Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday Snapshots - December 3, 2016

Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in.

This week I didn't get the early jump on the game that I did last week. On the other hand, I have some new-to-the-blog images I found hiding in my collection during the week to share. With any luck, I might just have some really new images for next week as I'm looking forward to getting out and doing some photography over the next couple of weeks.

Anyway, here's the first photo:


I'm not sure where I took it, or what kind of flower it was. I do know that I took it in July of 2012. I've done a little bit of post-processing with the Google Nik collection - I had discovered this week that it is free.

The second photo needed a bit more post processing to make it into something I liked.


I know a little bit more about this one though. It's from July 2014, and I took it while we were on Newcastle Island - a nearby provincial park. I like herons, but this photo ended up being too dark and distant when I took it. This result is after some rather severe work in Photoshop and Nik.

I have no idea what I'll be posting next week. I'd like for there to be some snowy photos - but that hinges on going snowshoeing this week.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Valdemar Challenge 2017

Image credits found at
http://endaewen.deviantart.com/art/Herald-and-Companion-499210107
Running from January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
I'm challenging people to have a go at one of my long-time favorite authors and worlds of books: Mercedes Lackey's world of Valdemar. It's one of my go-to worlds, with plenty of reading material and characters.

If you're a fan of fantasy and haven't given any of these books a try, 2017 is the year to do it! Magic - of varying flavors and styles, horses, and books that are great for everyone from young readers (some of them, anyway) on through to those young at heart. If you already know and love the series, this is the year for that big re-read!


There are several good entry-points to this series now, ranging from the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy (Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall) to the Collegium Chronicles, which starts with Foundation.

The Rules of the Challenge:
  1. Level One: 3-6 books.
  2. Level Two: 6-12 books.
  3. Level Three: All of the Valdemar books.
  4. Level Four: All of the Valdemar books, plus any two of the Valdemar anthologies.
  5. Bonus books: Any other Mercedes Lackey titles from her other series, including the Elemental Masters, Diana Tregarde, Five Hundred Kingdoms etc.
  6. Any reads for this challenge do count towards any other challenges you are participating in.
  7. To join up, just leave a comment here signing up, and, should you choose, comment with the links to your reviews of the books you've read.
  8. This is the most important rule of them all: Have fun!
The books I've read for this challenge:

    Monday, November 28, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - November 28th, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

    The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

     Last week I finally finished Diana Gabaldon's The Drums of Autumn!

    Drums of Autumn - Diana GabaldonDrums of Autumn
    Diana Gabaldon
    Dell Books
    Copyright: 1997
    978-0440224259

    The amazon.com product description:
    It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle.  There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave.  Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once buy twice.  Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child.  Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America.  But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century.  Their daughter Brianna...

    Now, Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown.  In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives.  But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...
    A snippet from my review:
    Diana Gabaldon's books are definitely oriented to the senses - and not always in a pleasant way. The characters and settings are anchored through all five senses, as I've noted in previous posts - for example my essay on food and drink. However, I was particularly noticing the use of the sense of smell in Drums of Autumn. Smells of food, woodsmoke, different times of day and weather, all were described.
    The Fiery Cross - Diana GabaldonI'm on to reading The Fiery Cross now, the next book in the series.

    The amazon.com product description:
    The dazzling fifth volume of Diana Gabaldon’s extraordinary Outlander saga, featuring 18th-century Scotsman James Fraser and his 20th-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall.

    The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

    Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

    Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....

    Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgettable, The Fiery Cross is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama.
    I'm currently only a hundred or so pages in so far, but enjoying the read a lot. As I noted with Drums of Autumn, its an interesting experience as I am rereading the book, but my original read was so long ago that while I remember a few scattered scenes, so far it's almost like reading the book for the first time, without really knowing the story ahead.

    I did read and review this book a few years ago, back in 2009.

    I think that The Fiery Cross is going to be taking up most of my reading time for the next few weeks, so I don't have any books on my "plan to read" list for now. If I end up picking something up, that will be a bonus.

    Saturday, November 26, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots - November 26, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:


    To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
    Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in.

    Technically, it's Saturday now, so I thought I'd post a bit early - at least for me. Not that I have anything new to share photography-wise. I haven't even managed to go nosing into my archive of photos for anything old-new!

