observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Overdue – about books

“If you make a mistake, celebrate.” ~Benjamin Zander

You’d think I’d begin setting specific days or dates that I should post to my online journal, but life really does get in the way. That’s not a bad thing to get in the way. So, as promised, I’m finally going to share with you comments about some of the books I’ve read of late.

I had to look to see which were the last books I mentioned and, after looking it up, see that I am further behind than I thought. Well, there is definitely one book I read for our book club since then that I DO NOT recommend (The Dinner by Herman Koch) but the ones I read after that certainly made up for the less-than-desirable ones.

First up is The Fault in Our Stars  by John Green. It’s not unusual for me to recommend books that are often rated as Young Adult and this would fall into that category, but don’t tell all the adults who have been enjoying this novel. If you enjoy a good story, well told, about a serious topic and with a good dose of reality tossed in, this one might appeal to you. I laughed and cried and am so glad I read this one. You might too.

Cutting for Stone. I read this for our book club and was actually looking forward to it. The story had me from the beginning and never let go. For me, this would fall into the category of one of my all-time favourite novels ever. I can never pick just one book as a favourite but I have a very discriminating list (it’s short) of novels that fall into this category and Cutting for Stone  is comfortably in that realm. Rich, well written, intelligent, and loaded with culture and tidbits of history and a good dose of medical interest. Sure to please the person who appreciates a fine literary novel.


A wee update. As I mentioned, I’ve been working at making a switch from American knitting style to Continental knitting. It’s going quite well — better than I had anticipated. I just finished making a hat to practise my skills in continental knitting. The only problems I’ve had were getting a handle on the tension and at the end of the project I found it really awkward using the DPNs (double pointed needles). I’m sure it’ll get easier the more I do it so I’d consider myself officially switched to Continental! Imagine the possibilities.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family here in Canada. We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I’m immensely grateful for recovering so well from my stroke, for my family, my caring friends, for everyone who rescues and cares for abused and abandoned animals, and for all the hard working market gardeners and folks who raise feed animals in such a humane and sustainable manner. I’m grateful to you all.

May you all live in a world of possibility. If you’re interested in that concept (living in a world of possibility) take a mere 30 minutes of your day to watch this inspiring talk by conductor and leader Benjamin Zander. Oh, I know, 30 minutes seems like a long time (but you should see the transformation in the 15 yr old cello player). But the 30 minutes I spent watching and listening has transformed me, truly. These principles apply to every aspect of our lives. He is one inspiring individual — I’ve been playing with one buttock since watching this.

“For most people success is measured in wealth and fame and power. For me, success is measured by how many shining eyes are around me.” ~Benjamin Zander.


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Shirley LeMay - October 14, 2014 - 7:33 am

Cutting for Stone was one of our Book Club selections, but alas, I didn’t get into it. Those who read it raved about it, I guess I need to go back to it!
I saw the Fault in Our Stars movie and loved it – I bet I would love the book (and cry my eyes out).
On the knitting – your completed shawl looks just lovely.

Sherry G. - October 14, 2014 - 8:58 am

I love what you say her about gratitude and so agree about those who rescue animals and treat them well. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and stays with me all month (and hopefully longer.) I watched the TED talk by Zander some time ago and was profoundly moved. Will never forget his comment about “shining eyes.” You make my eyes shine, Diane!

lisa - October 14, 2014 - 1:27 pm

A belated, but very Happy Thanksgiving to you, Diane. I am so glad that you had a wonderful day.

I saw The Fault in Our Stars, at the movies. Cried my eyes out!

I am thrilled to hear that your continental knitting is coming along nicely. I had no doubt that it would!!

Have a wonderful evening, sweet friend!

Susan - October 15, 2014 - 2:57 am

Cutting for Stone is a favorite and like you, I also enjoy a good young adult novel. Although I have never read The Fault in Our Stars, a few of my faves are The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Diane!

Leigh - October 15, 2014 - 5:45 am

Thank you for these reviews and recommendations – I will definitely find some time for that TED talk (love so many of those!). xo

Candace - October 17, 2014 - 11:53 am

I loved Cutting for Stone, too, Diane. Lovely book. I read another book by Herman Koch this summer, Summer House with Swimming Pool. Although it was easy reading and a little compelling, there were so many things about it I didn’t like at all. One of my co-workers offered me her copy of The Dinner to read after that and I declined. Too many really good books around to read any more of his stuff, in my opinion.

Mary - October 19, 2014 - 6:29 pm

Hi Diane,

Thank you for the link to Benjamin Zander’s “lesson”. What a wonderful teacher and what a talented young man to pick it up so quickly. I always wondered how they taught music. (although he taught us a bit more)

I too really liked Cutting for Stone. I listened to the audio book while I knit.

Enjoy this fall weather and your knitting!

I started reading Cutting for Stone — mostly because I trust your recommendations. I’m only in the beginning, but I’m already caught up in it. It makes me wonder why I waste time slogging through the not-so-good books. There are enough excellent books out there, that everyone I read should be this good — the trick is to identify them! Thank you for sharing this one. What else is on your all-time-favorite books list?