The Magicians and other ramblings

I’ve been attempting this 52 books in 52 weeks thing. Thus far, I’m not sure where I stand. I’ve lost track a little bit, though I’m updating my Goodreads list as I write this post. The most recent book I’ve finished (aside from re-reading non-Twilight vampirevampyre drivel) is The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

I was very hesitant about this book. It was compelling to listen to (audiobooks are my friend when I knit), but I found myself frustrated with the protagonist, Quentin Coldwater. I find myself agreeing with Leila over at Bookshelves of Doom:

My major personal difficulty with the book boiled down to this: Quentin Coldwater is not very likable. He’s selfish and apathetic, never happy with what he has, even when what he has is exactly what he originally thought he wanted. He’s the personification of the-grass-is-always-greener. I never doubted him as a character — he seemed very real to me — but I didn’t like him. But I’m not sure if I was supposedto like him. If this was a book about Magic in the Real World, it stands to reason that the hero wouldn’t just not be heroic — he wouldn’t be a hero. And, ultimately, I didn’t see him as one. He was just a protagonist. Which, really, made sense.

As I said on my Goodreads review of the book, Quentin frustrated me. I found myself frequently wanting to reach through my iPod and shake him. It wasn’t a horrible book – there were parts I certainly enjoyed, and I gave it three stars on Goodreads. The parallels between Fillory and Narnia kind of hurt my head. In the end, I’m still not certain whether I enjoyed it or not.

Otherwise, I’ve been knitting for the House Cup. This weekend I participated in the International Date Line challenge representing my Quidditch team, Team Rosetta Stone.

Three hats in two days isnt so bad.

Three hats in two days isn't so bad.

The task was to use 200 yards of yarn crafting something for the charity your Quidditch team had chosen. We’re doing hats for a cancer center. That smallest hat used about 70 yards of yarn, I’m guessing. Of my two competitors, one was knitting on an illusion baby blanket (with stars!) and the other was designing a cabled earflap hat. I’ve just seen both of them, and they are fantastic. (Especially that hat. I’m definitely going to donate money for the pattern!)

I also turned in my Herbology assignment today: the Spiderweb Tam. (The homework was to identify garden pests and helpers.) I wanted to keep naughty little Billywigs away from a bouquet of flowers I got from a friend for making sure her house wasn’t burning down. (Long story.)

Channeling spiders for this months Herbology assignment.

Channeling spiders for this month's Herbology assignment.

I’m very happy with it, although at the largest point the stitch count was a whopping 216. Yikes!

That’s all I’ve got for today.

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Books and yarn are my friends

Again I am remiss in posting. And I had such good intentions! Case in point: I’ve started a new book challenge for myself, called 52 books in 52 weeks. I had hoped to post about each book as I finish, though as you can see, that hasn’t happened. I started on August 9. My initial inspiration comes from Sassenach, whose posts I’ve been catching when she updates on Plurk.

I added a widget-y thing in the sidebar to show my bookshelf on GoodReads, where I’m keeping track. I’m actually ahead right now, which is something. I almost feel as though I shouldn’t include re-reads, but there are some books I really love to read: the entire Harry Potter series, anything Neil Gaiman, and The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (which I got hooked on in high school, and I don’t know why. It’s a fascinating book about ebola).

The morning light hit this lovely spider web on my porch just right.

The morning light hit this lovely spider web just right.

As far as knitting goes, the House Cup on Ravelry has opened for the fall term, which means I’ve been working on lots of assignments. I finished my first assignment, “something to keep someone warm” for Potions, two days ago. It’s a test knit of a pattern that should be coming out in the next week or two, called Witch Warmers. The full pattern includes armwarmers, legwarmers and a neckwarmer, the latter of which I submitted for class. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Otherwise, I’ve just gotten my hair cut today by a fantastic stylist. I walked in the door, and Dewey said, “I know exactly what you need.” And he did, and it’s an excellent cut. It’s not shaggy any more, it has shape, and it’s a bit on the sassy side. I was in such a good mood after that I bought new shoes at Chez Target next door: a pair of Mossimo Odell flats. (I only wish they’d had the bronze in my size, but it’s difficult to find size 11 for women sometimes.)

Good times.