    However, to try and counteract the rainy weather outside, I've found a Hawaiian sunset photo from my 2011 trip to share.


    And my second photo for the week is one that apparently dates back to 2008. I remember that I was playing around with using a flashlight for some extra light in a fairly dark room and quite liked the effect.


    Friday, November 25, 2016

    What Would You Recommend? - Biographies of the Royal Family

    I never thought I'd be posting from this series again! I no longer work in a bookstore, so I'm no longer hunting for recommendations for customers.

    However, the internet is still a very helpful resource. I'm asking for myself this time as I know that there are bound to be lots of books on the topic this time and I'm most definitely feeling a bit lazy (and buried in jobs over the next month).

    I've mentioned in a couple of different posts now (Netflix and Crafting comes to mind) that I've been watching the Netflix series The Crown. I'm only a few episodes in and I'm completely hooked! Anyway, while I'm fairly certain that the broad strokes of the show are accurate - given the likely hood of transcripts for speeches, and newspaper recordings for a lot of the events being portrayed - I'm rather curious to know how much of the show might have been slanted to increase the drama levels. As a result, I'm interested in finding some good biographies of the Royal Family - especially Queen Elizabeth.

    Until I started watching the show, I didn't realize how little of the time period I really know about. Now, of course, I want to learn a bit more. This always happens to me when I watch a historically-based movie or TV show.

    So, what biographies would you recommend?

    Thursday, November 24, 2016

    Drums of Autumn - Diana Gabaldon

    Drums of Autumn - Diana GabaldonDrums of Autumn
    Diana Gabaldon
    Dell Books
    Copyright: 1997
    978-0440224259

    The amazon.com product description:
    It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle.  There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave.  Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once buy twice.  Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child.  Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America.  But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century.  Their daughter Brianna...

    Now, Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown.  In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives.  But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...
    It's taken me a few weeks, but I've finished reading The Drums of Autumn, sequel to Voyager. I'm finding that as much as I've been enjoying Diana Gabaldon's books, they're still slow going - at least when I'm not picking them up all that often. I'm not surprised though - Drums of Autumn came in at a hefty 1170 pages in the mass market edition.

    One thing I have to say on this one. Even though I'd read the book before, I really felt like I was reading it for the first time, rather than re-reading it. It's been probably close to fifteen years I guess since my last read. While I remember a few of the events - specific scenes more like, I'd forgotten about 90% of the book.

    Diana Gabaldon's books are definitely oriented to the senses - and not always in a pleasant way. The characters and settings are anchored through all five senses, as I've noted in previous posts - for example my essay on food and drink. However, I was particularly noticing the use of the sense of smell in Drums of Autumn. Smells of food, woodsmoke, different times of day and weather, all were described.

    I know I'm talking more about the minor details of the book and less about the story as such, but by the time you hit book four - or more in a series, it gets harder and harder to talk about the plot and the characters without giving away spoilers for the previous books - especially when the story is so interconnected between the books.

    Anyway, there were two things that really caught my notice in this book. First of all were the four or five references to spinning and knitting through Drums of Autumn. I don't recall any through either Outlander or Dragonfly in Amber, and I'm fairly certain there weren't any in Voyager. As someone who likes yarncraft myself, I love seeing mentions of this necessary task in my historical fiction reading. I would actually have loved to see a bit more detail on the spinning - there is an off-hand mention of the use of a great wheel, but that is all.

    The second major thing I've noticed is something I've been thinking about a bit of late. I've been reading a few posts on disability and diversity in science fiction and fantasy recently. Now, Diana Gabaldon's books aren't exactly fantasy novels, but it made me think a bit. In terms of main or viewpoint characters there aren't a lot, but there are a fair number of secondary characters that are disabled in the series. Off the top of my head - blind characters (Jocasta Cameron for example), characters missing limbs (Fergus comes to mind first, but there are a number of others as well) etc.

    To go back to the story itself, the various separate threads of the last few books come back together to form one big thread and in general gather up speed, picking up the reader along with them. Brianna's story finally rejoins Claire's. Roger picks up his own independent story that loops back into the main story and more. What's more, I found myself caring more and more for each of these viewpoint characters as their stories grew and intertwined.

