Book #18 “After the Fire” by Henning Mankell

A friend lent me this book, the cover told me it was a thriller, but other than that I had no expectations. It engaged me from the beginning. The characters seemed like real people and the story was told in the voice of the main character, a 70 year old retired doctor living a solitary life on an island in a Swedish archipelago. I wanted to know what would happen after the fire which was the opening scene of the book.

I am certainly wanting to read more by this author

Book #17 “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante

“My Brilliant Friend” is a book that I have heard people mention as a favourite book. A friend lent me this, and I think he had got this copy from a charity shop.

The book has a plot and well rounded characters, and it is most beautifully written. However I didn’t find it engaging, having put it down I didn’t feel an urge to go back to it. I finished it by skim reading to reach the end, except it wasn’t the end as this was book one of a quartet. I do not think I will read the other three, but if they come on TV I might watch them.

Book #16 “The Complete Machine Quilting Manual” by Joanie Poole

My sewing machine has lots of features for quilting and I have only used a few of them. SO I thought this book would inspire me to try a more of them.

I had to read the book twice as there was a lot of background information in the first half, some of which didn’t have any context until later on. I have tried a few of the techniques on sample squares, and have renewed my loan of this library book to try some more.

Book #15 “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

This is a book about a 10 year old boy, and the target audience is children, but it makes a great read for adults as well.

The book is told in a number of voices, as Auggie moves from home schooling to joining a main stream US school. Auggie has a facial deformity which he does not describe but says “Whatever you are thinking it’s probably worse”.

I really enjoyed this book.

Book #14 “200 Fun Things to Crochet” edited by Victoria Lyle

The full title of this book is “200 fun things to crochet : decorative flowers, leaves, bugs, butterflies and more!” it is a collection of patterns by different authors. I borrowed this copy from the library.

All the makes are short and can be finished quickly. I doubt anyone would make all 200 items, but I was looking for flower patterns and there were lots in the book and I made some of them multiple times in an evening. I think the book would be an ideal gift for someone who enjoys crochet.

Book #13 Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson

I have read several books by Kate Atkinson. “Human Croquet” was her second book, written after “Behind the Scenes at the Museum”, which was her first boat I read and I still remember details of the plot. There were many similarities between “Human Croquet” and her other books, there are some overlaps of characters, and her style is similar across her books.

I found “Human Croquet” slow at first, before it became gripping. The plot is complex, with different threads of the plot, and twists that confuse. All in all a very good book.

Book #12 Knit and Crochet Garden by Arne & Carlos

As part of a crochet project I am making flowers – that can be worn as brooches. I had found some patterns on the Internet, but thought it may be easier with a book, so I had a search of the local library catalogue and found there was two suitably titled books in stock locally. “Knit and Crochet Garden” by Arne & Carlos was one of these.

The projects are all pictured around their beautiful cottage garden in Norway. The projects are not mostly knitting, with some crochet, there is also embroidery and cross stitch. The book was easy to skim read with beautiful pictures, quotes, a bit of background information and patterns. The patterns range from a toy mouse with a full wardrobe to blankets that can be turned into tepee covers.

I wasn’t really inspired by any of the projects, but I did enjoy looking at the pictures.