Barr: The prequel to the Anna Pigeon series.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara (2009), Heather Barbiere.

Primrose Square (2012), Anne Douglas:

A bitter-sweet romantic tale of broken hearts and second chances in wartime Edinburgh, from the much-loved Scottish storyteller – Edinburgh, 1911.

Dying in the Wool (2009) Frances Brody: Kate Shackleton solves a murder in a Yorkshire textile town, shortly after WWI.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (2012) Alexander McCall Smith: #14 in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Hawke’s Cove (2000) Susan Wilson: Excellent – I loved it! Reviews and first chapter at the link above. Will definitely look for the rest of hers.

Deader Homes & Garden: A Clair Malloy Mystery (2012) Joan Hess:

The Dog Who Danced (2012) Susan Wilson: I enjoyed this one!

My name is Justine Meade and in my forty-three years there have only been a handful of people that I have loved.  No, that’s an exaggeration.  Two.  Two that I lost because of stupidity and selfishness.  One was my son.  The other was my dog.

Elegy for Eddie (2012) Jacqueline Winspear: #9 of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries, set in 1933. I’m sure it’s going to be a long wait for the next one!

The Blight Way (2006) Patrick McManus: A Sheriff Bo Tully mystery.

Murder Takes a Break (1997) Bill Crider

The Sandburg Connection, Mark de Castrique: Sam Blackman #3. (eBook)

Midnight in Austenland (2012), Shannon Hale

Summer Friends (2011), Holly Chamberlin: 2 childhood friends revive their friendship. Well-written. (eBook)

Blackman’s Coffin, The Fitzgerald Ruse, Mark de Castrique: Sam Blackman mysteries set in Asheville NC. Sam Blackman was a Chief Warrant Officer in the military CID until he lost a leg in Iraq; now he’s a private investigator. (eBook)

Dangerous Undertaking, Grave Undertaking, Foolish Undertaking, Final Undertaking, Fatal Undertaking, Mark de Castrique: Barry (Buryin’ Barry) Clayton has left the Charlotte police force to help run the family funeral home in Gainesboro NC when his father is stricken with Alzheimer’s, but still trouble still manages to find him. (eBook)

A Good American (2012), Alex George: Set in Missouri.

Set in a fictional Midwestern town and spanning more than a century, the novel tells the story of three generations of the Meisenheimer family.

Tumbling Blocks (2007), Earlene Fowler: A Benni Harper Ortiz mystery (#13).

A Play of Heresy (2011), Margaret Frazer: #7 of the Joliffe the Player series, set in 1438 England.

The Perfect Suspect (2011), Margaret Coel: #2 of her Catherine McLeod series. Quite different from her Wind River Mysteries series; even knowing who-dunit from the start, quite a thriller as it goes along.

Never Underestimate the Little Woman (1969), Clarissa Start: This book makes me think of some of Erma Bombeck’s, except it was written before Erma really got rolling, and this St. Louis writer never had the national exposure. I just happened to spot it at the local library, and it’s a lot of fun! 

A Lesson in Secrets (2011), The Mapping of Love and Death (2010), Among the Mad (2009), Jacqueline Winspear: #6, 7 & 8 in the series (see below). The time period is now up to 1931-32, in the aftermath of what’s currently happening in Season 2 of Downton Abbey.

1225 Christmas Tree Lane, A Cedar Cove Novel, Debbie Macomber: Vintage Debbie Macomber and the last of the Cedar Cove series.

E. B. White; A Biography (1985), Scott Elledge: One of my favorite writers. My earliest exposure was his Stuart Little (1945), which I loved as a kid. The author was given access to most of White’s papers and writings, and I found it very interesting. As I have several collections of White’s essays and columns, it had me digging into my library for some of the works cited. This book was an Amazon suggestion when I checked on a current book about Charlotte’s Web,  which is currently in my to-read pile.


1105 Yakima Street, A Cedar Cove Novel, Debbie Macomber: Vintage Debbie Macomber and the next-to-last of the Cedar Cove series.

The Perfect Christmas (2011), Debbie Macomber: Fun, if predictable.

Pardonable Lies (2004), An Incomplete Revenge (2008), Jacqueline Winspear: #3 and #5 in the series (see below).

