How Not to Knit on the Weekend

It really is winter.  We went into town early today (I got my hair cut and we bought small things for Sinterklaas tomorrow) and this afternoon I slept.  I haven’t slept in the afternoon in a long time.  I really needed it I guess and it’s dark so early that it felt like hibernating.  

I can’t knit but I can still read.  I read parts of Barbara Walker’s “Knitting from the Top”

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I really hate sewing up garments once the knitting is finished so I do try to knit in the round every chance I get.  I also have picked up sleeves at the top and knit them as a narrowing tube to the cuff, but this book takes it even further and explains how to do a fitted sleeve in this manner using short rows.  Cool!

I also spent some time reading “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson.  I’ve also read “Crytonomicon” and “The Baroque Cycle” (a trilogy) by Stephenson.  If you read these books and don’t learn anything from them, you are a well read genius.  Stephenson himself must be a well read genius to be able to create such works.  

All of these books revolve around science, but the characters are so well formed that the science never gets in the way of a good story.  What a writing talent to be able to do that!  I’m about 3/4 through Anathem and can hardly put it down.  It’s not an easy book to begin.  It takes place on a planet like Earth, but with a very different history/future.  The population is divided into those who live in “maths” and devote their lives to studying theorics, and those who live outside (extramuros) and live ordinary lives much like you and I.  The protagonist is named Erasmus and lives as a fraa in a math.  You will spend the first 100 pages just getting to grips with the terminology and world that is constructed by Stephenson.  The first 100 pages are not easy reading, but stick with it because it’s well worthwhile!  As I read now I’m so used to the terms and way of speaking that I don’t think twice about it.  I can read about Erasmus wanting to plane someone for not using the rake in discourse, and I know exactly what that means.  I’ll have to search the net (or the “Ret” in Anathem) to see if someone has built a web site using the Anathem dictionary.  

I don’t want to spoil the story so I won’t say much more than that Erasmus ends up on an adventure that is completely unexpected.  The more you read of this story, the more you learn about Arbe (the world like Earth) and the people in it, and the more you must stretch your brain to keep up with the greatest thinkers on Arbe.  Oh, and fight some bad guys too.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I give this book, at this moment, the highest 5* rating.  I love it.

If you want to challenge your brain, either with just a riveting story or with mind stretching science, or learning something about how the Netherlands became the powerhouse in finance that it was in the Golden Age, read Stephenson’s books.  The man is a genius writer, and I never would say that lightly.

1 Comment

  1. By the way, if you follow the Anathem link above, you end up at the Amazon.com page and then if you scroll down to the middle there are a couple of videos. In one Neal Stephenson reads from the book. In the second, he gives a short introduction to what the book is about, or at least the setting of the book.

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