Monthly Archives: January 2009

Read, Knit, Bake, repeat

Instead of setting up New Year’s Resolutions this year, I gave myself 3 New Year’s Challenges.

1. Bake something new each month.

2. Finish a knit/crochet project each month

3. Read all the books in my designated reading challenges.

Well, I haven’t quite figured out how to divide my time fairly between the three areas, as well as family, friends and work.

Unfortunately, my reading has taken a slight step to the wayside as I’ve been baking and knitting like a demon this past month. I did manage to finish 4 books (albeit I started one in December).

You may see my reviewing more cookbooks and craft books this coming year. I teach a knitting/crochet class at the library on Saturdays, so I’m always brushing up on new techniques and good books for beginners to learn from.

This book I am particularly fond of picking through this month.

31 Chunky-Chic Designs Twinkle’s Big City Knits by Wenlan Chia. My main attraction to this book is that a large number of Chia’s knits are produced and sold in Anthropologie stores!

I’ll be posting a couple reviews for 2 mystery books next week, Club Dead by Charlaine Harris and On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle. Both very good, fun and quick reads! Mystery books are so addicting!

Moon News

Tuesday was my six year anniversary with my boyfriend. To celebrate, we decided to head up to Half Moon Bay and explore. I haven’t been up there since high school, and he’s never been there, so it felt like a first time visit for the both of us.

The main strip is very, very tiny, all of 4 blocks. Its a very cozy and secluded little city, with one of the most scenic routes with which to gain entrance. On Main Street, we found not 1, not even 2, but 3 independent bookstores all within a 2 block distance.

Moon News was the winner, since 1 bookstore was closed and the other didn’t have as good of a selection.

It has a great selection. It was my first introduction to a number of the titles on the shelves, and belive me, I took extensive notes on titles to follow up with. There is also a fantastic and cozy reading area pictured below the post. The sad part is that the bookstore is selling itself. Its the second bookstore I’ve seen go on sale in the Bay Area. Willow Glen Books in San Jose and now Moon News. =( I’m very bummed. Then again, my shopping via Amazon is not helping out the local bookstores one bit.

Please go visit Moon News if you’re in the Bay Area before its gone. I only discovered it a few days ago, and I already wish I knew about it earlier. Quality bookstores are slowly creeping up on the endangered species list.

Reading area at Moon News

And the Other Award goes to…

In addition to the 15+ awards presented in my last post, YALSA (Young Adult Library Service Association) also posted their 2009 Alex Awards.

The Alex Awards were created to recognize that many teens enjoy and often prefer books written for adults, and to assist librarians in recommending adult books that appeal to teens. The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, fondly called “Alex” by her closest friends, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults, who worked at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. She used adult books extensively with young adults to broaden their experience and enrich their understanding of themselves and their world.


Those titles are can also be found behind the link.

Continue reading

And the award goes to…

ALA recently released the winners of all the 2008 awards for teen and juvenile Fiction and Nonfiction materials.

I’m happy to say that Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book made it for the Newbery Award.

The rest of the awards and their winners are behind the link.

Continue reading

Cowboy Boot Booties

I can’t help myself. I’m so proud of these cute little baby booties I knit. I only have one foot done so far, but its absolutely fun to knit (slightly complex pattern though). I hate it when knitting patterns are written in paragraph form instead of bullet form. Bullets are so much easier to read.

I came across this pattern by complete accident. My local library was giving away a few old magazines/booklets about knitting and baby project knitting. These little boots were in one of them!

Cowbow Boot Booties by you.

Storybook Fashions

This is an awesome post from Blaze Danielle that should amuse the storybook fans and fashionistas in all of us. She creatively took classic storybooks (The Secret Garden, etc) and created very adorable and chic outfits based on the characters. I love it!

You can check out her creations here.

This one is my personal favorite


{Coat-Forever21, Dress-Mod Cloth, Shoes-Target, Gloves-Target}


Just a reminder that Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo goes on sale today. Make you stop by your local bookstore and take a peak at this fantastic read!

You can read my review of the book here

Blonde Roots Blonde Roots

by Bernardine Evaristo

Publication Date: January 22nd, 2009

Is Neil Gaiman your cup of cup of novelty coffee?

My three favorite things: Neil Gaiman, coffee and funny article headings. Why two “cup of”s I wonder? Extra emphasis perhaps. Here is a fun article by the Guardian Books Blog reviewing a fun bookshop/coffee store with novelty coffees.

Is Neil Gaiman your cup of cup of novelty coffee?

Ahdaf Soueif pours tea while visiting a house in the West Bank

One image or two? … Ahdaf Soueif pours steaming hot glasses of Amos Oz while visiting a house in the West Bank. Photograph: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Gaiman is less sensible compared to Pamuk” – it could only be a fragment from the age of the internet. But this isn’t a shard of incisive literary criticism, it’s a restaurant review, or something like it.

