Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for Outlander

O is for Outlander.

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

Today's book is one set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

I've noted before that if it wasn't for Outlander my life would be very different:
A great book affects you not only at an emotional level - when you can't let go of the characters - or at a mental level - when you learn new words and information at every reread - but at a life level.
It's a stack of dominoes - if I hadn't read Outlander, I wouldn't have joined the (awesome!) Compuserve Books and Writers Community (and its group of wonderful readers and writers!). If I hadn't joined the Forum, I wouldn't have started taking my writing seriously. Imagine, I used to finish a story or novel and just leave it by the wayside. Now I've got two fully edited novels - one out on queries! - and I'm in the process of overhauling [four more]. If I hadn't started taking my writing seriously, I wouldn't be blogging, and I wouldn't have met all you wonderful people!
Yay for Diana Gabaldon!

The "somewhere I've always wanted to visit" aspect is, of course, Scotland. Later books in the series are set in France and North America, but I've been lucky enough to visit most of those settings (especially France and the Carolinas in the United States). In Scotland though, I've been to Edinburgh twice, yet have never been further north.

Let's see... I'd like to take a distillery tour, roam the Highlands, explore the islands, drop by the Walkers Shortbread factory, attend a Runrig or Idlewild concert or two...

My Runrig playlist

My Idlewild playlist

With the Outlander musical, and now the new Outlander series on Starz (with its evocative score, especially the title music, which always makes me cry) -- not to mention the awesome Outlander Kitchen -- there's an Outlander to suit (nay, overload) all five senses.

And that's not including all the knitting possibilities!

While I'm visiting the United Kingdom, I'd also love to attend the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

 (love these press photos from the website!)

This year's edition will feature talks by Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Graham Swift, Elif Safak, Irvine Welsh, Rose Tremain, and Stephen Fry, among others. Wish I could go!

Which festivals would you like to attend?

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Knitting: Geek Knits!

K is for knitting!

For this year's A to Z Challenge I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.

The full A to Z is over on the writing and reading blog, The Girdle of Melian.

But one of the categories fits a knitting book that's on my wishlist: A book published this year:

Featuring all sorts of authors, actors, and other geeks:
"Are you ready to embrace your inner geek? This fun and fashionable compendium of knitting patterns definitely leans toward the Dark Side--but who says the Dark Side can't be chic and colorful, too? With projects ranging from easy to advanced, there's something here for everyone: sci-fi geeks, dice rollers, and fantasy enthusiasts alike. And if you're less into the culture and just need something unique to hold your comic book collection, author Joan of Dark has that covered, too.
Inside you'll find fun and funky projects modeled by some very familiar faces, including René Auberjonois of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his Blue Box Scarf, John Carpenter and his Asylum Comic Book Cover, and George R. R. Martin with his trusty knitted Dire Wolf!"

Now I just need to find some time to knit...

Which new books are you looking forward to?