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Tag Archives: Books

Looks Like We Got Ourselves A Reader

I’ve always read a lot, recreationally as well as also a means to learn and explore new things. I’ve always enjoyed using books and comics as portals to other times and places since an early age. Over time my reading rate has risen and fallen depending what I’ve been doing at various times in my life, but I’ve never lost the sense of joy found from diving into a new story.

As well as traditional tree-books I’m a compulsive eBook downloader, my Kindle is never far from my side and the convenience of having a book shop in your bag is amazing. I also love audiobooks and radio plays. From the cassette Walkman, through the MiniDisc and to the MP3 player – I also like to hand the story telling duties over to a professional and let them shape the worlds and characters in my head. I’d be lost without a good pair of headphones.

I don’t have a preference between any of those formats, I think I just love stories and so I don’t mind what method of deliver I use. My ideal is probably a mixture of those over time, just to give things some variety. I never think of it as escapism, more like meeting up with friends who let me have a window into their lives for a while. Some of these friends live in mundane worlds, much like mine that are grounded in hard reality, some live in fantastic faraway places where the impossible happens. They’re all fascinating and I never want to leave them for long.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Books, Inspiration

 

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Half a Brick

I’m about halfway though “The Bricklayer” now and, so far, I’ve been finding it a very easy book to read.  Being written by an author with genuine FBI experience should give it a degree of authenticity, but the characters are colourful and larger than life so it’s tricky to take the plot with anything other than a fistful of salt.  Having not been in the FBI myself, I suppose I can’t say what is realistic and what isn’t.  The book hasn’t broken any moulds so far, but that’s by no means a bad thing.  It probably suffers from comparisons to other similar thrillers, but life’s short and this is a quick action fix that will lift a grey weekend.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Books

 

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Kindling

The year before last I set myself a new year’s resolution to read more and thanks to my Kindle I can certainly say that I’ve done that. I’ve consumed my fair share of cheap rubbish on my e-reader but then I don’t believe that reading always has to be an intellectual exercise. At the moment I’m working my way through the kind of gung-ho thrillers that I’d never watch at the cinema if they were movies. They even take up more of my time in book form. Perhaps I’m just a little more forgiving when I can’t see Chuck Norris and I have to use my imagination.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Books, Socks

 

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Plush Monsters

I’ve purchased a new book of patterns, Invasion of the Plush Monsters by Veronika Alice Gunter and John Murphy. It’s been out for a couple of years, but I only just spotted is a few weeks back whilst browsing through the craft books on Amazon. It’s quite similar to John Murphy’s Stupid Creatures book, though the patterns are generally a little more complicated and you aren’t limited to using just socks as your core material. The illustrations are excellent and the instructions are very clear. Even if you aren’t an expert in sewing/monster making you will find the book easy to work through. As well as just monsters, some of the creatures in here are also bags, purses and even slippers. Once I’ve completed the projects I’m currently working on, I’ll be jumping straight into this book for inspiration.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2010 in Socks

 

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More Plush Pals

Recently I’ve been reading a book called ‘Softies’ by Therese Laskey, a book I discovered in a store in Helsinki. I didn’t buy it at the time as the exchange rate meant that I couldn’t justify the large number of Euros it would have cost me. Luckily, once I was back in England it was easily available for a reasonable amount of pounds. The book is spiral bound, which is handy because it is quite thick and holds an envelope full of patterns attached to the back page. Unlike most of my books, this one isn’t exclusively about making monsters – there are a few conventional creatures in there like bunnies and dogs. There are even things like pincushions and paperweights that can me made out of felt, so there’s plenty of variety in here. The instructions are clear and there are lots of high quality pictures to guide you through each project. Everything in here has layers of humour and charm slapped over it. I’m particularly looking forward to making a ‘Lonely Dollop’ who is a little brown blob of poo – perfect for a stocking filler this Christmas 🙂

Softies

Softies

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2009 in Socks

 

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Curious Creatures

The first book I started reading for monster making inspiration was “Plush-O-Rama” by Linda Kopp. It’s firmly aimed at adults who want to express a bit of creativity and bring to life their own strange and (usually) multi-limbed creatures. It covers the different kinds of stitch you’re likely to need to know and recommends suitable materials for shaping into plush characters. The patterns are simple and straightforward but leave plenty of room for introducing your own modifications. Luckily for me, it doesn’t assume you’ll have a sewing machine, even though it does admit that some tasks will be easier if you do. The range of monsters is diverse and they are all weirdly wacky enough to sit proudly next to my Sock Monsters. A nice touch is the short biographies of the people who have provided the patterns and character designs, which give a bit of insight into the warped, twisted minds that have dreamt them up. I’ve made a shortlist of the monsters that appeal the most to me, but before I go shopping for materials, I’ve got a few other books to read through first…

Curious Creatures

Curious Creatures

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2009 in Socks

 

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Good Achievement

Last weekend, The Sock Mistress and I took a brief sabbatical in order to recharge our batteries after the post-Xmas comedown. We stayed in a guest house we know and love, not very far from where the Bell brothers used to do their writing.

Continuing with the literary theme, one of my personal addictions (amongst many) is bookshops, but not ones like Borders or Waterstones, who pad out their shelves according to whatever Richard and Judy recommend. There are two particular kinds that I like, the first is discount bookshops, because they are cheap and because they sell the books that normal people don’t buy 🙂 For these two reasons I can usually pick up something that’s a bit different without spending a lot of money. I can happily waste a lot of time browsing bargain bins for that kind of stuff.

I also like second hand book shops, though these can be a great deal more expensive than they perhaps should be, The tend to be full of the books that people feel are worth holding onto, so they retain their monetary value. These are the kind of book shops we found ourselves in last weekend and we managed to walk away with enough books to fill two shopping bags, so it was a decent sized haul.

The book that I was most please with was “Sketching in Pencil,” by Guy R. Williams from 1963. It’s a good beginners guide to drawing, covering all the fundamentals like perspective, shading, pencil types etc. The reason this particular copy made me so happy was the dedication on the inside of the book as it had been awarded to a Ms. Lynne Thomas, of Form IIIC, for good achievement. I don’t know if this is the sort of thing schools do any more as rewarding success might encourage a sense of competition in impressionable minds…

The ‘acting’ Head Mistress and the Chairman of the Governors have both signed the book, which is a nice touch. I guess I’ve got a slightly romanticised image in my head of someone receiving the gift of being able to draw which strikes me as a really nice thing. I’m not sure if Ms. Thomas did learn much from the book, but I’m hoping that I will.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2009 in Books

 

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