Lone Woman: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the First Woman Doctor (1970),Dorothy Clarke Wilson: Excellent – I enjoyed her biographical novels so much and this was the only other book of hers in our library. It’s good to be reminded of what women had to go through to get as far as we have.  Her books are probably all out-of-print, but worth looking for.

Birds of a Feather (2004), Jacqueline Winspear: #2 in the Maisie Dobbs series (see below). I’m very impressed with her research and attention to detail.

Maisie Dobbs (2003), Jacqueline Winspear: First in the series (see below).

The House by the Fjord (2011), Rosalind Laker: A war bride/widow (WWII) goes to her late husband’s home in Norway.

Monument to Murder (2011), Margaret Truman (d. 2008): A Capitol Crimes Novel.

Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (2006), Jacqueline Winspear: #4 in a new to me series, set in England in 1931. I found it at the library and plan to get the rest of the series.

Class divisions and the trauma of war are compelling themes in Winspear’s fourth offering featuring psychologist and investigator Maisie Dobbs (following Pardonable Lies, 2005). Dobbs, who earned a degree from Cambridge and served as a nurse during World War I, employs both meditation and intuition to crack difficult cases.

Lady Washington, A Biographical Novel (1984), Dorothy Clarke Wilson: Martha Dandridge Custis Washington – excellent. See Queen Dolley (below).

Queen Dolley: A Biographical Novel (1987), Dorothy Clarke Wilson: Dolley Madison – lots of historical detail and an extensive bibliography. Excellent. I stumbled across it at the library and really enjoyed it, but sadly out-of-print, as are the rest of this author’s many books.

Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual (2011), Dr. Marty Becker with Gina Spadafori: Lots of excellent information, beginning with selecting a breed that’s right for you and your family, living through the puppy stage and beyond.

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (2011), David McCullough: After watching an interview with Charlie Rose, I couldn’t resist trying the book and was certainly not disappointed! Several of the Americans he follows went to Paris to study medicine, others were writers or artists. I will definitely read more of his books. There’s a timeline and more information here.

“McCullough has hit the historical jackpot. . . . A colorful parade of educated, Victorian-era American travelers and their life-changing experiences in Paris.” —Publishers Weekly

The Butterfly’s Daughter (2011), Mary Alice Monroe:

When her beloved abuela dies, Luz Avila is determined to return her grandmother’s ashes to her native village in the beautifully lush mountains of Mexico in time for the annual migration of the monarch butterflies.   Although reaching Angangueo via a convoluted road trip from Milwaukee is the goal, Luz eventually realizes that the journey is just as, if not more, important. (Booklist)

Love Mercy (2009), Earlene Fowler: A new main character, with cameos by several of the folks from the Benni Harper books. Can’t wait for another one!

Spider Web (2011), State Fair (2010), Earlene Fowler: Benni Harper Mysteries (#14 & 15)

The Double-Jack Murders (2009), Patrick McManus: A Sheriff Bo Tully Mystery – Funny! I’m going to have to look for the earlier ones. McManus is an outdoor writer – I’d read some of his columns before, but didn’t realize he’d ventured into fiction as well.

Bones of a Feather (2011), Carolyn Haines: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery.

Classified as Murder (2011), Miranda James: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery.

The Food of a Younger Land: A portrait of American Food before the national highway system, before chain restaurants, and before frozen food, when the nation’s food was seasonal, regional and traditional (2009), edited & illustrated by Mark Kurlansky. Another food writer’s look at material from the WPA Writers Project.

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story (2011), Ree Drummond: The Pioneer Woman’s book. Fun – I got started and couldn’t stop; read it through at practically 1 sitting.

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse (1994), Charlaine Harris: An Aurora Teagarden mystery. There’s a description of taking a very reluctant cat to the vet that’s hilarious!

A Nose for Justice (2010), Rita Mae Brown: A new series, set in Nevada.

Unraveled (2011), Maggie Sefton: A knitting mystery.

As Always, Julia: The letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto: food, friendship and the making of a masterpiece (2010). Selected and edited by Joan Reardon.

The Bodhrán Makers
(1992), John B. Keane: A rather dark, very Irish book. His play, The Field, was made into the movie of the same name.

