Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H.G.Wells

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth by H.G.Wells

Scientists Bensington and Redford team up to create a wonder growth formula. First they give it to chicks-just to see what happens-at an experimental farm in the English countryside. The chicks soon grow to gigantic size.

The experimental farm however is a bit of a hap-dash thing-they simply hire an old couple (Mr. and Mrs. Skinner) to feed the chicks with the wonder powder. The Food of course ends up feeding much more than the intended chicks and soon huge wasps, weeds and even rats are causing havoc in neighboring towns.

Scientist Redford decides to give the food to his newborn son… what was he thinking! Mrs. Skinner leaves the farm in a hurry because of fear of the rats but not without taking two cans of the food with her…what for? Well, to give to her newborn grandson, of course. You can see where this is going…

This 1904 satiric novel is very funny at times-I laughed out loud- and while not as well known as other H.G. Wells books, has been mined by popular culture for many hilarious/horror movies. In 1976 a not very good movie by the same name, Food of the Gods, takes off from the early chapters of the book. And who can forget those two classics, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes 2”-which starred a very young George Clooney? My favorite is the wonderful 50s movie “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and my favorite scene is her looming over the screen at the drive-in.

This book was also published as a comic book (graphic novel)… I used the cover of the comic book for this post’s pix.

If you’re in the mood for a good chuckle and quite a bit of adventure you can download this free audio book here or the e-book in pdf. or kindle here. The audiobook was read by Alex C. Telander at a furious pace that while annoying at first grew to seem totally appropriate for this harebrained tale.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I've got Jane Fever

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends, lots of good food and as hosts-gifts. :) Debby from the Quilt Center (our LQS) brought me this beautiful yard of Kaffe Fassett fabric-my very first. Now what will I do with it? Something bright and cheerful for sure. Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely too!I've been hit with Jane fever...it took a while but I'm deep in it now. Here are the latest blocks I've done.

I started about six months ago but was so slow to get anything done that I didn't want to "go public". I'm jumping around the quilt so I've organized the blocks I've done in cellophane zip lock bags (I'm hoping they won't get a smell like fabric does in regular plastic bags) and punched holes and put them into a looseleaf notebook.
That's bag A on the left and bag B and all the others (including empty ones) on the right. I like that I can slip new blocks into the right bag without moving anything...I think I'm more excited that I thought of this than of anything!

With inspiration from blogging friends (check out Karen's blog-she's working on the triangles for the border for her red and white Jane-her second!) I'm sure I'll finish-and I'll use up lots of reproduction fabric scraps too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

From Plotzk to Boston by Mary Antin

This memoir of her trip from her homeland to America was written when Mary Antin was but eleven years old. It was originally written in Yiddish and translated by her two years later into English. For anyone with a 19th century immigrant family history, this memoir is an invaluable peek into what our ancestors trip may have been like.

She tells of packing up their home, saying good bye to all their friends and embarking on the first leg of their journey- a ride to the larger town nearby with a railroad. From there it’s to the German border where they are held up because of an outbreak of cholera in Poland and the fear that the travelers may be ill. More train rides, more hold ups, and always more demands for money.

Finally, they’re aboard ship and sea sick! 17 days later they enter Boston harbor and the joy they feel as they spot their husband and father on the wharf waiting for them is wonderful.

The charm and pathos of this immigrant’s tale is in the details and her youthful way of looking at the world…all the new things to see as well as all of the uncertainty.

Pleasantly read by Sue Anderson, you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

My father immigrated to the US from Riga, Latvia at age 8. I was always delighted with his tales of the trip as a child. His family traveled second class on their journey so they had their own stateroom and a proper dining room but from what he said he was the only one in the family eating…in fact, for the first week he and another child were the only people in the dining room at all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I've been quilting

I've been busy with classes but I have done some machine quilting on the Drunkard's Path...I'm still working on the white areas and then I want to go back and add something in the yellow-I'm thinking of a diamond grid-the parallel lines are just too "straight" but I'm not sure yet. Its a lot of fun doing the free triple circle "flowers" in the white but they do take a lot of time and a lot of thread-I can't believe all the bobbins I've made!I've also been hand quilting on the Double Wedding Ring...I think I'm about half way now. I took this pix at night but I think you can see that I've quilted in my name-using a 30s style printing. (The color is a little yellow but with the flash it was totally washed out.)
Isn't this just a gorgeous feedsack? The friend that gave me this one, the next one and others that I used in the DWR is here visiting and will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner! We'll be about 14 this year-American friends from all over Israel-its really a lot of fun and a lot of good food.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve

The Old English Baron is a light historical romance novel set in England in the time of Edward VI (which means lots of castles and even a joust).

Edmund, a local boy of the village, has been taken into the household of good Lord Baron Fitz-Owen and raised with his sons and cousins. One day a knight from the north, Sir Philip Harclay comes to visit-he has just retired from the wars and returned to England and wishes to find his old friend, Lord Lovel. He’s told that Lord Lovel died about 15 years earlier and his pregnant wife died just weeks after and that his heir, his cousin, sold the castle to his brother-in law, Lord Fitz-Owen. He is received by Baron Fitz-Owen and there meets young Edmund and struck by the boy’s demeanor and his likeness to his old friend, offers to adopt him. Edmund asks to remain where he is, with Baron Fitz-Owen and Sir Harclay states that nevertheless he will always be a friend to Edmund.