    Diana Gabaldon is a master at putting together a smaller scene that doesn't seem like all that much, but later on proves to be a very important part of the story. I can think of more than a few incidences of that happening in these books - sometimes even lasting between the different volumes of the story.

    I'm looking forward to picking up The Fiery Cross next and seeing how it holds up in comparison to my previous reads (and review).

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading - November 21, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

    The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

    Drums of Autumn - Diana GabaldonDrums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.

    The amazon.com product description:
    It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle.  There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave.  Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once buy twice.  Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child.  Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America.  But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century.  Their daughter Brianna...

    Now, Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown.  In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives.  But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...
    This week is going to be much the same as last week. I'm still working away at Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. When I'm actually reading the book, I'm loving it and don't want to put it down. It's just that I'm making it to the stage of picking the book up a lot less than I keep thinking I will. Still, I'm almost 800 pages in as of last night.

    Instead, as I noted yesterday in Netflix and Crafting, I find myself watching Netflix instead (usually Star Trek with my husband), although I've found myself firmly hooked on The Crown, and working on a crochet shawl or spinning. Or, cooking. Yesterday led to a load of orange slices in the dehydrator - we'll have to see how they turn out. I've never tried drying orange rings. Pineapple - yes! Oh Yes! Pineapple is my favorite fruit to dry. It's so much less expensive to do it yourself. Pears! Delicious! Apple - the mainstay of my fruit drying. I've even managed to dry some of my herbs. But that wasn't the only cooking I did yesterday. For the first time in about five years I dug out the muffin tins to make an old family favorite: Orange Date Muffins. Delicious!

    Progress on the shawl is coming along quite satisfactorily as well. Since I picked it up again, I've been averaging about two rows a day - and the rows are getting pretty long!


    I've also finally made it past the half-way point on the Eternal Lace Project (I think it's about two and a half years and counting). I've only got another 90 grams or so to go. Maybe another two years worth at my current pace. I can't wait to see how it plies up though, with a plan to chain-ply the whole thing so I can preserve the color changes.


    Anyway, to go back to reading (as that is the theme of this meme), should I get Drums of Autumn finished this week, I'm planning to pick up The Fiery Cross. Other than that, I'm contemplating picking up a shorter book to read as a change of pace if I get the time. A big "if" there, I have to admit. I'd really like to have a book review to post some time this week. Whether or not that will actually happen, I don't know.

    Sunday, November 20, 2016

    Netflix and Crafting

    Those blog posts you see about how Netflix is bad for your reading time? All true. All very, very true. We signed up for Netflix this past month - it was cheaper than buying the seasons of all the Star Trek shows - initially mostly for my husband. I did have hopes though that they might have Outlander - my current favorite T.V. show. No luck. That, among a number of other shows and movies I'd like to see are not a part of the Canadian version of Netflix currently. Didn't think I'd be using it that much... Most of the shows I watch I own on DVD or Blu-ray already.

    Then I started to go looking. They had the David Attenborough shows, even the ones I hadn't bought yet - though not the one about the Great Barrier Reef - for which I've only seen the final episode unfortunately. Downton Abbey. I've wanted to watch that one. And then I discovered The Crown. Firmly down the rabbit hole now, and my "to watch" list is growing. Mostly historical drama series and animal shows.

    Add to this that I've gotten back into crochet again after about a month of doing next to none. And the project of the day is the beaded shawl I've been working on for the last three or so years. The one I tend to refer to as "what the heck was I thinking" especially when I get to a beaded row.  I have to admit however, that I know exactly why I've picked up this project again. It's thanks to the Knitters Pride blocking mats I just bought. I want to have a project finished so I can try them out. I'm making some pretty good progress too - about four rows in the last week. I really do need to get some photographs taken to show it off.

    Up until now I've been using some of the bigger foam mats bought at Canadian Tire. They've worked well enough, but they're no fun to store. I think that right now, a couple of them are behind the basement sofa, one is in the furnace room and the final is hiding in the closet under the stairs. All of them though, are collecting dust, and are highly awkward to stash away.