It’s a post from Tita Larasati about a trip she took last week to the Reading Lights bookshop and coffee corner in (appropriately enough) West Java. According to the picture she’s uploaded of the cafe menu, the Neil Gaiman is an “ice black coffee, fresh milk, peanut butter, hazelnut syrup, cinnamon & cold froth”, while Orhan Pamuk is a “hot cappuccino with a special mix of kapulaga” (cardamon to you and I).

Now I have a problem with novelty coffee at the best of times, quite apart from the suggestion of stirring peanut butter into any kind of fluid which is clearly not “sensible” at all. But the fact that the Pamuk – cappuccino? cardamon? – seems just wrong to me raised the question of what kind of coffee, or indeed, what kind of foodstuff would be just right.

I’ve got Pamuk down as a rigorous formalist, firmly rooted in Middle Eastern culture, but engaging with it using all the tools provided by Borges, Calvino and Joyce. So how about a nicely laid out plate of zaletti? Or maybe that’s a little too literal. How about a bar of Kendal mint cake?

All of which got me thinking. Samuel Beckett might well suggest a glass of eau de vie, or Herman Melville a bowl of Boston baked beans, but what about Shakespeare? What about Proust? (And nobody say “madeleines”.)

Maybe some authors could only be captured by a dish and accompaniments, or even a whole meal. What would you say to Salman Rushdie as an eat-all-you-can buffet in an upmarket Indian restaurant? Or Honoré de Balzac as a grand aioli? But I’m sure you literary Heston Blumenthals can do a whole heap better. Over to you.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Review

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Release Date: January 27th, 2009

A NovelFirst Line: Old Henry Lee stood transfixed by all the commotion at the Panama Hotel.


What caught my interest about this book is that it covers an area of US history that is often neglected in high schools. The story of what happened to Japanese Americans living in the United States during World War 2.

The story is based on true events. In 1986, the Panama Hotel uncovered hundred of materials that had been boarded up and forgotten in the basement. When the US military began evacuating Japenese Americans and moving them into the internment camps, many family stored their most valuable possessions in the basements of churches, hotels, etc. with hopes of returning one day to reclaim their belongings.

The story opens on the day when this great historical find is discovered and boxes are being brought out of the hotel basement.

The main character Henry Lee is witness to these events, and the sight of a small parasol leads him into a trip to his past, of growing up Chinese in Seattle in 1942. The chapters jump back and forth between 1942 and 1986. From the chapters of Henry’s past, we learn about his struggles with racism, with bullies at his “all-white” school and trying to understand his parents who force him to “speak his American” and no longer speak Chinese. During those trips to the past, we understand the relevance of the small parasol the day Keiko is introduced into the storyline. She is a Japanese American, working the lunch time cafeteria shift with Henry as part of their scholorship to attend the private school. The chapters follow the lives of Henry and Keiko as they try to make sense of the climate of animosity, tension and hatred all because of a person’s nationality and heritage.

The book is beautifully written, and I felt transported to 1942 Seattle walking with Henry and Keiko, living their adventures with them. I finished the book in only a couple of days, I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. My only complaint about the book is that the ending seemed to wrap up a little too neatly and didn’t really fit with the flow of the rest of the story. I did enjoy seeing the parallels between the families in the family. The relationship between Henry and his father, Henry and his son, Marty. The story discusses a very important part of US history that I think recieved only a footnote mention in my high school. It is something the US should be ashamed of and make amends for. I’m glad there is a book like this out there to shed light on this part of our history and in a way that is real and unbiased.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
Ballantine Books, Jan. 27th, 2009
ISBN 0345505330
285 pages


Find this book at your local library

Buy this book from Amazon

How to Keep a Healthy Level of Insanity

1. Page yourself over the intercom. (Don’t disguise your voice.)
2. At lunch time, sit in your parked car w/sunglasses on and point a hairdryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask him or her if they want fries with that.
4. Put your garbage can on your desk. Label it “IN.”
5. Develop an unnatural fear of staplers.
6. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addiction, switch to espresso.
7. Send e-mail to the rest of the company to tell them what you’re doing. For example, “If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the bathroom, in Stall # 3.”
8. Finish all your sentences with “in accordance with the prophecy.”
9. In the memo field of all your checks, write ‘for diamond smuggling’.
10. Dont use any punctuation
11. Use, too…much; punctuation!
12. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
13. Specify that your drive-through order is ‘to go’.
14. Sing along at the opera.
15. Call the psychic hotline and don’t say anything.
16. Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don’t rhyme.
17. Have your coworkers address you by your wrestling name, “Rock Hard.”
18. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream “I Won!”, “I Won!” “3rd time this week!!!”
19. When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot, yelling “Run for your lives, they’re loose!”
20. Tell your children over dinner. “Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go.”