Slugfest: A Dirty Business Mystery (2011): Rosemary Harris

The Help (2009): Kathryn Stockett.

Dorothea Benton Frank, Folly Beach (2011): Her latest Lowcountry Tale – I enjoy her stories!

America Eats!; On the Road with the WPA (2008): Pat Willard. A present-day food writer’s look through unpublished manuscripts from the WPA Writers Project. This was suggested by Amazon when I looked at Food of a Younger Land, which I’m still reading.

Fannie Flagg: Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven (2006). Set in Elmwood Springs Missouri, with characters from 2 previous books that I’m going to have to find.

Margaret Frazer: A Play of Lords (2007); A Play of Treachery (2008); A Play of Piety (2010). The most recent books in her Joliffe the Player series.

Alexander McCall Smith: The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (2011), the latest in the  No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series

Inside of a Dog; What Dogs See, Smell & Know (2009), Alexandra Horowitz

This fascinating and elegant book will open your eyes, ears, and nose to what your dog thinks and understands. Part science, part personal observation, part love letter to a rescued dog … and all pure fun. Karen Pryor.

Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown: Hiss of Death (2011); Santa Clawed (2008). I’ve lost count, but these are like salted peanuts—a fun read!

Debbie Macomber: Hannah’s List (2010), latest including some of the Blossom Street characters. God’s Guest List: Welcoming Those Who Influence Our Lives (2010). The first nonfiction of hers I’ve read. I enjoyed it and found it very thought-provoking.

At the Edge of Ireland: Seasons on the Beara Peninsula (2009), written & illustrated by David Yeadon. The author has written a number of travel books and his love of travel and language make this a book to be savored.

Jon Katz: Soul of a Dog: Reflections on the Spirits of the Animals of Bedlam Farm (2009). Includes dogs and other animals from previous books.


Indiscretion (2005), Jude Morgan: “Authentic enough to engage even the most demanding of Jane Austen fans.”—Library Journal review.

Knit the Season (2009), Kate Jacobs. Friday Night Knitting Club #3.

Alexander McCall Smith, Corduroy Mansions (2009), new characters and set in London; Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (2005), 7th of the Isabel Dalhousie novels, set in Edinburgh; The Double Comfort Safari Club, the latest No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me (2008), Jon Katz. Bedlam Farm and dogs.

Margaret Coel: The Silent Spirit (2009), The most recent Wind River mystery featuring Arapaho attorney Vicky Holdenand Father John O’Malley; Eye of the Wolf (2005); The Drowning Man (2006).

Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown: The Purrfect Murder (2008); Cat of the Century (2010).

Casting Off (2009), Nicole R. Dickson. I enjoyed this one!

On a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland, the fishermen’s handmade sweaters tell a story. Each is unique-feelings stitched into rows, memories into patterns.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (2010) Susan Wittig Albert: A new series by the author of the China Bayles herbal mysteries, it’s set in the 1930’s and was a fun read!

Holly Blues (2010), Susan Wittig Albert: The latest featuring herbalist China Bayles.

Mrs. Miracle (1996), Call Me Mrs. Miracle (?) Debbie Macomber: Light reading – I got to see the movie of the first one with Doris Roberts!

Knitting & fiber books:

Knitting in Art/Strikking i Billedkunsten (2010), Annemore Sundbo, transl. by Carol Huebscher Rhoads: Paintings and drawings as a record of traditional Norwegian knitting. Sundbo’s previous book was Treasures from a Ragpile; she operated Torridal Tweed, a shoddy mill, where wool fiber was recycled from 1983-2007.

The Complete Book of Traditional Guernsey and Jersey Knitting (1985), Rae Compton: It has additional photos, stories and patterns beyond Gladys Thompson’s book, though there’s some overlap. Interesting to read. (From my collection – may be OOP).


The Mysterious West, edited by Tony Hillerman (1994): His selection of “20 stories by some of today’s best suspense writers …” I’ve found several writers I’ll be looking for.

An Irish Country Doctor, Patrick Taylor (2004): First in the series, young Dr. Brian Laverty is just out of medical school and starting his first position;An Irish Country Village, (2008): Second in the series, Dr. Brian Laverty is settling into the practice and the town.