    These new mats are smaller, and come in a neat carrying case - they're always going to be nice and clean and ready to use. No "where is the final mat hiding this time" issues to deal with any more. I do wonder though if the Knitters Pride mats will interlock with my older mats should I need to expand the area for a larger project. Any other knitters/crocheters have the answer?

    My final snark of the day on crafting concerns crochet hooks - and I'm not referring to the tiniest ones that got bent trying to open up an old family filing cabinet that was missing its' key (attempt failed by the way). No, those are still on my "to replace" list and the attempt can be filed under "unusual ways of using crochet hooks" of which I have a few stories.

    Instead I'm referring to the Addi Comfort Grips crochet hooks I'd been buying a few years ago. I've got something like four or five of them now, and over the last five years, all of the handles have cracked. I'll admit that I've not been overly careful with them - keeping them in traveling project bags for example, but I also don't think I've been all that rough with them either. Still, I most definitely expect better durability for the price I paid for each hook.

    I don't think they're worth what I've paid for them, and I'm fully intending to go back to using the Boye metal crochet hooks - which have never had a problem - unless I've been using them for non-crochet purposes like picking a rock out of a truck wheel mechanism. No, my plan as I finish each of the projects that uses one of these hooks is to retire it and take up any new projects with the Boye hooks again. They're nearly as comfortable to use and far less expensive, which is good as I prefer to keep the correct hook with each project I'm working on - thus I can have four or five of the most commonly used sizes.

    I'd love to know though what your favorite crochet hooks are - maybe I'll give them a try.

    At any rate, all of the above has been quite bad for my reading time - especially since I've now joined my husband in watching two to three episodes of Deep Space Nine in a day - from part way through season 5 and I'm now hooked for the most part. It makes for a good time to do some crocheting. Reading time? What reading time?

    I'm still claiming to be reading Drums of Autumn though, and am about a hundred pages farther in than I was last week.

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots - November 19, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:

    To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
    Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in.

    This week I have a new photo and an older photo to share. The new photo is one that I took at Cleveland Dam last week.

    I didn't have my good camera with me, so this was taken with my phone-camera. After that, I admit that I had fun with post-processing, giving the image a vintage look. Anyway the image is of the river just after the dam spillway.

    The second photo is an older photo that I found in my collection. I frequently enjoy going back through the photos I've taken and every now and again, I find one that perhaps I can use and had forgotten about.


     My husband is a shell collector, so I have a good supply of them to photograph. I just haven't done so all that often, but I found this one from a few years ago, although I don't know what kind of shell it is.

    I have no idea what I'm going to be posting next week - new or old.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? November 14th, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

    The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

    Over the last couple of weeks I haven't managed to finish reading any books, thus why I haven't posted for a couple. On the other hand, I haven't finished anything this week either. But I did get a fair bit read on the book I'm currently working on.

    I'm currently reading:
    Drums of Autumn - Diana GabaldonDrums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon.
    The amazon.com product description:
    It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle.  There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave.  Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once buy twice.  Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child.  Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America.  But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century.  Their daughter Brianna...

    Now, Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown.  In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives.  But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...
    I'm just over five hundred pages in now, and absolutely loving the read. However, I have to admit that I don't know if I'm going to get this one completed before next week. If I do though, I'm thinking that the next book I'm planning to read will be The Fiery Cross. That's as far as I got in reading my way through the series last time, even thought I've gotten copies of all the rest as they came out. But not any of the Lord John books. Those ones I just haven't been able to get into.

    Saturday, November 12, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots - Nov. 12 2016

    Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:
    To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
    Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in.

    Anyway, my first photo for this week is a new one:
    As with most of my other mushroom photos, I took this one at Rathrevor Beach. What makes it different from the other photos I took was the time of day. I took this one just as it was starting to get dark, so I began playing with using the flashlight feature on my phone to give some extra light. It worked well enough that the camera could use a reasonable shutter speed and maintain the focus. Definitely a trick I'm going to try to remember for the future. The only thing that got a bit tricky with this is only having one hand for the camera because I needed one hand for the flashlight. I probably looked pretty hilarious - kneeling on the ground with camera and flashlight, but I think that it's worth doing.

    Here I've gone way, way back in time. According to the image details, this one was taken eight years ago, back in 2008!


