Book Corner 2019.38


Still Life by Louise Penny

(Book Club selection)

Like science fiction, murder mysteries are a genre I rarely if ever read; so when I do, the novelty is very pleasant and I find myself thinking, “Why, this is so clever!” But the important thing for me is that the “genre-ness” not interfere with it being a well-written story. STILL LIFE is only occasionally cheesy; the gay characters were a little over-exaggerated, for example. I really wanted to get back to it every night, though; and no, I never did guess “whodunit.” ( )

As If I Can Do Anything But What I Always Do

VT Sheep & Wool is featuring the Shave ’em to Save ’em program this year, and their contests are geared towards rare breeds.  I’m ready to spin for the handspun yarn contest with my #5 project, Leicester Longwool.  Problem is the categories are “bulky single” or “medium plied yarn” or “fine plied yarn” (right out).  I do singles, but not really bulky.  So I could go either trying (and failing) to spin a lot thicker than usual, sticking with singles, or a bit finer and ply.  I didn’t enjoy trying to make bulky (ugly) so I’m going with option B.


From the Fiber Mill

Random white wool yarn Sara gave me to dye – came out really streaky.  Shave ’em to Save ’em Leicester Longwool roving out of the same dyebath.  I was aiming for a nice butterscotch color I’d gotten on the mohair recently.  I got yellow.


And I haven’t quit making my trademark one-of-a-kind 100% mohair color blends!


Book Corner 2019.37


Rose Wilder Lane: Her Story by Roger Lea MacBride

This is a “perfectly genuine fictional autobiography.” It was written not by Rose Wilder Lane, but by her protégée Roger Lea MacBride. It covers the period of Rose’s life beginning with her leaving Mansfield, Missouri for the west coast; through her stint as a telegraph operator; and her marriage to and divorce from Gillette Lane. Altogether it covers at least three years. It is factual that Rose did work as a telegraph operator in California, and that she married and divorced Lane. I am not sure anything else in the plot is true.

In particular, the figure of Paul Masters looms large – Paul is the boy who traveled south with his family in a wagon from Dakota to Missouri, along with the Wilders, when Rose and Paul were wee children. I am not sure that he grew up to be a genuine love interest of Rose at all; here they are informally engaged, indulging in passionate lovemaking several times. Paul appears constantly in her life out in California – I am not sure it is at all true, either, that he ever went West.

But what can I say – it’s a gripping yarn! I hardly wanted to put it down. MacBride writes a great little story… perhaps there is enough of Rose’s actual material here too, shining through enough to enamor me.

Oh, the cover has got to go, though – its illustration shows a behatted Rose and is obviously based on a famous photo of her, but in the background is a Conestoga wagon traversing an empty prairie. The Wilders were traveling in this style some 10 years or more before the book ever takes place. There are no prairies or covered wagons in the story. This isn’t LITTLE HOUSE, Garth Williams – or Garth Williams wanna-be, can’t tell. ( )

Book Corner 2019.36


In Praise of Difficult Women by Karen Karbo

I love juicy biographies, and this was 29 delicious bit-size pieces! They run the gamut; Karbo tries to show them all as being “difficult” in one way or another. Difficult, whatever – they were all interesting and awesome. And I learned things.

Josephine Baker – how did I know next to nothing about this woman? What an amazing life!

Rachel Maddow – OK I shouldn’t admit that I didn’t know Rachel Maddow was gay, but I need to express the weird disappointment I felt at learning that. I always admired how she rocked short hair and glasses. I thought she was a really cool straight woman who rocked short hair and glasses. But she’s lesbian. So the look kind of goes with the territory. I’m sure this should be embarrassing for me not only because of my ignorance but because it surely comes off as not very homo-friendly of me, but I don’t mean anything bad by it!

Eva Peron – I didn’t know much about her either. It was worth having an earworm in my head all of the next day to read about her.

Vita Sackville-West – another learning experience.

Janis Joplin – OK, nothing new for me to learn in that department! Just always fun to read anything about her.

I could go on. Couldn’t wait to get back to this book every night. ( )