Snake Dreams- A Charlie Moon Mystery, James D. Doss: 13th in a series featuring Charlie Moon, rancher and part-time tribal investigator.

The Wedding Officer (2006), Anthony Capella: Set in WWII Italy; some of the food-related passages are absolutely mouth-watering!

It’s 1944, and Captain James Gould arrives in Naples, assigned to discourage marriages between British soldiers and their gorgeous Italian girlfriends …

Irish Tweed (2009), Andrew M. Greeley: 12th in a series of Irish stories featuring Nuala Anne McGrail; set mostly in Chicago, in the present and late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

Home to Holly Springs, Jan Karon (Audio book, 2007): First of the Father Tim books.

While My Pretty One Knits, Anne Canadeo (2009): A Black Sheep Knitting Mystery; A fun read, apart from a couple of things that should have been caught by a good proofreader. One example (page 8):

She pushed back the hood of a voluminous Aryan knit wrap, its workmanship and detail impressive, even at a distance.

Move On: Adventures in the Real World, Linda Ellerbee (1991).

Alexander McCall Smith, The Lost Art of Gratitude (2009), 6th of the Isabel Dalhousie novels, set in Edinburgh; Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009) 10th in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series.

Dorothea Benton Frank, Return to Sullivan’s Island(2009); Bull Island (2008).

Reaching the Animal Mind, Karen Pryor (2009); Her latest book on clicker training.

… Pryor explains the science behind her system, how it works and why it works, its applications for teaching humans …

Shannon: A Novel (2009); Tipperary: A Novel (2007):Frank Delaney

The Serpent’s Tale, Ariana Franklin (2008): Set in 12th century England – a sort of medieval CSI. Definitely a page-turner!

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe; Thomas Cahill (1995): First in a series, Hinges of History, looking at “formative moments in Western civilization.” I picked this up because the title caught my eye – I’ll probably read at least some of the following volumes as well.

My Life in France, Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme (2006): A fun read for any foodie!

This is a book about some of the things I have loved most in life: my husband, Paul Child; la belle France; and the many pleasures of cooking and eating.

An Accomplished Woman, Jude Morgan (2007)

Hope in a Jar (2009), Beth Harbison: “… a tale of old friends, new loves, and the undeniable power of a little face cream.” A fluffy, fun read.

Knitting & fiber books:

Knitted Lace of Estonia, Nancy Bush: Beautiful lace and very interesting background.  Excellent illustrations, both of the lace and the techniques. I think I may have found a pattern for this!


Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin: After failing in his attempt to climb K2, the world’s 2nd tallest mountain, and being rescued and sheltered in a small Pakistani village, Mortenson returned to help build schools. Note: See Deb Robson’s more extensive review and comments from an editor’s viewpoint here.
By Jon Katz: A Dog Year, The New Work of Dogs, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm, Katz on Dogs, A Good Dog, Dog Days.

For the Love of A Dog, Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D.

By Margaret Frazer: The Widow’s Tale, The Traitor’s Tale, A Play of Knaves, A Play of Lords.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry; Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School, Kathleen Flinn.

The Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs.

Gaits of Heaven: A Dog Lover’s Mystery, Susan Conant.

Puss ‘n Cahoots, Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown.

The Hounds & the Fury, Rita Mae Brown: the Outfoxed series with “Sister” Jane Arnold (mystery). If you’ve only read the Sneaky Pie Brown books, try this series too!

84, Charing Cross Road, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, and Underfoot in Show Business, Helene Hanff (1916-1997): Re-reading a couple of old favorites. A book about books – I liked 84 so much I chased down 3 other books by the same author. 84 is her correspondence with a secondhand book shop on London from 1949-1969; Duchess tells about her trip when she finally got to visit London in 1971.

Dorothea Benton Frank, The Land of Mango Sunsets; Sullivan’s Island: A Lowcountry Tale; the latest ones of several of hers I’ve read.