    Wednesday, November 9, 2016

    US Election

    You know, in the eight years I've been posting to All Booked Up, I never thought I'd be writing a political post, and especially not one for a country other than my own. Nonetheless, even though the US Election may be considered to be "none of my business", I'd like to have my say.

    My hope for after the US election, no matter which side won, was for a return to civility and rational discussion. Maybe that's what's going to happen. I have to admit that so far today, I've avoided the majority of news sites/articles/TV/radio coverage. However, what I have seen online doesn't fill me with hope - at least in terms of comments. News articles themselves, yes.

    Maybe I'm looking back for something that never existed and the name-calling, insults, slurs and other verbal attacks littering the comment sections over the last year or so have always been there. Not just in the US either. I don't even want to think about the comment threads I've seen on CBC articles.

    It's very possible that I'm just more aware of it due to the news coverage on the tone of the election campaign. There certainly was a lot of that.

    Was it never possible for people to disagree based on facts? Discuss and debate a topic and actually increase each others' understanding of it by the end of the conversation? If not manage to come to a mutually pleasing solution?

    Maybe it's too soon after the election and feelings are still running high.

    I sincerely pray that the insults and name-calling I've seen so much of over the last year - from both sides of the spectrum and both sides of the border will decrease and civility return even partially.

    It's honestly reached a point where on most sites I can't find anything but personal attacks against the other commenters and the news source. Certainly no substantial opinions on the article itself. Maybe those comments are there too, but they're generally so buried that I can't find them before I'm completely frustrated by all the hatred and insults.

    That's what I want to see go away. The hatred, name-calling and insults. Even my facebook feed (I'm not including any of the linked news articles here - they're covered in the previous paragraph) on individual friends posts I've been seeing these kinds of remarks in the comment sections. And then there are the various photographic memes, some of which have a very hurtful aspect to them. Under the humor, so many of these memes circulating are in my mind promoting hatred.

    Maybe seeing so much of these comments is my fault for daring to venture into the comment sections of any media source: Facebook, articles, blogs etc. Maybe I should just avoid the comments altogether. After all, it seems as though I'm just punishing myself by daring to look and read.

    But then should I also avoid my TV so as to not see the attack ads constantly being run? And here, I should note that my tolerance was already thin thanks to last year's Canadian election attack ads. It seems in the last decade that politics has shifted from debating/attacking policy to attacking people. That is what I want to see ended! Enough already!

    Where has the civility gone? the focus on substance over show? Or were these things never actually a part of politics and debate? Either way, the attacks seem to have spread beyond the realms of politics, at least on the internet and show up on any issue and most articles where comments are enabled.

    This is what has disappointed me the most over the last two years.

    Saturday, November 5, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots - Nov. 5th

    Hosted each week over at West Metro Mommy Reads, this is what Saturday Snapshots is all about:

    To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

    Again I'm dipping into my past photos a bit this week. I have some new ones on the camera still, but haven't had time to look at them yet. Maybe next week or the week after when I'm finished my current projects.

    I can't remember if I've posted these to All Booked Up already or not.

    Anyway, the first one is "Meteor Shower", and if you look closely enough, you'll see a couple of meteor streaks.






    The second - chosen randomly from my DeviantArt gallery is of some spun and unspun fiber from about four years ago.


    Saturday, October 29, 2016

    Saturday Snapshots - October 29th, 2016

    Hosted each week over at West Metro Mommy Reads, this is what Saturday Snapshots is all about:

    To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

    I'm dipping into the collection of photos I've taken and posted over on DeviantArt this week. There's nothing newer than the photos already posted on All Booked Up, so I'm looking into the older photos now.

    Between the weather and work, I just haven't had a chance to take the camera out in the last week or so.

    Which leaves me with these two:

    A Cabbage White butterfly which seemed to like the new rock gardens we installed in the front last year. It was certainly obliging enough for photography.

    I'm not certain what the flower type is, but I was having fun trying some different angles.


    Monday, October 24, 2016

    It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - October 24, 2016

    Well! I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this meme is still going strong. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

    The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

    Anyway, last week I read or at least finished two books:

    Voyager (Outlander 3) - Diana GabaldonThe first was Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.