Have you noticed already the clue? Edmund looks likes the original Lord Lovel…yes, this is a tale of uncovering the true identity of Edmund with, since the author calls this a Gothic tale, the help of the ghosts of the dear departed.

This book was published in 1778 but it is so very modern in tone and style that if I hadn’t Googled to find the date of publication- I never would have guessed. The author, Clara Reeve, talks about the influence of the Castle of Otranto (you can read my review of this very first Gothic novel here) on her.

Pleasantly read by MaryAnne Spiegel, read my favorite way with no character voices just in a pleasant voice throughout, this is a very satisfying light entertainment. You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Tuesdays Tomes is a weekly book review of mainly vintage books.

The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart

There’s a master criminal about…he’s burgled and murdered with impunity. No one can catch him. Detective Anderson wants a chance but his police supervisor is reluctant to let him having already lost another fine young detective to the chase- Detective Wentworth was found gunned down with a paper bat pinned to his chest where his badge should have been.

Aristocratic and adventurous Miss Cornelia Van Gorder has just rented a country house in the suburbs right in the neighborhood where The Bat is now working. She thought it was so fortuitous-just when she decided she wanted to leave the city for a while, this house became available through the sudden death of the owner, Mr. Courtleigh Fleming of the Union Bank. With her niece Dale and her long time servant Lizzy, they have just settled in when suddenly all the servants, excepting the Japanese butler quit and a threatening letter arrives. “If you stay in this house any longer—DEATH. Go back to the city at once and save your life.” But Miss Van Gorder won’t leave!

This country house mystery romp is just chock full of interesting characters with several of them having hidden identities just to add to the fun!

Mary Roberts Rinehart is often called “the American Agatha Christie”. Her first mystery, The Circular Staircase (available here at Librivox –its good but because it has multiple readers I will not be reviewing it on Tuesdays Tomes) was published in 1906. Her last book The Frightened Wife was published in 1953.

In 1920, The Bat first appeared as a play (written with Avery Hopwood) and was immediately acclaimed on Broadway. In 1926, the prose The Bat was published. It is said that it inspired Bob Kane to create Batman! In 1933 RCA Victor brought out The Bat as a recording-one of the first audio books! It was made into movies in 1926, 1930 and 1957 with Vincent Price (but of course!).

You can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Embroidery Mystery Quilt

Have I mentioned that I lead the Redwork Club at our LQS? To start the Fall off right, we're working on a mystery quilt and I'm, of course, making it right along with everyone else. These are the fabrics that I've chosen...these would have been perfect for last year's Black and White Challenge. They're all from my stash though the one on the left is a recent addition.
The embroidery theme is baskets...
and flowers. How do you like my black embroidery? I love it...I wanted to work in one color floss embroidery-it is so much quicker-and I've been thinking about black embroidery ever since the B & W Challenge and a quilt that I didn't make! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesdays Tomes: Mary Cary: Frequently Martha by Kate Langley Bosher

Tuesday Tomes is a weekly review of mainly vintage books.

Mary Cary: Frequently Martha by Kate Langley Bosher

“My name is Mary Cary. I live in the Yorkburg Female Orphan Asylum. You may think nothing happens in an Orphan Asylum. It does….Today I was kept in. Yesterday, too. I don’t mind, for I would rather watch the lightening up here than be down in the basement with the others. There are days when I love thunder and lightening. I can’t flash and crash, being just Mary Cary; but I’d like to, and when its done for me it’s a relief to my feelings.”

That’s how we (and her new diary) meet this delightful girl: Mary Cary. This entire wonderful book is told in the first person by Mary to her diary.

Why was she kept in…well, Mr. Gaffney came to talk to the girls “for the good of their characters” and he told them that they had much to be thankful for and should be thankful for everything. And they should stand up to show that they understood and were thankful. Mary just couldn’t stand up. “I’m not thankful for everything…Can you be thankful for toothache, or stomache, or any kind of ache. You cannot. And not meant to be either.”

That’s Mary-truthful and insightful! You will just love her simple adventures and her heartwarming way of looking at the world.

This 1910 novel quickly sold over 100,000 copies-quite a bestseller in its day. Kate Langley Brosher peoples Mary Cary:Frequently Martha with a wonderful collection of personalities…from the lovely, kind Miss Catherine to the hypocrite Headmistress of the Orphan Asylum to the inhabitants of Yorkburg, Virginia everyone is revealed to us by Mary Cary.

Who’s Martha? Mary would like to be a good and sweet little girl so whenever she just can’t hold to that ideal-she’s Martha: smart, outspoken, stubborn and quick to anger at any sign of injustice. (Sounds like a good girl to me!)

Wonderfully read by Jan McGillivray (I’m convinced her voice changes and sounds like a 12 year old’s as soon as the chapter starts!) you can download this free audio-book here or the free e-book in pdf. or kindle format here.