Rhett Butler’s People; Based on Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, Donald McCaig: Having read GWtW (1936 edition, printing of December 1936; it has my grandparents’ names on the flyleaf, dated Christmas 1936), I’m curious about this one. I just happened to see it at the County Library today (4/4), so here goes! I was a bit skeptical, but I enjoyed it – definitely a page-turner. The author wove it around recognizable bits from the original, filling in background for Rhett and some other familiar characters, adding a few more, and continuing the story past the famous “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” I thought McCaig maintained the “voice” of GWtW very well.

Plum Lovin’, Janet Evanovich: A Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers novel – Not exactly reading, but an audio book edition for intensive-knitting time.

Debbie Macomber: Back on Blossom Street, Twenty Wishes, 204 Rosewood Lane (audio, for trip).

Charlaine Harris: A Bone to Pick, Real Murders, Sweet and Deadly.

When the Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrugue, Murder & the New Madrid Earthquakes, Jay Feldman: The New Madrid quakes took place between 1811 and 1812: I’ve always been interested in this period.

That Summer Place, Debbie Macomber, Susan Wiggs & Jill Barnett: 3 stories set in an old Victorian house on an island in the Pacific Northwest. Pure escapism, but fun 😉

The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Alexander McCall Smith: 9th in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series.

Irish Gold (1994), Andrew M. Greeley: First in a series of Irish stories featuring Nuala Anne McGrail; set in Ireland and Chicago. I “one more chaptered” myself until 1am with this one; 2. Irish Lace (1996); 3. Irish Whiskey (1998); 4. Irish Mist (1999); 5. Irish Eyes (2000); 6. Irish Love (2001); 7. Irish Stew! (2002); 8. Irish Cream (2005); 9. Irish Crystal (2006); 10. Irish Linen (2007); 11. Irish Tiger (2008).

The Archbishop in Andalusia (2008), Andrew M. Greeley: A Blackie Ryan Novel – another of his series.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farm Journalist; Writings from the Ozarks, University of Missouri Press 2007: Essays from Missouri Ruralist, 1911-1924, edited by Stephen W. Hines. Some of her articles were amazingly timely, considering that they were written over 80 year ago!

The Summerhouse, Return to Summerhouse, Secrets: Jude Deveraux.

The Beach House, Jane Green (2008).

The Alto Wore Tweed, A Liturgical Mystery: Mark Schweizer (2002).

The Bachelor’s Cat: A Love Story, L. F. Hoffman (1997): A neat little (120 pgs) book!

Ireland: A Novel (2005), Frank Delaney: A story of a boy and an itinerant storyteller from a writer with a definite gift for words, which I’m savoring. He also has a Notebook that’s interesting, though infrequently updated.

Once Upon a Town; The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen (2002), Bob Greene: Throughout WWII this small town and its surrounding areas welcomed and fed more than 6 million GIs as the troop trains passed though.

The Lace Reader (2006), Brunonia Barry:

Every gift has a price; every piece of lace has a secret. Towner Whitney … hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns of lace …

A bit different 😉

An Irish Country Christmas, Patrick Taylor (2008): The 3rd in a series about 2 doctors in an Irish country practice – I saw it at the library, but I absolutely must track down the first 2. One scene where the cat knocked over a pitcher of milk almost had me falling off my chair laughing.

Knitting books:

Arctic Lace, Donna Druchunas: Just the description of the qiviut in the first paragraph of the introduction makes me long to spin and/or knit some!

Armenian Knitting, Meg Swansen & Joyce Williams: Amazing projects, some of which I’ve seen at Knitting Camp; also fabulous photos!

New Japanese knitting books: Knitting Patterns Book 300, 100 Aran Knitting Patterns, New Style of Heirloom Knitting. As I’m not able to read Japanese, reading isn’t quite accurate – I’m looking at swatches and charts (which I have learned to read!) and seriously lusting after a couple of the designs in the last book.

Invisible Threads in Knitting, Annemor Sundbø.

Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales; A Knitter’s Stash of Wit and Wisdom: Kari Cornell, Editor. I was particularly struck by this – wow!

From The Mysterious Stitch, by Carrie Mercer: Creating something from nothing more than colorful string and a couple of sticks—it’s downright magical.

Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me (2008), Jon Katz. Bedlam Farm and dogs.

One thought on “Books

  1. Cooking, critters, tea and knitting? I think I’m gonna like visiting your blog. 🙂

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