Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bryson for my Birthday!

My 43rd Birthday came and went this week and it was rather a subdued affair in and of itself.  Just a regular day homeschooling the girls, cleaning house and working on my Nanowrimo noveling project.  I did have a Shakespeare Festival Board Meeting in the evening, so I wasn't a hermit the whole day and I was cheered at regular intervals during the day by numerous Facebook well wishers and that made the day sweet too.  Of course, I did have to start the day by pumping my septic tank (yes, a truly crappy way to start a birthday), so the day had to get better from there.  I do harken back to my 20s though, when birthdays meant travel and revelry with friends.  This year ended up with more Ravelry than revelry though because, despite being bogged down in tons of Christmas knitting, by the end of the day, I'd decided I could at least commemorate another year with a birthday sock.

My favorite colors are the colors outside my window right now:  fall in all its glorious green, orange, red, brown and purple glory.  I somehow lost the tag from this gorgeous ball of sock yarn, having set out to knit these eons ago.  Things got in the way, so although I'd prepared the skein in a ball, the knitting never happened and origins of this beauty are lost forever.  Still, this little colorway was calling to me when I went through my sock yarn stash in search of the perfect yarn to knit a pattern called "Embossed Leaves" by Mona Schmidt.  The Ravelry pattern is here and I've included a picture of the finished product from her book below.  This will give you at least a vague notion of what the project will eventually look like.

If I could only ever knit one type of project, socks would definitely be my choice.  They're cozy, extremely portable and utilitarian to boot.  They can be lovely and delicate or hardy and protective.  What's not to like?

So, the birthday ended up being a pretty big yawn, but socks got on the needles and noveling was accomplished.  The big highlight of the day though was that Bill Bryson's new book Seeing Further:  The Story of Science, Discovery and the Genius of the Royal Society was released that day.  Sure, Mr. Bryson likely didn't intend the his publication date of Nov. 2nd as any sort of tribute to me, but it thrilled me nonetheless.  I could never be accused of being any sort of rock band groupie, but if authors could have groupies (do they?) I'd have Bill Bryson at the top of my list.  I've even begun planning his next writing project, as detailed in this previous post.  Could that be considered literary stalking?

Bill Bryson can take the driest, most moldering bit of old trivia and make it astonishingly interesting and exciting, so even though a book about the Royal Society may not be in your top ten list of topics to learn more about, rely on good old Bill to make it worth your while.  If you haven't read A Short History of Nearly Everything you must run, (yes, RUN, don't walk) to your nearest book store or library to do so.  Go on, I'll wait.....   Back?  Trust me it was worth the trip; he's that good.  You'll find yourself fascinated by the very science and history that used to put you to sleep in your general ed classes.  His scientific and historical inquiries of late are a change of pace from his original travel writings, though I adore those too (especially In a Sunburned Country, I'm A Stranger Here Myself and Neither Here Nor There).  But, he can bring his charm to any topic, even his own house.  If you never thought you could read over 500 pages about somebody's house, take a look at his other recent release here.  If you just want to laugh yourself silly, spend an evening with A Walk in the Woods, but I'll warn you (and I'm serious here) go to the bathroom first.

Bryson's versatility awes me.  He's as good with fiction as he is with Shakespeare.  And at this point, if you're wondering... NO I haven't been hired by his publicist to write this post.  I just really, really like his stuff.  So, having Seeing Further to hunker down with on my birthday was fabulous (yes, I'd preordered it from Amazon so that it would arrive on my door the day of publication, just like a crazed Harry Potter addict).  So, give me some time -- it's quite the tome -- and I'll be back with an official review.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, you've convinced me... We have seeing further at home (picked it up in London earlier this year) and my husband's read it but I haven't yet. But I loved At Home, so clearly I need to read lots more of his work.