    The amazon.com product description:
    From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.

    Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

    Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love.
    An excerpt from my review:
    Detailed and at times a bit gruesome, Voyager grabs you by all your senses and sweeps you along in unexpected directions. This was a bit of a transition book, closing off the Culloden storyline which filled the previous two books and carrying the characters into new adventures, as well as introducing us to new characters along with the return of some unexpected characters from the previous books. There are also some new hints as to how time travel and the stones work.

    Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth - Donato GiancolaThe other book I read last week was  Donato Giancola's Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth.

    The amazon.com product description:
    From the brush of Donato Giancola, one of the world's most recognized and lauded fantasy artists, comes a book filled with new illustrations that apply his legendary Renaissance craftsmanship to J. R. R. Tolkien's fantastic Middle-Earth. Dramatic lighting and deft draftsmanship reminiscent of master painters like Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Vermeer explain Donato's popularity with millions of fans, as well as the numerous Hugo and Chesley Awards he has received. This long-awaited, moving, and beautiful voyage through Middle-Earth — a must-have for eager genre readers everywhere — offers a refreshingly new exploration of literature's most beloved fantasy realm. From Helm's Deep to Mount Doom, Donato takes readers on a colorful tour filled with warriors, wizards, dragons, and dwarfs. Throughout he exhibits his astonishing technical virtuosity with every scene he brings to life, while also demonstrating the delight and wonder familiar to all true devotees of Middle-Earth.
    An excerpt from my review:
    Interestingly, I found on going through his book that my favorite style of image are the pencil crayon and chalk illustrations on toned paper. They remind me of both the Degas sketches I've seen and also of an exhibit I once saw of Leonardo Da Vinci's sketches. Ever since then, I've been rather partial to that style of art.
    This was a very quick book for straight reading - I picked it out for a few reasons, including just that. Other reasons included wanting a real change of pace from solid novels and also wanting to capitalize on the flurry of Tolkien-related items going out on social media thanks to the upcoming new books. Regardless of my reasons for actually reading this book (which had been sitting on my TBR lists for the last five years, I'm really glad that I did.

    The books that I'm currently reading are:

    Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

    The amazon.com product description:
    It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle.  There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past--or the grave.  Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once buy twice.  Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend--a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child.  Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America.  But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century.  Their daughter Brianna...

    Now, Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown.  In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives.  But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...
    This is the sequel to Voyager, which I finished reading last week. I have to admit that I have no idea of how long it's going to take me to finish reading this one, but I'm looking forward to the journey.

    The second book I'm currently reading is one that again has been on my TBR list for a couple of years now. However, despite the fact that I'm finding it to be absolutely fascinating reading, I'm thinking that it may get put down yet again so I can focus on Drums of Autumn.

    There and Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins of The HobbitThere And Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Origins Of The Hobbit by Mark Atherton

    The amazon.com product description:
    *Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.* The prophetic words of Galadriel, addressed to Frodo as he prepared to travel from Lothl√≥rien to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, are just as pertinent to J.R.R. Tolkien’s own fiction. For decades, hobbits and the other fantastical creatures of Middle-earth have captured the imaginations of a fiercely loyal tribe of readers, all enhanced by the immense success of Peter Jackson’s films: first The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now his newest movie, The Hobbit. But for all Tolkien’s global fame and the familiarity of modern culture with Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, and Sam, the sources of the great mythmaker’s own myth-making have been neglected.
    Mark Atherton here explores the chief influences on Tolkien’s work: his boyhood in the West Midlands; the landscapes and seascapes which shaped his mythologies; his experiences in World War I; his interest in Scandinavian myth; his friendships, especially with the other Oxford-based Inklings; and the relevance of his themes, especially ecological ones, to the present day.
    I'm only part-way through the first chapter and finding this to be fascinating going. So far, the author has been comparing The Hobbit and Roverandom to each other and also to other children's literature of the time.Then there are the extra details on things I'd already been somewhat familiar with: that the names of the Dwarves of The Hobbit came from Scandinavian literature, but I hadn't known that those names had meanings, or what the meanings were.

    Honestly, this is a book where I feel like I need to have a notepad and pencil out - and a lot of quiet time to absorb what I'm reading.

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