Thursday, April 16, 2009
Finally motivated to finish a book.
One of the podcasts I listen to on my walks is Books on the Nightstand, hosted by Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness. Both are in the book biz and talk a lot about new releases, but they do the occasional podcast about books you should read but may have missed. This is golden for me because I miss a lot!
One of these shows discussed The Mystery Roast, a novel from the early 90s, written by Peter Gadol. It sounded just interesting enough--I tracked down a copy in our library system and found I enjoyed it a good deal.
The Mystery Roast concerns a spur-of-the-moment theft from an art museum and how the theft alters the life of the thief and those around him, for better and for worse. The action centers around a coffee shop where the proprietor scrambles the beans in his grinder and customers guess at what they're tasting. Hence the title. It's not really a dark novel, although a story like this could have swung in a much more ominous direction. And there are hints of magical realism. Fun.
Just an enjoyable book, one I never would have stumbled across if I hadn't listened to Books on the Nightstand. It's always interesting how the reading journey moves from book to book.
A couple coffee table books from the library:
First, Forties Fashion : from Siren Suits to the New Look by Jonathan Walford.
I loved reading about the constructed, engineered clothing of the forties and how the fashion industry was impacted by World War II. And not so funny--the story of how German teenagers could end up in a labor camp for lighthearted teen dressing.
Look at how features of the fabrics are put to work in this suit, with perfectly matching seams around the body and those perfect bias pockets.
And this dress, with the pleats arranged to work with and to coordinate with the stripes. I just love this stuff, and heaven knows, you don't ever find such care in todays' ready-to-wear. Truly a lost art.
Forties designers were in love with drapery. You can see it in skirts with drape-y detailing on seams, and on hats like this one that don't seem to know when to quit.
And novelty prints! Here are jumpers for forties teens. Very Shirley Temple in Since You Went Away.
And how about a wartime Japanese kimono? What I wouldn't give for a yard of this fabric!
I also grabbed Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts out of the hands of our processing staff as fast as I could. What can I say? It's perfection, and looks to be full of great tutorials and ideas for projects of all kinds.
Just a sample of nature-inspired crafts. Acorn napkin rings,
and faux birch bark candles. Around here, we call this sort of thing "Up North %$#&", but in Martha's hands, it's pretty much divine.